The NHL doesn’t even know how to properly execute a fix.
Trevor Zegras didn’t make the All-Star Game, but the Anaheim Ducks center was invited to Las Vegas on Friday night to be part of the skills competition, particularly the Breakaway Challenge, because the 20-year-old out of Boston University has done so much cool stuff in his second season in the league.
This was a perfect showcase for a special talent. Maybe Zegras isn’t among the best players in the league just yet — 12 goals and 20 assists in 42 games is pretty good, but not All-Star material — but his talent absolutely warranted the invitation to Vegas, and he sure made the most of it.
Zegras put on an Average Joe’s uniform from the classic Vegas movie Dodgeball, put on a blindfold, and had mascots throw dodgeballs at him while he did a spin move to score his goal.
It was perfect. The guy who was brought to the event to showcase his particular talent did exactly what he was supposed to do, with a performance that was well thought out to connect with both the crowd at the event and the television audience.
So, of course he didn’t win.
Noted St. Louis fan Jon Hamm, one of the judges for the event, tilted things for former Blues and current Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the last competitor in the event, by awarding a score of 19 — which was somehow allowed to stand — after Pietrangelo… didn’t even score on barrier-breaking legend Manon Rheaume, who was cool to see as one of the celebrity goalies for the event.
Pietrangelo’s shtick was to come out, do no move whatsoever, get heckled by Carrot Top from the stands, and then bring out a drumline to skate through, after which he then had, again, nothing in the way of a move.
It was a profoundly stupid ending to an event where the second-highest score went to Devils winger Jack Hughes, whose entry was dressing up as a magician, putting a bunch of equipment into an armoire, making a miniature version of himself (the son of New Jersey’s equipment manager) appear, and then having the kid take his shot and score. That somehow got a 59, over Zegras’ score of 58.
Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat did a Hangover themed shot in which he dressed up as Zach Galifanakis’ character, and had Raiders quarterback throw him a football, which he then put on the ice, in stride, and shot into the net, couldn’t even crack the top three in this sham.
This was a chance for the NHL to showcase a young talent, to let the world know that even though Zegras isn’t an All-Star yet, he’s someone you’ve got to watch. He did his part. The league — and Jon Hamm — blew it.