Named to the 2023 NHL All-Star Pacific Division roster, Nazem Kadri will get to do something he’d never be allowed under Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter’s watch.
“It’s an opportunity to hotdog it a little bit — and not get in trouble,” Kadri told Flames TV on Thursday evening.
“It’s just a fun, loose event."
True story. Sutter definitely doesn't condone anything loose. Fun may also be questionable outside of the moments following a win before the focus turns toward the next one.
But the NHL all-star extravaganza is full of smiles, trick shots and superstars.
"Obviously, I get to play with lots of great players," Kadri noted. "Just the opportunity to represent this organization is a tremendous honour and I’m very excited about it.”
At least one of those great players will be Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid, who was named by the league as the representative for the Calgary Flames’ neighbour to the north.
It always seems strange seeing such serious competitors from the same division go to battle together rather than against each other, but the opportunity to line up with McDavid and potentially another Oilers player with two more players in each division to be voted in by fans, is an intriguing one.
“It’s a bit of a weird dynamic but it’s something we’ve gotten used to,” Kadri said. “Hockey players are pretty good with that. Whatever happens on the ice kind of stays on the ice. Afterwards it’s all fun and games.
“Hopefully they can give me the puck.”
It’s Kadri’s second all-star appearance after representing the Colorado Avalanche last year as the Last Man in player vote.
With 14 goals and 29 points in his first season with the offensively challenged Calgary Flames, he leads a team looking to peak in the playoffs with 124 shots through 39 games. He took part in the creative blackjack sharpshooting event in Vegas last season and will head to balmy Florida for this year’s all-star weekend Feb. 3-4.
Kadri isn’t sure what kind of innovative events may take place but he’s looking forward to taking the entire experience in again.
“We’ll see what the NHL has in store. I’m sure it will be fun,” Kadri said.
“You’ve got to try and go there and put on the best show possible.
Fans can vote for the final 12 players at NHL.com/Vote. Two skaters and one goaltender will be added to each division.
The Flames host the New York Islanders on Friday before heading back out on the road for an extended trip.