The AHL All Star game has a new format this year, and therefore a much shorter roster than normal. In previous years, the AHL assembled a group of 48 elite players to do a skills competition and play a game versus each other. Last year, the competition was an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference bout, and the Crunch had four players represented. Those players were Radko Gudas, Richard Panik, Mark Barberio and Tyler Johnson.
This year, the AHL has formed a 20-man roster for the game being played next month at Mile One Centre in St. John's, N.L. That team will face off against Färjestad BK, one of the top professional teams in the Swedish Hockey League. As such, no team in the AHL has more than two players represented on the All Star roster this year, and some teams don't have any.
The Syracuse Crunch is not one of those teams without representation. It's been announced that forward Brett Connolly will represent the Crunch at the game. Connolly is currently third on the Crunch in scoring (9-14-23) and has had one of the best runs of his career in the past few weeks. From the team's official release:
The 6-foot-2, 181-pound forward is currently on an eight-game point streak, the second longest active point streak in the AHL. During the eight-game span Connolly has recorded 16 points (7g, 9a). Over the past three games, the Prince George, BC native is averaging a point per period. He has also recorded the game-winning goal in the Crunch's last four victories.
Connolly isn't the only member of the Crunch to reach All Star status this season. As head coach of the defending Eastern Conference champion, Rob Zettler has been selected to coach alongside Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2013 Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins.
The two-day event will include the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Feb. 11 and the AHL All-Star Game on Feb. 12.