Quick Strikes: Thor and the Russian Bond land in LA

All-Star weekend is on us in full force. Today, skills competition!

The All-Star Game

Today’s news is mostly about this, so that’s how I’ll lead. Do you guys follow the All-Star Game? Last night the Top 100 Players of All Time were selected. Clark wrote up a nice piece on it, and as we all suspected, Yzerman was selected for the 1990s class. [Raw Charge]

NHL reveals top 100 players of all-time, with some surprises. "The list tilted strongly to the 1970s Montreal Canadiens, as several members of the dynasty made the cut. It was also geographically driven, as some prominent American-born players like Mike Modano, Pat LaFontaine and Kane seemingly made the cut for that reason." [Puck Daddy]

Who were the biggest NHL 100 omissions? They include Zdeno Chara, Joe Thornton, Jarome Iginla, and Evgeni Malkin. [NBC Sports]

Rink Rank: The 100 Greatest Washington Capitals. Go help the Caps vote for their top 100 players. Should RC do this? What are your suggestions? [Japers Rink]

Oh god. Justin Bieber, Patrick Kane added to NHL Celebrity Shootout. "Kane is the only active NHL player … oh wait. No. Chris Pronger and Kane are the only active players taking place in the celebrity game. Bieber better keep his head up. Pronger has sharp elbows." [Puck Daddy]

The League

Tampa Bay Lightning D Nikita Nesterov Sends Fond Farewell To Fans. "Amongst all the chaos going on in his life right now, Nikita Nesterov found some time to send a fond farewell to those he leaves behind. Earlier today, Nesterov posted a photo of himself along with his wife Katya and their young son thanking the City of Tampa and the fans for their support while he was with the Lightning." [Bolts by the Bay]

As Saima said, no more Russian Four. :( We’ll miss you, Nesterov.

Yesterday, Alan discussed reasons why the Nesterov trade might point to an inability to properly develop defensemen. Why the Nikita Nesterov trade may be bad for the Lightning. [Raw Charge]

Wreck everyone's hopes, Bolts! Lightning's motto after All-Star break? Just win, baby. "We have enough of an opportunity to play head-to-head against these teams (in the playoff hunt) to collect points," Boyle said. "That's all we can worry about." [Tampa Bay Times]

John Fontana and I were kicking around a theory the other day that maybe, just maybe, American teams are being given a tougher schedule to make up for last season's lack of Canadian teams in the playoffs. It's obviously a conspiracy theory, but then you see stuff like this: RANKING THE PLAYOFF CHANCES FOR CANADA'S NHL TEAMS, and it kind of makes you think. [Bleacher Report]

On the Hockey PDOcast, Alan pointed out that if you are the Maple Leafs, why would you NOT trade at deadline to make a determined run for playoffs? If your window is open, hop on through! But Scott Wheeler of PPP disagrees. He wrote this for the Athletic: Why now isn’t the time for the Maple Leafs to accelerate the process. "But the Leafs’ recent stretch isn’t cause for accelerating the process. It’s cause for patience and inaction. Be boring. Now, more than ever, the Leafs need to stay true to the pragmatism that has taken them this far. They ought to heed the facetious motto of NBA star Joel Embiid and #TrustTheProcess." [The Athletic, subscription]