Tyler Seguin will skate in his fourth NHL All-Star Game, and the Dallas Stars center will enjoy this midseason classic as much as his first All-Star Game in 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario.
“It’s always a fun weekend. It’s a good opportunity to meet other players who you might not like on the ice but turn out to be pretty good guys,” Seguin said. “I’ve never not had a good time at one of these events, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Seguin, 24, who leads the Stars with 29 assists and 47 points through 50 games, is Dallas’ lone representative at Sunday’s 2017 NHL All-Star Game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, his third consecutive All-Star appearance as a member of the Dallas Stars.
Seguin, 24, has three goals and five assists in his All-Star career, which has been played under two formats.
His first two All-Star Games, in 2012 with Boston and in 2015, his first with Dallas, were played under a “fantasy draft” format where captains for two teams selected by the league would draft most of the roster. Seguin played for Daniel Alfredsson’s team in 2012 and for Chicago captain Jonathan Toews’ squad in 2015.
However, last season the NHL instituted another format change, this one placing players on teams by division, allowing Seguin and Stars captain Jamie Benn to skate for the Central Division squad, which was coached by Dallas’ Lindy Ruff. The 2016 All-Star Game in Nashville was also the first featuring a 3-on- 3 format, which the NHL also employs in overtime during the regular season.
For Seguin, shifting to the 3-on-3 led to more goals.
“It’s a lot more competitive. I do enjoy it, but it was the first All-Star Game where I was actually tired after the game,” Seguin said. “Last year was a better pace and more fun for the fans. It was more fun for us as well.”
And after playing alongside fellow goal scorer Vladimir Tarasenko of St. Louis, who eliminated Dallas from the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring, in each of the past two All-Star Games, Seguin hopes to again share ice with the Blues forward.
In addition to the game, Seguin will participate in the skills competition on Saturday, something he has done in his previous All-Star appearances.
Seguin’s coach, Ruff, is happy to see his young center make another All-Star game, but the veteran coach doesn’t believe All-Stars can bring any momentum back to their teams once they resume play, which the Stars do Tuesday against Toronto at American Airlines Center.
“I don’t think there’s anything you can take from an All-Star Game. Some guys try, some guys don’t. I’ve been to a few of them now, it’s a fun event for the players,” Ruff said. “They go have a good time, they’re around the other best players in the league, so it’s an opportunity. You come back from that, we got a lot of work to do.”
That work Ruff is referring to involves the Stars playing their way back into a playoff spot in the Western Conference, which Dallas finished atop last season. After a 3-2 shootout loss Tuesday to Minnesota and a 4-3 win over Buffalo on Thursday, the Stars are three points out of the final wild-card spot in the West.
Ruff might not believe players get momentum from being an All-Star, but that’s something Seguin has experienced firsthand after his first three All-Star Games, a bump he expects to feel again after returning to Dallas early next week.
“I always have (felt rejuvenated after the All-Star Game),” Seguin said. “I think some guys might look at it as it can be a little tiring, but other guys look at it like it’s always a big jolt. I think the way they set it up, the way they treat us as players and being around the best players in the league, that’s contagious, so yeah, I hope to bring something back.”