NHL All-Star Game 2017: Wayne Simmonds steals show, MVP honors in L.A.
It was fitting that this Hollywood return for Wayne Simmonds came with a happy ending.
The Flyers winger, originally drafted by the Kings, dazzled at Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles and, at times, outplayed superstar Metropolitan Division teammates Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin to win MVP honors at his old stomping grounds.
Simmonds scored three total goals, including the eventual game-winner in the final round against Connor McDavid and the Pacific Division, to capture the $1 million grand prize in his All-Star Game debut. He seemed at home under the bright lights of Staples Center. After all, it was there Simmonds established his NHL roots before blossoming into an All-Star after a trade to the Flyers in 2011.
“It was unbelievable,” Simmonds told NBC Sports. “Probably one of the best days of my life. I’ve had a blast with these guys.”
His signature play came in the Metropolitan’s first game, a 10-6 victory over the Atlantic Division, when Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson misplayed a puck at the blue line and Simmonds picked his pocket. The power forward lumbered on for a partial breakaway, deking Carey Price for a highlight-reel goal.
It even earned a fist bump from The Great One.
Simmonds, who won a brand-spanking new 2017 Honda Ridgeline for his efforts, said he was “dumbfounded” to be on the ice for the All-Star Game with Wayne Gretzky on the bench as the replacement coach for John Tortorella.
Simmonds, 28, leads the Flyers with 21 goals this season.