Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Atlantic), Gerard Gallant of the Vegas Golden Knights (Pacific), Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators (Central) and Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals (Metropolitan) will coach their respective divisions at the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Jan. 28 (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).
Their teams have the highest points percentages (points earned divided by total possible points) in their respective divisions through Jan. 6, the halfway point of the regular season.
This will be the first All-Star Game for Cooper. In his sixth NHL season, all with the Lightning, the 50-year-old has Tampa Bay in first place in the League standings with a 29-9-3 record and 61 points (.744 points percentage).
“Any time someone here gets an award or gets recognized for something, we know it is a team honor,” Cooper said Sunday before the Lighting played the Detroit Red Wings.”It is a great honor that I’ll be behind the bench, but it could be our special-teams coach or our goalie coach or our players. They are the one who made this happen.”
Gallant, 54, will be coaching in his second All-Star Game in his seven NHL seasons. He coached the Atlantic Division at the 2016 game in Nashville while with the Florida Panthers.
In their inaugural season, the Golden Knights are in first place in the Western Conference with a 28-10-2 record and 58 points (.725 points percentage). Since the NHL’s initial expansion in 1967-68, two teams have had more wins in their first full season. The Florida Panthers and the Anaheim Ducks each had 33 in 1993-94, when the NHL played an 84-game schedule.
“Obviosuly, the guys have worked hard all year,” Gallant said before the Golden Knights’ game against the New York Rangers at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, MSG+, NHL.TV). “You look at our team, we’re in a good place right now. For us to get an opportunity to coach at the All-Star Game, it’s a great honor for our organization. It’s not about me, it’s about the guys in the room that work hard every day.”