NHL 'hopeful' Devils star Jack Hughes plays in All-Star Game

ByGreg Wyshynski ESPN logo
Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The NHL is hopeful that New Jersey Devils star Jack Hughes can still participate in the NHL All-Star Game and skills competition this weekend in Toronto.

Hughes, 22, hasn't played since suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury in the Devils' Jan. 5 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Devils coach Lindy Ruff indicated that Hughes hadn't returned to skate with the team before the All-Star break.

"We're waiting on Jack," said NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer. "I know that Jack wants to play in the All-Star Game really badly. He continues to be evaluated. We're hopeful, but we have no information as of right now as to whether or not Jack's going to participate."

Hughes was expected to play a prominent role during All-Star Weekend in Toronto. He's co-captaining one of the All-Star Game's four teams with his brother, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes. They're scheduled to draft their team during a new televised Thursday night event.

Jack Hughes is also scheduled to take part in a revamped skills competition on Friday night that features 12 players competing for a $1 million winner-take-all prize.

Mayer said the NHL would like to keep Hughes as a team captain even if he doesn't compete on the ice.

"We want him to be here in Toronto. He knows that. And so we'd like to keep Team Hughes [together] even if he doesn't play," said Mayer. "But again, we're waiting day by day. We're proceeding as if he's playing, but we also understand that he continues to be evaluated and we're going to wait until the last possible second to see if he can play."

Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald said last week that Hughes is expected to attend NHL All-Star Weekend whether he plays or not.

"He's excited to be part of the festivities," said Fitzgerald.

Mayer said that if Jack Hughes ends up not competing in the skills competition and All-Star Game, the NHL will substitute another player in for him. He's currently the only member of the Devils that made the All-Star roster.

NHL All-Star Weekend is scheduled for Feb. 1-3 in Toronto.

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