Hey now, you're an all-star
My favorite part of the NHL All-Star weekend is always the skills competition. The game is entertaining in its way, but not only are the skills themselves impressive (shoot the puck over 100 mph? circle the rink in under 15 seconds?), the players in general are having a ball, which is fun to watch. Here are things I liked and things I didn't.
- That the Bruins put on a good show. After all the ballot-stuffing, the competitors disproportionally favored Montreal, and of course in Montreal Bruins are booed anyway. It was nice to see the guys do well in enemy territory.
- Marc Savard made it to the end of the elimination shoot-out, finishing second; plus he was wired for the TV guys and provided amusing commentary throughout.
- Tim Thomas rose above the fact that historically, All-Star events are a goalie's nightmare and had a good time while making some great saves. And of course, high-fiving Savard after Savard scored on him was funny (to me, if not to the crowd).
- Blake Wheeler got three goals in the Young Stars game.
- And Zdeno Chara not only won the hardest shot, and set a new record (105.4 mph), but thanks to his idea of making it a charity contest, his charity, Right To Play, just earned $24,000.
- Alex Ovechkin really has fun with it. His prop-laden finish in the Breakaway Challenge was hilarious. See?
- The commercial that Chara, Savvy, and Ovechkin did for Tuesday's game, which is on Versus. Having fun with it: sense a theme here?
- I liked the elimination shoot-out: it moved fast and seemed like a better bet for the goalies to be more than ducks in a shooting gallery.
- I didn't miss the weaving through cones contest of previous years. The longer it takes for the announcers to explain how an event works, the less fun it's going to be.
- That each event was sponsored by a separate company, making it the Corporate Suck-Up Hardest Shot Competition and the Business Pandering Accuracy Shooting.
- And then, they replace the plain targets for the accuracy contest with red ones that had a logo on each. Barf. I'm hating it.
- An awful lot of interviews with players who didn't have anything to say beyond "go out there and have fun". Maybe it's time we accepted that the majority of hockey players are not the most entertaining, articulate people, and stop pinning them down with words. There are certainly players who give one hell of an interview (Brett Hull and Jeremy Roenick spring to mind, and Sean Avery if your tastes go that way), but most of them seem to have watched that scene from Bull Durham much too much.