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The All-Star festivities: The good, the bad, and the--Zzzz ...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

And so ended the 55th Annual NHL All-Star Game last night, the first one since before the lockout stoppage, due to a combination of that and the 2006 Winter Olympics ensuring that it would not happen until this year.

The good:
-Hey, hey, what do you say!? Rick Nash, who didn't even deserve an All-Star invitation in lieu of his sluggish play throughout the season so far and low point total for a franchise player, helped lead the charge against the Eastern Conference with a 2 goal and 2 assist night, one of those goals a nice, hard rush towards the net to beat Marty Brodeur (though honestly, the defense gave minimal resistance). If we were to go off of NHL.com and their three stars on the night, then it stands to reason that Nasher was also the runner-up MVP of the game to Buffalo Sabres forward Daniel Briere. I wouldn't read too much in to this, though ... but, you never know, maybe this'll give Nasher some additional confidence when he returns to the team and is ready to play alongside his fellow CBJ on Friday night against Buffalo.

-The All-Star Game was, actually, pretty darn good! Could anyone have asked for a more fun second and third period with guys like Brodeur and Marty Turco keeping the Versus commentators chatting the whole time? The game also had a nice pace to it, and a respectable feel of competitive edge, even without the body checks and hard hits. There was enough jockeying for position around nets and board scrums for pucks that I finished watching with a sense of satisfaction.

-The new jerseys were, to steal a page from Borat, "very nice [insert thumbs up here]". Regardless of the fact that Fatty McBlobbicus won't be able to buy an authentic (or possibly even replica) jersey anymore and wear it to games unless they buy double their normal size when it comes to them, I've come to the realization that this is the best thing for the players when it comes to what they wear on the ice. So far, responses from players seem to be generally positive when it comes to the new jerseys and other parts of the ensemble, though remember to take some comments with a grain of salt (such as Sidney Crosby's), as they might just be shilling for RBK.

Remember to keep a sense of tentative acceptance with the jerseys though, folks. Right now, there isn't a fan out there who knows what the jerseys are going to look like when they're redone accordingly for all 30 teams in the NHL. What looks great as an All-Star jersey might turn out to be the coming of the hockey apocalypse if it doesn't work well with certain logos or colors.

The not-so-good:
-The rail cam was ... well, "cute", to say the least. But it just didn't work for me after the first or second time of the coverage dropping down to it. Keep in mind that the NHL's version of the rail cam, unlike the cameras you'll see when watching speed skating, had a limited degree of freedom when it came to moving around and catching the action. Speed skating rail cams get a lot of track to move around on, giving viewers the opportunity to watch a skater do full laps around the rink without having to stop. The NHL's rail cam, meanwhile, stopped at the blue line, and would have to zoom in (and with a grainy camera) on action in an offensive zone.

There's really two solutions to this. One, start working on an efficient way to get the rail cam to be authentic, in the sense that it has as much freedom as the speed skater cameras, or scrap it and start moving towards the Skycam, that many people know from the NFL.

-The Skills Competition was like eating a bowl of lukewarm chicken soup. It wasn't anything horrible to swallow, but it also wasn't exactly the most tasty meal. Like it'd just been sitting out for about an hour before even being served to the customer.

Food analogies aside, the fact that they held a shootout event three times was just plain boring. The big problem is that the shootout is no longer a novelty, or unique. We see it on a daily basis, and while it's definitely exciting, it also means that if it is going to happen in the Skills Competition, that it has to have the ante upped, to give the fans something interesting to watch.

Someone suggested at Kukla's Korner in a post's comments, I believe, the idea of integrating judging for creativity and trick shots in to the shootout. And that's really not a bad idea, either. Everyone wants to see more shots like Marek Malik's through-the-legs stunner last year, especially if this is going to be a staple of the All-Star festivities.

The league should also consider trying to add in some different events for a bit of variety. Why not try 2-on-1 drills, where two players start at their own blue line, and need to score on an odd-man rush while one defenseman tries to stop them. Or how about cooking up some sort of event for the goalies, who spend the whole time pretty much just eating pucks throughout the two day event? It certainly wouldn't hurt to give them something to do that might be fun for them, and interesting to watch as a fan.

The "It burns us, precious!! Burns usssss!!":
-The Young Stars game was atrocious. Oh my God, there's just no other way to sum it up. It was like watching crap with a side of crap, with additional crap for seconds.

I completely understand that the NHL is trying to shine a bit of a spotlight on the younger generation of players, and with good reason! The league needs to show fans the up and coming rookies of the league, introduce them to us, and show us that we're going to continue to have an influx of young quality forwards, defensemen, and goalies for as long as possible. But this isn't how you do it. This was a total farce, and it either needs to be scrapped altogether, or they need to overhaul the Young Stars game.

It probably didn't help that they treated the kids like second rate players. There was an article I read yesterday about how the players were pretty much thrown in to the workout rooms and meeting rooms to get ready for their game. Talk about disrespectful. If someone out there happens to find the article, please link me to it and I'll slide a link up here for it, too.

-The Canadian Anthem singer made my ears bleed with that twilling voice in the final verse of "O' Canada". The end.

-Rock/Country Singers between periods. DAMN YOU, DALLAS!

And that's it from me for today. I filled my weekly post quota just by posting three entries yesterday!

Labels: , , , ,

1 Comments:
  • At 7:25 AM, Blogger MattD said…

    The Canadian anthem singer was awful, period. The Wreckers -- when their mikes worked -- were okay to listen to and fantastic to look at.

     
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