The HD Corner: Revamped Skills Competition, Other Media Rumblings

Posted by Neil in Columns,The HD Corner on January 8, 2009 — 1 Comment

After last year’s snooze fest of an All-Star Weekend, the NHL has decided to make a few tweaks this year.  If you don’t recall the events of last year, not to worry, you are not alone.

To spice things up, the Skills Competition will now feature a breakaway elimination challenge. This will be the last event to take place and will pit all 36 skaters in a shootout competition.  Score and stay in, miss and go home.  The winning shooter will receive a grand prize of $5 in Canadian Tire money (you wish).

Another change this year is a revamped YoungStars Game.  The past couple of seasons, this game was absolutely brutal to watch as it was just a glorified game of shinny, with the chubby Phil Kessel being the only player to break a sweat.  Well get the deodorant out folks, since this year the game will feature NHL rookies against NHL sophomores in a game of three-on-three just how the NBA does it, to encourage players to actually try.  I Love This Game!

The most hyped up event will likely be the tweaked Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge, where six players bring out their best tricks.  This year each shooter will have 1 minute to perform their schtick in the entire offensive zone as many times as possible, and fans can vote/text/send a singing telegram for their favourite player’s move.  If you recall from last year, Dominque Wilkins made an appearance as a guest judge for the event in Atlanta.  Who knows, maybe Tim Raines will show up this year in Montreal.  My six picks to enter the contest would be: Kovalev (have you seen this video?), Ovechkin, and Kovalchuk from the East and Datsyuk, Getzlaf, and Nash from the West.  Thoughts?  Darwin Head can fill in if need be.

Let’s not forget about the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater Competition.  Last year was the first year where the player’s time was measured from a straight distance, rather than for a full lap around the ice.  Although this format did more closely simulate game situations, the NHL has reverted back to the traditional format, which is basically a groin injury waiting to happen.

Other than that, the Accuracy Shooting and Hardest Shot events will remain the same.  Apparently for the first time in a while, certain players will be able to participate in the Skills Competition without having to play in the actual All-Star Game, but this is still to be confirmed.  Ahh the days of when Dave Manson was part of the Hardest Shot festivities.

Other media rumblings to pass your way courtesy of the Globe and Mail:

  • With the recent deregulation of the Canadian TV sports industry, TSN2 will be able to amp up its live content.  Stay tuned for more live broadcasts of “Pub Night: Snookers and Darts” coming soon!
  • The broadcast personnel for 2010 Olympic Hockey will consist of Cuthbert, Miller (play-by-play), McGuire, Ferraro (colour commentary), McKenzie, Pang (analysts), Duthie, Dutchie, Hodge, Landsberg, Hedger, Randorf (hosts), Dregger, and Rishaug (reporters) for CTV/TSN.  The Sportsnet crew will be Loubardias (play-by-play), Garrett (colour commentary), Millard, Kypreos (analysts), Taylor, Fay, Gaillard, Osmak (hosts), and Principe (reporter).  The only one who seems to be missing from this lineup is the often forgotten Mark Hebscher and his “Hebsie Awards”.  Bob Cole will surely be missed.
  • Bob Roberts

    I like the steady stream of HD NHL games on TSNHD2 — especially when (as has been the case frequently of late) NHLCI in its wisdom is only showing the standard broadcast of the game and TSNHD is showing the Leafs (Leaf games are a tiny bit more interesting now with Burke in the God Booth, but only a tiny bit.).

    I’m getting very tired of McGuire, Ferraro, McKenzie, Dregger, and especially Garrett and Kypreos. Time for some fresh faces. Thank God for the mute button.

    Nice to see HD Corner back.