The HD Corner: The All-Star Edition

Posted by Neil in Columns,The HD Corner on January 26, 2009 — 1 Comment

Well thank heavens this past weekend is over.  In case you are among most viewers who had a nice 48 hour snooze Saturday and Sunday, all you missed is Ovechkin wear a goofy tilly hat, Streit trip over one of the sideline sponsor ads, terrible CBC camera angles, and Marc Savard’s faux hawk.  The fact that the entire weekend is a joke has been written about ad nauseum, so here is a recap and a few ideas how the weekend can be improved and still remain a sponsorship Cash Cow for the NHL.

Hardest Shot Winner:
Chara won with a 105.4 thumper that narrowly edged Weber’s blast.

How the NHL can improve it:
Why not invite some of the previous Hardest Shot winners to take to the ice?  Rumour has it that Al Iafrate and his “Skullett” can still rip them 100 miles plus while wearing flip-flops.  You just know Dave Manson has nothing better to do these days anyways.

Fastest Skater:
Cogliano won with a time of 14.31 seconds.

How the NHL can improve it:
As much as I would like to see Mike Gartner skate a lap, I have a feeling he could be in the 30 second range due to his current condition program consisting of three daily reps of Double Doubles from Tim Hortons.  This event probably should remain the same format, after the NHL tried a new format that flopped last year with a timed skate from the goal lines, instead of the traditional full lap.

Breakaway Challenge:
Ovechkin won with a little help from his Russian counterpart.  Click here if you haven’t seen it.

How the NHL can improve it:
This new event was a great idea on paper, but didn’t seem to pan out all that well.  Ovechkin’s attempt was entertaining, but the fact he wasn’t able to pull anything off that was too crazy was a bit of a letdown.  As Illegal Curve has suggested beforehand, a modified game of Horse could be a cool idea.  Anyone else out there have any ideas?

Accuracy Shooting:
Malkin won going 3 for 4 in a tie-breaker against Heatley.

How the NHL can improve it:
Nothing wrong with the usual, but for goodness sakes is the NHL that desperate for cash that they need to sell ad space to McDonald’s on the four targets?

Elimination Shootout:
Doan won in a tie-breaker against Hedjuk and Savard.

How the NHL can improve it:
This event seemed a bit repetitive after the Breakaway Challenge, but was more or less entertaining.  Maybe the league can reduce the number of players taking part in this event, since by the time Mike Komisarek came up to take his turn as the 20 something shooter, George Gillette was already passed out head first in his nachos.

YoungStars Game:
Apparently the Rookies won 9-5 over the Sophomores.

How the NHL can improve it:
This game was all-around brutal.  To top it off the fact that it was played in the middle of the Skills Competition completely ruined any momentum that was established from the Breakaway Challenge.  How about playing it at the very beginning of the night, so I can finish watching a re-run of North of 60 on Showcase next time?  On second thought, maybe getting rid of it entirely isn’t a bad idea.

As for the the game Itself:

The first thing I want to say about the game, is that there is no way it should be held outdoors.  People were falling asleep watching the first two and a half periods from the cozy confines of the Bell Centre, so I can’t imagine people wanting to stay outside with a crazy windchill just to watch Sheldon Souray look pretty.  The game got pretty interesting near the end with the East winning in a shootout thanks to a nice Kovalev shot, but no doubt the highlight of the weekend was Ron MacLean’s annual interview with Gary Bettman.  To my delight, Bettman only touched MacLean’s arm twice during the interview but still remains one of the most despised league figureheads.  Alan Eagleson is a saint compared to Bettman.

Despite being a glorified game of pond hockey, the fact remains that the All-Star Game still sells out each year and gives the NHL a chance to promote its stars so it shouldn’t be completely abolished.  Joe Thornton’s idea of players playing not to submit a portion of their salaries into the escrow fund isn’t half bad either to spice things up a little.

  • Mikos

    Déjà vous? Nope, read this on IC yesterday…..good input though.