CBC’s coverage of this year’s All-Star game included Jim Hughson doing the play-by-play, with Craig Simpson and Greg Millen crammed into the booth. As usual, Hughson called a flawless game, Simpson provided some insight, and Millen was more annoying than a Carrot Top stand-up routine. There was an increase of in-booth banter due to the friendly nature of the game as expected; however, the folks at Versus seemed to have taken this to a new level. As much criticism as Versus receives for its lack of viewers, they deserve credit for usually providing entertaining broadcasts for their target – something that CBC has been criticized for in the past. Specifically, at one point of the All-Star game telecast, Gary Bettman was invited into the booth and was joking with Blues goalie Manny Legace about large goalie equipment while he was in the process of playing. CBC can learn a thing or two, and ease up on the boring Mike Babcock interview next time around.
Unfortunately my HD-PVR let me down and I was unable to watch the Skills Competition live (according to Illegal Curve’s Cold Hard Rant section, I didn’t miss much). Needless to say I was still able to watch most of it on CBC.ca’s streaming video section, which I highly recommend to anyone wanting to see the incredible Obstacle Course Relay that closely resembled the 1980’s board game Mouse Trap (click here for a trip down memory lane).
Now on to some other random All-Star game thoughts…
Was there anything more awkward then the Elliote Friedman and Samantha Micelli – I mean Alyssa Milano – interview. Wow Alyssa, you have a new NHL clothing line? Will it be available at Stitches, Winners, or Giant Tiger? These are things that I need to know. Speaking of Who’s the Boss, did anyone know that little Jonathan has come out of the closet? The only thing less predictable was Tony Danza’s career going into a downward spiral after playing a male housekeeper for eight years (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
So you’re telling me that Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is an all-star? What, was Jim Carey not available? It’s important to note that Thomas’ goalie coach on the Bruins is non other than Bob Essensa. Yes, a goalie with the nickname “Flipper” has trained and produced an all-star calibre goalie. Further, the same man who once traded Teemu Selanne for Chad Kilger and Oleg Tverdovsky is the head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Next I’ll find out that Doug Smail is Alex Ovechkin’s power skating coach.
All-Star game MVP? Forget Eric Staal, what about The Hives? Past All-Star Game bands have included the Barenaked Ladies, The Trews, and probably The Harlots, so The Hives were quite the pleasant surprise. The only disappointing fact was that they didn’t play during the 2nd intermission. Instead, we were treated to the funky beats of “Ne-Yo” (whoever that is). Wow they sure now how to party south of the Dixie line!
Although this year’s All-Star Game wasn’t the most entertaining, it did conclude in dramatic fashion and featured an interesting subplot with Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov and fan favourite Ilya Kovalchuk of the Thrashers. Click here to see a clip of a few Nabokov-Kovalchuk highlights.