| All Star meh
What's the point?
The NHL staged its mid-season All Star Weekend in
Raleigh, North Carolina, showcasing the best and brightest on skates. There was
plenty of pomp and circumstance, but not a lot of pop. Im not even sure I
understand the purpose anymore. Its funny, because I used to live for
stuff like this. Im the guy that used to get offended when my favorite
team wasnt sufficiently represented in an All Star games, but somehow,
that passion has fizzled.
When I was a kid, Id get seriously
upset if my team didnt have a player that was a showcase guy
out on the field or the ice. I think I may inherently hate professional
basketball because of the fact that only a handful of teams are represented in
the NBA All Star Game.
Major League Baseball has a long lived
tradition that every team in the league is to have at least one player on their
All Star Game roster. If an All Star game is supposed to be a showcase of
talent, then the every team is represented rule doesn't hold water,
but its great for appeasing 10 year-old boys who want to see their team
Maybe thats another thing that baseball gets. The
showcase is about marketing your product at the end of the day. The NHL has
always had a nice mixture of players, but the fundamental rule of putting a
product in front of your customers that is compelling just misses the
mark when it comes to the NHL All Star Game.
There is no drama and
when you cross that with a game that averages 5 to 6 goals per game, its
not really conducive to lots of dramatic offense. By that I mean offense
thats generated real competition. Players opposing each other with
intensity and intent. NHL All Star Game scoring is essentially the offense
versus a goaltender.
When 90% of the goals are scored because there is
no defenseman within 20 feet of the goal, is there really anything to get
excited about. The beauty of hockey is the speed, precision and difficulty of
moving a small rubber disk across a frozen sheet of ice. When you take the
speed and precision out of the equation, it really loses all its allure.
The only thing remotely interesting during Sunday's game was Alex
Ovechkins decision to throw his stick at a breakaway chance for Matt
Duchene. You never see that call made, much less in an All Star game. Heck, you
don't even see penalty shots called in an All Star Game, but that's what was
awarded to Duchene for Ovechkins infraction.
As for the Sharks that were in Raleigh over the
weekend, Dan Boyle and Logan Couture did a nice job of representing the Bay
Area. Couture didnt play in the game, but he got to experience the event
up close. Perhaps seeing the guys involved, motivates the youngster to play for
something bigger in his career.
Couture was quickly eliminated in the
Accuracy Shooting event, falling in the first round, but impressed in the
Elimination Shootout event, by beating Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas with
a nifty backhand shot that slipped between the netminders pads.
Dan Boyle was relegated to passer in the Accuracy Shooting event, but was one
of the passing accuracy participants in the Skills Challenge Relay. Boyle was
tasked with hitting 6 targets set at various ranges with flat passes and
feather passes that were required to clear a 4-inch high obstacle.
Boyle led team Staal in ice time in Sundays
game, logging 21:54 on 14 shifts. Boyle was even, although he assisted on Eric
Staals goal with 34 seconds left in the contest.
I watched the second intermission of Sundays game to
see what all this Guardian Project business was all about. I have to say that
my jabs at what I knew about the project in my column last Friday
didnt miss the mark. Im still trying to figure out what the whole
intent of the GP is?
Is it a marketing deal between the NHL and Stan
Lee? Is it a new anti-terror initiative being sponsored by the government?
Perhaps the NHL is getting into the comic book business as a new source of
I dont get it, and after watching the unveiling on
Sunday, Im still not sure I can explain what the purpose is.
Former Captains New Gig
Former Sharks captain Rob Blake
will be utilizing the things he learned over the 20 years in the
league in his new role with the NHL. What that means exactly is still
pretty vague. Blake was interviewed briefly during Sundays game,
introducing him to the hockey world in his new role.
It was a pretty
fitting explanation by Blake, as defenseman dont really do anything at
NHL All Star Games!
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