| Can we avoid looking silly
(again!) against the Coyotes?
The gathering of the tribes otherwise known as NHL
All-Star weekend has come and gone. My wife was wondering just how many people
from the far-flung reaches of North America would show up on the West Coast for
a weekend. She was impressed.
If you're judging an All-Star experience
by the game itself, this one was a real dud. If you judge by the events around
the game, it was a great success. Top item was the NHL Fan Fest. Outside of the
insane line for the Stanley Cup photos it was great fun for all ages. (Should
they have brought two Cups? That would have ruined the story!) And yes, my wife
is a better shooter than me. The Friday night skills test was fun to watch from
our seats up in the center-ice heights of section 201 and seeing the female
professionals get a spot in the tournament was a welcome addition.
NFL-style media chat was open to season-ticket holders, and Paul covered it
well. We were sitting opposite the spot about 5 o'clock from the main stage on
the first level, grabbing that area mainly to see Eric Karlsson . Gary Bettman
even showed up, unannounced so nobody booed him, but he was the only suit with
no ID lanyard and security guys behind him. But one of the real stars of that
show was Seth Jones.
Maybe because he's a second-generation pro
athlete, maybe because he's obviously a smart guy. He came across well without
going too much into cliché speak. Karlsson didn't shed much light on
whether he'd stay or leave at the end of the season, but did show why he was so
adored in Ottawa.
PK Subban's show at the Improv was worth the watch.
You can catch the show online. You may wince at PK's defensive work at times
but he is a personality. In a league that seems to take pride sometimes in
playing behind the NBA he's a breath of fresh air.
Anyway, time for
some awards. Being aware of copyrights on "Big Game" weekend, some adjustments
are made. (some direction) Airlines "Wanna Get Away?" award - to Connor
McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. Some background: the Oilers fired their GM,
Peter Chiarelli, on January 24th between periods of their game against Detroit.
(Owner Daryl Katz obviously has a bit of the Steve Jobs in him.) McDavid spent
most of his interview time in the NHL Media session being quizzed about the
Oilers latest management change and looking like he'd be happier almost
anyplace else. The first rule of some Canadian hockey writers is if you're not
part of the problem we'll try harder to make you one. Though credit them for
bringing up just how many ex-GM's are still on the Oilers' payroll.
Honorable (?) Mention - goaltender John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks, who
played like he wanted to catch an early flight home. Alex Ovechkin at least was
honest about not showing up to not show up.
(some last name) Hotels Lucky Seat award - to
Sidney Crosby. For his All-Star MVP award. Missing for the press interviews and
the skills event due to "illness". Anyone know if he really stayed overnight
during the weekend?
Oakland A's Hometown Heroes award - to
Auston Matthews. Showing the love for Patrick Marleau is always a good move
with a Sharks' crowd. He's another guy who'll be a good face for the NHL.
Honorable Mention - The two dudes puffing on a huge blunt in
the middle of all the photo pucks in Cesar Chavez Plaza. Ahh, well...
(odd but truthful two-letter pair) Moving Seat Upgrade - to Jake Muzzin
of the LA Kings. Having booed the Kings for many years, I've always appreciated
how many of their supporting cast members go on to better roles after being
traded. This is being described as a "step back to take a step forward", but
given the circumstances it could be a step back to take another step back. The
Leafs gave up what will be a lower first-round pick and a couple C-level
prospects for a #2 defenseman.
Contact Ken at at email@example.com
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