Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Super Skillzzzz

I don't know if it was just me, but about 20 minutes into watching last night's all-star festivities, I was really regretting my entertainment choice for the evening. I'm sure there's a format to be used for something like the skills competition that would make it more entertaining than having players (literally) skate around pylons, but that's not what we were given last night.

It's hard to believe that, with as much as the NHL has attempted to change in its 'rebirth' after the lockout, the Young Guns game and skill competition looked exactly the same as their previous incarnations. No new events, no ingenuity at all — and a whole lot of yawns all around.

And the fact that most of the ticket-buying public in Dallas stayed home didn't help the atmosphere any.

The all-star trade show went away for three years, and as far as I'm concerned, it can take another hiatus anytime it likes.

And I won't be watching tonight.

UPDATE I've got a few more related thoughts on Globe on Hockey today.

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15 Comments:

At 1:13 PM, January 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to enjoy the YoungStars game, but man was that a snooze fest last night. It was like the real All-Star game with understudies instead of the leads.

Maybe if the coaches were allowed to pick the teams (Milbury - Nilan, Arbour Maloney) and fill the team with some character guys the All-Star game would heat up.

Too bad the man that killed the All-Star game (Messier) is now commenting on Verus as wel!!

 
At 2:10 PM, January 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did Messier kill the All-Star game?

And the YoungStars was a joke. Malkin barely saw Lehtonen all game and most of it was played at quarter speed.

It was like watching a game full of guys at the end of a 10 minute shift.

 
At 3:34 PM, January 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word/rumour/story was Messier threatened Mike Ramsey after a hit at the ALL-Star game and told his fellow NHLPA brethren to lay off the physical stuff. He thought it should be more of a "break" and celebration in the season. Now we get pond hockey at half speed.

 
At 3:50 PM, January 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the Youngstars game was totally crappy. Half the time Malkin was parked on the Blue line while it was a 5 on 4 in the other end. I just would have liked to see more effort from the players in the game. AHL/OHL all star games is where the real action is.

The skills competition was the same as it always has been, more about fun then competition so I can't complain about that. I just found that with the break away contest it just wasnt as exciting now that they have included shoot outs in the actual games.

I thought the fastest skating was a joke. I think that it was due to human error that most of the times seemed slow compared to previous years. Since they didn't have the computer timing system working correctly

 
At 4:21 PM, January 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd rather see goaltender shooting accuracy than the YoungStar game if they are going to slack it off.

Actaully having Brodeur and Turco shootng at targets in goalie gear would be kind of interesting!

 
At 4:30 PM, January 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malkin looked completely uninterested last night. He had some chances but I think maybe even he found the whole thing to be a bit of a joke.

It's too bad the whole All-Star thing is so watered down. I'm not even sure how I managed to watch the entire thing through. It was good to see Souray, Huet, and Smyth run some of the drills, but other than that it was pretty much pointless to watch.

 
At 5:10 PM, January 24, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Malkin looked completely uninterested last night. He had some chances but I think maybe even he found the whole thing to be a bit of a joke.

Heck, that's what I was thinking — if you're this 21-year-old kid from Siberia who has been dragged off to a half-empty rink in Texas, what would you think of this game?

It was a sideshow — and not a very good one. (Malkin also was deserving of a spot in tonight's real all-star game — not that I'm expecting much more from it.)

 
At 5:31 PM, January 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen more intensity at cribbage tournaments.

 
At 6:12 PM, January 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word/rumour/story was Messier threatened Mike Ramsey after a hit at the ALL-Star game and told his fellow NHLPA brethren to lay off the physical stuff.

Does anyone have anything legit on this? I've often talked about the hit in question - Ramsey threw one of his great hipchecks on The Great One, probably around '85 or '86. Gretz looked none-too-pleased from my recollection and to this day it is one of the few hits I recall in AllStar history, and it was a quality one at that.

I've tried to research this but nobody else seems to even remember the hit (I know it couldn't have been my Sabre-angst-laden teenage mind playing tricks on me).


Consider me disappointed in last night as well - I had (naively) hoped that the youngsters coupled with a made-for-non-contact 4-on-4 format should make for some great action, instead of it looking like a group of skaters deep into their 4th overtime.

How about some sponsor next year offering up an absurd amount of money to the winners (Jim Balsillie! ha - what a great load of press he'd get - think of the squirms from Bettman in that potential press conference) - might not fly for the "real" game's wealthier participants but how about a couple million bucks to split amongst the winners? That might encourage a hit or two, or some ice actually getting carved out there. (yes, I suppose I'm being naive again...)

 
At 8:42 PM, January 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone on the bench said they were skating 3/4 speed, more like 1/2 speed.

But props to Malking for camping out at the opponents blue line when play went down to his end of the ice.

Like a veteran, he already knows you don't have to play defense at an allstar game.

 
At 9:41 AM, January 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the NHL to do though?
You have to have this meaningless corporate schmoozefest each year to suck up to sponsors.
I see in 2009 it's in Mawn-Tree-All.
I guess they'll have to vaccinate some of the people so they don't break out in hives at the thought of hearing a foreign language.
They haven't had decent all-star games since the late 1970s, when players actually gave a crap.
You can't have a Challenge Series against the Commies anymore as they're too busy floating in our leagues and collecting big pay cheques.

 
At 11:05 AM, January 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emrick mentioned Ramsey's hit on Gretzky and Kevin Lowe getting a subsequent high sticking penalty on Ramsey last night. Can't recall if it was the '84 All-Star game.

So apprently this story has legs, but I can't find anything definitive. Not that you would expect it to be in writng if it was said behind closed doors by Messier.

There's been an awful lot mentioned about this incident over the last bit, so I thought I'd mention it. Especially since they have Mess commenting on what intensity is being displayed.

 
At 2:12 PM, January 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i did hear the allusion to it last night, but they didn't really expand on it at all.

I found something written by Jim Kelley, formerly of the Buffalo News:


"That all seemed to change when Mark Messier started making appearances at All-Star games. Messier openly advised players not to do any serious hitting in the game and he backed it up with threats. There was a memorable incident in an All-Star outing in St. Louis when Buffalo Sabres defenceman Mike Ramsey, an All-Star defensive defenceman and a tenacious competitor, checked Wayne Gretzky into the boards. Messier immediately skated up to him and with the blade of his stick under Ramsey's throat, threatened that if he ever did that again he would pay the price.

Ramsey took exception both on ice and in his comments afterward, but since then hitting has become virtually nonexistent. Worse, fewer and fewer defensive defencemen even get invited to the "contest"."


...although St. Louis only hosted in 1988 and i know the incident happened before then - i think it was '86 in Hartford.

 
At 4:26 PM, January 26, 2007, Anonymous kirk said...

I was lamenting the absence of defensive defensemen, too.

As far as the level of competition, Major League Baseball went to the format where the winner of the All-Star game gets home field advantage for the World Series. That's a little easier to pull off in baseball since there's not any physical contact (Pete Rose & Ray Fosse excepted).

But the NHL needs to do something to make this game interesting. The YoungStars game was a joke and the All-Star game doesn't feel like a must-see event. I don't think anybody watches the NFL Pro Bowl anymore and in that they have all sorts of no-blitzing rules to prevent injuries.

Might as well just turn the All-Star game into a walk down the red carpet with autographs and photo ops.

 
At 7:31 PM, January 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I've tried to research this but nobody else seems to even remember the hit (I know it couldn't have been my Sabre-angst-laden teenage mind playing tricks on me)."

I recall this hit - man did get a good belly laugh

 

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