Monday, February 05, 2007

Putting the 'super' in super skills

Sure, we heard the 'how to fix the all-star weekend' rantings ad nauseum two weeks back, but after catching the highlights of the Calgary Flames' team skills competition* from Sunday, I've got just one more suggestion for the pile.

Since many NHL teams now use the team skills format as a way to squeeze in another fan-friendly event into their schedules, why not take the best of the best from those events when the league all-stars convene for an 'ultimate' skills match-up? Forget fan balloting and league invites — whoever can blast one of the Top 10 hardest shots out of all 600+ NHL players gets to go square up to a puck for that title. Ditto for the fastest skater, most accurate shooter and puck-control relay events.

While that might result in a few of the league's lesser lights — hello Flames' fastest skater Jeff Friesen — wouldn't it be at least more worthwhile as an exercise in finding the NHL's true skills kings? You also have to believe these guys would have a certain amount of pride in winning, especially if the league began offering up token trophies to the annual champs.

Really, the only downside I can see from the league's perspective is in the player who was the Vancouver Canucks' most accurate target man this year.

*- Let's just say I get a lot of hockey channels



At 8:00 a.m., February 05, 2007, Anonymous Nick said...

I thought the NHL had all ready done this once back in the '90's. I recall Jon Rohloff having had the hardest shot on the Bruins. The only problem is nobody ever wants to see Jon Rohloff do anything on the ice except skate off of it.

At 9:43 a.m., February 05, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

It seems like too good of an idea for the NHL to consider.

One of the best ideas I have heard (and unfortunately I don't recall who said it or where I saw it) about improving the all-star game is change the format from east vs west to young vs old. If we took the best players age 25 and younger and played them against the best players 26 and older it might prove more interesting. not only will it highlight the young stars to watch but the young stars might play with some intensity to prove to everyone that they are as good as the veterens. It culd prove to provide an interesting dynamic. The skills competition could have the same format.

At 1:01 p.m., February 05, 2007, Blogger mennoknight said...

I would like to see guys with moustaches against guys without them.

At 1:33 p.m., February 05, 2007, Anonymous ken said...

Guys with mullets vs. guys with moustaches.

My brother suggested that the league hold a contest where it selects two ordinary, everyday fans. These two fans each draft an all-star team. The draft is televised live, complete with a table full of their drunk friends making suggestions.

I think it could be some classic TV, except you couldn't let Italian guys from Toronto participate, because they would pick nothing but Maple Leafs.

At 6:23 p.m., February 05, 2007, Blogger Tracy said...

The skills competition works live in person with mostly kids going to see their stars up close in non-game situations.

To have a bunch of guys compete for a hardest-shot prize on tv really doesnt do it for anyone.


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