Monday, January 28, 2008

The Media Bring Out The Heavy Bats For The Annual All-Star Beatdown

The NHL is really getting whacked for Saturdays Skill Competition failure. Here's some quotes from columnists around the league.

From the Toronto Star:

"...the 2008 version did little more than show off how inept the league and its players are at showing off. It was hard to tell if there was much excitement in the arena, but as far as television went this was one major dud.

First came an obstacle relay that must have been dreamed up by someone who'd played too long without a helmet. Any event that features disjointed skills and ends with goaltenders trying to score on an empty net needs a rethink.

The fastest skater competition was a complete hash, so much so that CBC announcer Jim Hughson couldn't figure out who won the heats. "

From the National Post:

"...the NHL has realized that it needs some mustard. The problem is, it doesn't have any hot dogs.

They can dangle in an all-star setting, as they did in the Eastern Conference's last-minute, 8-7 win Sunday at Philips Arena. But for the rest of the season, NHL players are a bunch of humble Canadians and quiet Europeans. As Jason Arnott said this weekend, Owens wouldn't last 30 seconds inside an NHL dressing room...

But the NHL desperately needs individual. So on Saturday at the SuperSkills competition, they debuted the drably named Breakaway Challenge. From the judging to the execution, it was a complete disaster.

Pavel Datsyuk, one of the game's most dexterous, skilled players, had nothing out of the ordinary to offer on his breakaways. Martin St. Louis tried, but was hopeless. Alex Ovechkin was most impressive, twice flipping the puck high and attempting baseball-swing goals. The fact he missed on both attempts - yet still won the competition - is more a statement of what little everyone else brought to the table. "

From the Ottawa Sun:

"At the very least, it would appear the skills competition is going to become a victim of the changes once the league figures out what direction it wants to take. ...

"I haven't heard any positive comments about the skills competition at all," a league executive yesterday said. "The players think it's painful, the changes to the competition didn't work and quite frankly, the players are bored with the whole thing."

I for one don't think they should cancel it. There's still a lot of good that can come out of the competition and just imagine if Ovechkin had actually scored on one of those gong show moves. That would have made every highlight show on the continent.

But I'm completely glad the All-Star weekend is behind us. It's the same thing every year. In fact, I think most columnists just reprint the previous years column because the commentary never changes. Why do we get so riled up over an All-Star game anyways? It's evident that we sometimes take the game way too seriously.

Let's get on with the stretch drive.

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