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 The NHL All Star Weekend In Review Allow Anonymous Users Reply to This Topic...
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Posted - 02/01/2008 :  16:06:04  Show Profile
By Fantasy Fanatics

Say what you want about the National Hockey League. Say they’re not doing enough to market the sport. Say they’re not getting the product to the right people. Say they’re not even trying to get more exposure. Rip them up and down for whatever, but you have to give them credit for what they did this past weekend. They put on a great showcase of talent at a perfect time.

We’ll discuss television coverage of the NHL at a later time, I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ve got some opinions about that and really ought to check out the posts in the forum section, but this was the sole void in the schedule since the NHL season started: the off-week prior to the Super Bowl. This was the perfect time to put your best out for the sports-starved audience to see what you’re made of. Considering the PGA tour was a Tiger-runaway, there was nothing else other than basketball to watch this week – not even NASCAR. So if you could find the NHL All-Star Festivities on Versus, and could get past the shoddy lighting, graphics, and camera-work, you had a really good sports option for the weekend.

The NHL jazzed up the Super-Skills Competition Saturday Night. They let the players have fun and show what they could do, even encouraging them to be fancy and silly, but they didn’t take away from the hockey stuff that Puck-Heads crave. Zdeno Chara shot a puck 103.1 mph, Tomas Kaberle hit 8 targets on 9 shots, and puck-magicians like Alexander Ovechkin tried to flip and bat pucks in the air while moving; all great activities for the fans to enjoy. The best thing Versus did was put microphones on a couple of the goalies, and they made some great choices at that. Rick DiPietro is a talker and very funny and Manny Legace did a great job too, especially during the 3 on 3 Young Stars game.

As for the game itself, on Sunday, it was a smash. From the record-setting goal twelve seconds in by Rick Nash while the announcers were still talking to East Goalie Rick DiPietro, to the winner scored by Marc Savard with :20 remaining, it was all good for the fans. There were great goals, even better saves (especially the pair by Evgeni Nabokov on Ovechkin), and a fun game that got competitive late.

What I was able to take away from this exhibition is that I don’t get to see enough of these players often enough. As for the free-wheeling and high-flying offense, it’s nice to see for a change and to get a taste of what these players can do – but I like the checking too. As a matter of fact, they ought to put a checking competition into the Super-Skills format in the future – wouldn’t that be fun to watch. It was great to see these players make the plays they can when there isn’t any clutching and grabbing and interference going on.

If you didn’t get a chance to see the action, that’s too bad. Mark it down on your calendar for next year. And in the meantime, check out some games when they’re on television. You don’t know what you’re missing.

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