Sunday, January 25, 2009

Some Thoughts About All-Star Weekend

It was fun watching all of the hockey world's elite come out to celebrate the game as well as the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens franchise at the All Star Game this weekend.

Every year, it seems like fewer and fewer people are actually interested in the All-Star Game itself, and more are interested in the Skills Competition the night before. I know that is what interests me. It's always nice to see new records set - Al Iafrate's cannon-like shot has been the mark to be for years, and this year Zdeno Chara broke the 16-year old record for hardest shot with a blazing 105.4 MPH blast. Quite the shot from the point there - something the Stars have been missing with Sergei Zubov out of the lineup, even if his hardest probably comes in 4-6 MPH slower...

As I said, normally the Skills Competition is what interests me most...and when they debuted the "Breakaway Challenge" last year, I was excited. It most readily equates to the "Slam Dunk Competition" the NBA has, and gives players a chance to go out and have some fun with their shots. And, even though he didn't make it, Alexander Ovechkin's shot last year was a jaw-dropper...just the creativity alone made it a winner. But after seeing AO's "winning" shot this year, I am ready to be done with it if fans are going to vote the winner. The pandering, goofy, half-hearted attempt Ovechkin submitted and fans endorsed was pathetic. Seriously? THAT is what qualifies as the best shot? Gimme a break...

In the "Big Game" itself, Modano and Robidas were pretty quiet. Modano did have the primary assist on the third-period opening goal by Shane Doan, but was held off the scoresheet otherwise. Robidas had a shot on goal, and not much else. Both players were near the bottom of the pile in minutes played. But, the game was fast-moving and quick-paced, and neither Star was lost in the motion.

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