It's finally here: 2008 NHL ALL-STAR WEEKEND. From all around the globe people are flocking to the
hockey hotbed bone-dry city of Hotlanta to see the NHL's best from East to West--uhm, Wales to Campbell. Aren't you psyched? (Okay, maybe you're not, but at least it's something to watch after the golf is over.)
Despite the fact that Bettman sucks, the NHL did smarten up and put this on during the off-weekend during NFL football's annual Pre-Big Game "Fortnight Of Jackassery". Unfortunately, poster boy Sid the Kid will not be playing due to an ankle injury. Or as the Onion puts it: NHL Out Three To Five Weeks With Sprained Right Poster Boy. (Gotta love the Onion.)
Unfortunately, Martin Brodeur will not be attending for the first time due to family issues (which I assume has something to do with
banging his ex-wife's sister spending time with his kids). Actually, I don't blame Marty for not wanting to sit there for target practice while the defensemen watch from afar. But Crosby, Zetterberg, and Luongo all missing takes some of the juice out of the proceedings (even though it's never really much of a game).
But who are we kidding? The Saturday night YoungStars/SuperSkills Competition has become the best part of the whole All-Star shebang. Look at the roster: between Patrick Kane, Milan Lucic, Sam Gagner and Kris Letang, I think the average age is 15. I don't think any of them have even started shaving yet. David "Kelly" Clarkson is probably going to have to sneak out to get liquor for the rest of them, unless Erik Johnson gets a fake ID and changes his name to "McLovin". Since no goalies are listed as playing this game, I guess they'll have to place the goals facedown and shoot at the netting on top. Kicking off the night Jack Johnson will be singing his hit "Slashing, Hooking, Checking", and (hellish Hannah Montana spinoff) The Jonas Brothers will be performing with the Staal Brothers and the Sedin Brothers. And naturally, Usher and Wyclef Jean will be there, because their music is synonymous with hockey. Yeah, sure.
As for the SuperSkills Competition, it's just amazing to see what these guys can do (man, I wish I had Chara's 100.4 MPH slapper). I would also love to see if semi-unretired Scotty Niedermayer can skill skate the fastest, although I don't know if he's even participating. But since I've enjoyed the Skills Competition as it is, they've decided
without bothering to ask the fans to make some changes this year, which include:
- Fastest Skater: players sprint from goal line to the opposite blue line, instead of a lap around the ice;
- A bizarre 45 second Obstacle Course Relay that ends with the goalie attempting to score on the empty net (if only Marty were here . . . );
- Breakaway Challenge which includes points awarded for "creativity, execution and ability to score"
On that note, allow me to jump into the Open Hockey Time Crapsule™ and present the highlights from the 1990 NHL ALL STAR GAME.
This is a great clip of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, one of the deepest drafts ever: Nolan, Nedved, Primeau, Ricci, Jagr, Sydor, Hatcher (only the Isles pick at #6, Scissons, was a complete bust).
Mullets galore! I also like the fact that it ends with "the rest" of the first round, "Oh yeah, before we go to commercial, the Devils got some kid goalie named Martin Brodeur way down at 20 . . . "
This clip is fantastic: the 1979 Challenge Cup. This took the place of the All-Star Game, and featured 3 games played at MSG which pitted the NHL All-Stars vs. The Evil Russians.
The USSR went on to beat the NHL players 2 games to 1.
And this Flyers clip from 1990 I'm putting up here for no other reason but to laugh at Mike Emrick and Bill "Hands of Cement" Clement from their younger days (1:25).
Ha ha ha ha ha!