Monday, January 28, 2008


NHL team mascots pose together for a group photo before the 56th NHL All-Star Game (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesAfter watching most of the 2008 NHL YoungStars!/SuperSkills! and the All Star Game, I have to say they both pretty much sucked. They could have used Sidney Crosby to show up at the festivites limping out to greet the crowd wearing Tom Brady's boot. It certainly was a lackluster showcase for the league's most talented players. Here's the PLUS/MINUS breakdown. (Yeah, I'm probably not the first one to come up with that.)

PLUS: The goalies they chose to mic up during both events, Rick "2020 Or Bust" DiPietro and Manny "Tarnished" Legace, were both very entertaining and added to the telecast.
MINUS: The constant VERSUS audio issues, which led to about 20 exchanges like the following:

Doc Emrick: We've got a microphone on the goalies. Hey, DiPietro, what did you think of that shot?
Rick: ...
Doc: I guess he can't hear us.


PLUS: Placed in the middle of the skills events the new YoungStars! game, with only one faceoff and two 6 minute "halves" was short and to the point. Of course, it allowed for a ridiculous amount of breakaways but what did you expect?
MINUS: Fastest Skater, which was a sprint and not a lap around the ice, just flat out sucked. Predictably, the NHL/VERSUS couldn't get the timers to work correctly.

MINUS: FURRIES! Those NHL mascots are frightening.

PLUS: Melt Your Face Off's hilarious livebloggery of the SS and ASG.
MINUS: CBS Sportsline adding the goals during the ASG to each players' season total. Goals 40 and 41 for Ovey! Uh no, they don't count. So you can take your glog and shove it.

PLUS: I actually liked the revamped Obstacle Relay, with the goalies shooting at the empty net at the end. Althought Rob didn't like the "saucer pass" part ("they should have had little kids on the ice for that") I thought it was okay overall.
MINUS: I don't normally agree with Wes Goldmember from Sportsline, but they have to get rid of the "judged" Breakaway Challenge event. It had potential, but it ended up being awful. It was worse than the NBA Slam Dunk (if you can believe it); it was like watching 30 straight failed dunk attempts. Some of the players didn't even seem to know what they were supposed to do. After trying (and failing) to bat the puck out of the air, Ovechkin said afterwards, "I didn't practice that." Yeah, no shit, Ovey. I couldn't tell at all. The goalies were also just getting in the way of the fun; they should have just put a stuffed dummy in each goal. And it's a bad sign when the computer animated trick shots were 100 times better than the final product. I could have just watched the 2KSports simulation of the Skills competition all night.

PLUS: I missed The Hives doing the musical introduction, which I heard was the highlight of the All Star Game. The sad thing is, I'm not kidding.
MINUS: When Gary Bettman joined Doc and Eddie in the booth at the beginning of the 3rd, I had to turn off the audio. Insufferable little twunt. This led to the following imaginary exchange:

Doc: Do you have a question for the commissioner?
Me: Yeah, I do! How about you have a nice big cup of 'shut the fuck up'?

Bettman sucks.

PLUS: A sweet breakaway in the ASG by Rick Nash, who had a hat trick for the losing Western team. All 17 fans in Columbus said "Huh."
MINUS: Eric Staal somehow got the MVP, and Bettman was booed by the crowd when he made the center ice presentation. THIS MAN IS BOOED IN EVERY ARENA, DOESN'T ANYONE SEE A PROBLEM WITH THIS? Do you think Bettman gets booed while he’s out eating dinner?

PLUS: As Rob said, "At least it was in HD". Agreed.
MINUS: Not all the cameras were HD (hey, it's VERSUS, how many HD cameras do you think they can afford?).

All in all, I was pretty non-plussed. But it still beat watching the Winter X Games.

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