At least some good has come out of the lockout. It may be a small victory, but at least we won’t be forced to suffer through then embarrassing display the league refers to as the All Star Game. (Though I am sure that single Columbus Fan will be thoroughly disappointed)
I have nothing against the game or the weekend festivities. Hell, I even make it a point to watch the skills competition each and every year. The event has great potential, but the NHL’s execution of it is nearly as bad as the 1-hour tape delayed NHL Awards.
It is mind boggling how those in charge can be so inept when it comes to showcasing the stars of their league. Take this stupid modern rendition of the relay for example. This event almost always comes to a screeching halt as we watch stationary players feather a puck into a miniature net. Anyone else remember how exciting it was the watch a Sedin (not sure which one, they all look alike to me) fire the puck cross ice for what felt like an eternity? No? Oh well that’s likely because we were all daydreaming about how much more exciting it would be to watch Josh Beckett take to the mound at Fenway.
What was wrong with the old relay? Players stick handling around pylons in at full speed, weaving through as best they could. It was a showcase of speed, control and talent. It was a race. Players remained behind the goal lines until their teammate came racing across the line. Now the stars are simply loitering around their stations and all urgency has been stripped from the event.
That event is only slightly better than the ridiculous Slam Dunk Contest… sorry, “Breakaway Challenge.” The idea is a good one, you send super talented players down the ice to preform amazing feats of dexterity and creativity. You see amazing feats like this on YouTube every year, albeit from the collegiate or minor hockey level, the problem is those skills are not a clean as it seems. The only moves that make it online have been practiced for ages and fail 90% of the time, it’s only the successful attempts that go viral. After several years of watching players flip the puck into the air trying unsuccessfully to bat it in the only moderately positive results have been from Ovechkin donning a hat and Patrick Kane playing Superman. In fact the best part of the event to date was Carey Price facing the end boards and still being able to make the save. That alone tells you this event has got to go.
Combine all this with the inevitable technical difficulties (remember when the radar gun broke? When the timer broke? When the other timer broke?) and the dead air in between events and this is an event circling the drain. It really is a shame though, with the speed and talent they have one the ice they should be able to put on a great showcase. At least we can forget about it for one more year.