Sunday, January 30, 2011
Albert never got a car!
For Canadians of a certain age, a Canadian Tire commercial from years gone by stands out as a touchstone of their past with a game that for the most part hasn't seen an outside pond in a long, long time.
In it a group of hockey players have gathered to set up a game of shinny, as the timeless ritual unfolds, two captains pick one player at a time, anxious kids assigned to their squads until they get to the last kind on the snowbank, Albert, who as it turns out is the "kid brother" of one of the captains, a player who is assigned to his brothers squad, cause, well as the commercial goes "he's your brother, you take him".
That commercial came back to life on Friday night in Raleigh North Carolina, as Team Staal and Team Lidstrom took to the podium to make their selections, and while the final pick of the day, wasn't Nic Lidstrom's Brother, the Albert moment belonged to Phil Kessel of the Maple Leafs, selected 36th and last in the cattle call of all stars.
Though one imagines Phil won't be in need of any therapy for his draft selection, having had a pretty good run in the NHL for a few years now and for good measure, the reward for being the last pick of his peers was pretty good.
For the lengthy wait of selection, Kessel received a brand new car and a 20,000 dollar donation in his name to the charity of his choice, in this instance a charity that fights testicular cancer.
Kessel for his part handled the entire process in good humour, but then why not, considering his regular season employer the Leafs have become one of the league's ongoing soap opera's of late, the respite of the all star game, even if left as the last man standing probably will provide a positive atmosphere to help him carry through the rest of the regular season (we suspect he won't have to worry about post season work this year).
At any rate, the prospect of pay back is always a motivating factor, so perhaps he'll have a stellar all star game and go on to become the game's MVP, leaving Team Staal to proclaim "sure wish we had a guy like Albert, er Kessel"
As for the all star the format this year, it has attracted a fair amount of attention, and a good portion of it rather positive (though there are a few opinions of the opposite).
The draft itself was a process that probably resonates with office, bar and online pool players around the world, many of whom fancy that they could put together a line up that would win it all.
Though in this instance, the last pick was on full display, by himself, waiting for his name.
The full line up for Sunday's game can be viewed here.
Some of the reviews of the Friday night selection show can be found below.
Sports Illustrated-- Kessel takes 'Mr. Irrelevant' title, prizes in stride at All-Star draft
LA Times-- NHL All-Star draft blends fantasy, humor and drama
Yahoo Sports-- Phil Kessel, the fantasy draft’s final star
Globe and Mail-- NHL All-Stars tickle our funny bones
Globe and Mai-- Buddy system rules all-star draft
Montreal Gazette-- A whole lot of sizzle, without the steak
Montreal Gazette-- MLB should follow NHL's lead
Ottawa Citizen-- Kessel the last to go
Toronto Star-- Last but not least, Phil Kessel
Toronto Sun-- Execution key for new NHL all star game
Toronto Sun-- Last pick Kessel in drivers seat
Vancouver Sun-- NHL All Star draft, like the game, not likely to sell