Monday, January 31, 2011

A nice afternoon for a public skate

Credit the CBC for understanding the priorities on All Star Sunday, while the NHL's stars were taking their bows and skating to their respective blue lines upon introduction to the Raleigh crowd, Canadian television viewers were focused on the final bit of action of a curling event.

Interestingly enough, the game affectionately known as the roaring game featured a match, which on this Sunday counted for something and featured much more hitting (all be it just rocks hitting rocks) than the NHL all star game offered.

With the curling from Oshawa taking a little longer than anticipated to wrap up, CBC stayed with the final shots no doubt hoping that the final rock would coincide with the puck drop of the all star game.

As things turned out, they managed to get to the rink on time for the opening face off, the curlers having toyed with the NHL long enough, brought their match to an end and relieved the CBC of the burden of decision making.

By the time the all star game would come to its end, you would understand why the CBC chose to stay with the drama of a close match, waiting for that final rock to curl into the house.  The curlers put in a hard days work, the hockey players, well they had a nice little skate.

As always seems the case in this modern era of the NHL featured a lot of skating, absolutely no hitting and enough shots on net to last the goaltenders for the month.

The result provided Team Lidstrom with some sense of vengeance from the loss in Saturday's skills session, as Nic's group edge out Team Staal 11 - 10, making the Red Wing captain champion of the Friday pool draft, having selected the winning roster and leaving the game with an amazing +7, rather remarkable for a game featuring 21 goals, showing that if nothing else Lidstrom knew exactly when to take a rest.

As for the game, by all star standards it was much of the same as past events have provided for, little in the way of drama and seemingly the least impressive of the weekend's activities, while the Friday night draft and Saturday skills sessions were generally popularly reviewed, the same couldn't be said for the actual action (such as it was) on the ice.

There's not really much that can be done about the game in its current form, there's not much resemblance to an actual NHL game, the intensity clearly not there, the principle in place seemingly to avoid injury at all costs.

It's almost at the point where perhaps they should just expand the skills competition and rookie game and leave it at that, make Sunday a fan fair or something where the players could be assembled to meet and greet sponsors and fans, without the need to don equipment for the three hour public skate.

Sunday provided an interesting contrast for sports, both the NHL and NFL featuring their all star games, sessions lacking in passion or drama, while the NBA featured a pair of high intensity games on the Sunday showcase, games which probably grabbed a fair share of the audience.

College basketball also had its share of intense rivalry matches to broadcast, ready to take their share, but interestingly enough it may have been that other game on ice that benefited the most from the NHL All Star profile.

As for the ice, On Sunday,the only game that counted came from the curling rink, a place where the action was hectic and rather dramatic, a polar opposite to the days entertainment from North Carolina.

Globe and Mail-- Team Lidstrom prevails in lacklustre NHL all-star game 
Globe and Mail--  Why the all star weekend came up short
Montreal Gazette-- More action off the ice than on at NHL All Star game
Chicago Tribune-- The NHL All Star game needs fixing, and I'm just the guy to do it
ESPN--  Our top moments from All Star weekend
The Province-- Glorified beer league game, exceptional talent
Toronto Sun-- All Star game lacks competitive edge
Toronto Sun-- It's over to you, Ottawa 
Toronto Star--  Carolina breathes new life into all-star game
San Francisco Chronicle-- 'Buzz' Around NHL's All-Star Fantasy Draft Could Keep Format in Place
Reuters-- New all star game, same old game
National Post-- Briere's 2 goals lift LIdstrom NHL All-Stars

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