As the invited and nominated take in the sights and sounds of some nightlife around the Capital and prepare for tomorrow's skills competition and Sunday's all star game, a reflective moment back to Thursday night and the "all star selection show" an interesting little bit of television that chose the sides for the big game on Sunday and showcased some of the lesser lights of the Nation's Capital.
Now first off, if you go back through the past passages of our little blog, you'll probably be able to cobble together the idea that we're kind of partial to the Senators, it being the hometown and all that, but really, the reaction of the fans, wait, no really we can't call them that I guess, the reaction of the audience on Thursday took the old Leafs - Sens rivalry to a new low.
Perhaps it was the nature of the forum, what it being a casino in Hull, ooops sorry Gatineau, (excusez moi, old habits die hard), a city where the free flow of refreshments over the decades has probably added to the testosterone and bellicose nature of the bleacher types (just ask the Hull, Oops I mean Gatineau Police about Friday and Saturday nights on the strip), but was all that anger really a requirement for what is basically a mean nothing, PR exercise for the corporate sponsors of the NHL.
While we have as friendly dislike of all things centre of the universe as the next guy, (unless the next guy is in Hamilton which is a whole different level of dislike), the constant booing of any reference to a member of the Blue and White got old pretty fast, the first time it brought a chuckle, after about the tenth one it was frankly a tad embarrassing, cementing to a degree the insecurities of Ottawa at times that seem to manifest themselves whenever anything to do with Toronto comes along.
Tis like the classic moments of the Simpson's where any mention of Shelbyville sets the residents of Springfield into a tizzy, generally making them look worse by comparison, such was the basic theme of Thursday.
What we don't' get is considering the wait for the All Star game to arrive in Ottawa, what took place on Thursday was as if you decided to throw a huge party and then disrespect some of your guests as they arrive, why bother hosting the party then?
There comes a time when you show that you're hockey fans and not stuck in some ancient mindset of mock anger, or as the folks use to say when I behaved badly as a young one, there comes a time when you have to grow up.
As for the draft, well the captain's of the night chose the safest path of resistance, Team Alfie loading up on Senators for the home crowd and Swedes for the co-hosts for the night, Team Chara holding true to the Bruins for the most part and adding on the Leafs cause every team needs villains it seems.
Still, the player's draft while interesting once seems to be running out of steam already, though at least this time there was no Alexander Ovechkin to play paparazzi for the unfortunate last pick, Ovie of course sitting at home in the dark this weekend with the drapes drawn so as not to be a distraction from the excitement of a weekend at the All Star game.
Oh wait, this just in, Ovie's at the beach, and we don't mean Mooney's Bay beach, Ovie's enjoying the sun and surf of South Beach to be precise, hmmm, smart like a fox that Ovechkin is...
This years last man standing was Logan Couture, winner of the Phil Kessel award for stoicism under fire, who accepted his fate in stride and good humour.
First off, maybe shut down the bar at Noon on the day of the draft so the audience won't provide as much participation.
Secondly, instead of scanning a list of available players, how about having all the players in the all start game write their names on a stick, place the sticks face down in a pile on the stage and then have the captains' pick away.
If need be, separate the piles into defence, forward and goalie (though really the latter should be pretty easy to figure out).
That way, everyone has an equal chance of being the last guy on the snowbank, for fun, scrap the idea of the car (really no offence to Honda, but I"m thinking most NHLers probably look for something a little more performance orientated) and instead have the corporate sponsors provide a more sizable cash award to the charity of choice to the last fellow to go onto the depth chart, everyone's a winner.
Of course we're not sure what the more bellicose of fans in Ottawa would do if Phil Kessel or Joffrey Lupul ended up on Team Alfredsson, perhaps by that point they might realize that at the end of the all star game those Leaf's in question will go back to a pretty successful hockey career, while the boors in the crowd will uh, go wherever boors end up at the end of the night.
Official pick by pick list
Ottawa Sun-- Lively all-star draft has a few surprises
Ottawa Citizen-- NHL all-stars shone brightly at packed casino