Tag Archives: nhl all star game

Sunday Night NHL Thoughts

So, I tried to watch a few minutes of the ASG with little TSM this evening. We were about 5 minutes into the game when he said “Daddy, this is really boring, can I go do some homework?” Now, Little TSM is 6, so it does take a lot to capture his attention. I am not one who likes to slag something for the sake of it, as others do. I will say however that an article in NorthJersey.com does a fantastic job or breaking down the issue:

“The game has become a farce. The players rarely throw a body check and barely pay attention to defense. The skills competition is an even bigger joke with supposed skills, such as the breakaway challenge (the NHL’s version of the slam dunk contest), that have little to do with the actual game. The time has come to scrap the entire weekend. If the lure of Montreal and the history of the Canadiens isn’t enough to save the event, nothing else will.”

Isn’t that what all- star games are? Baseball is the only game that doesn’t amend it’s play for the all star festivities, yet if god forbid a game goes long or a pitcher gets used for too long…. To me one of the problems is that the game used to be for the fans now it is for sponsors.

“The All-Star game already has been supplanted by the Winter Classic outdoor game as the centerpiece event of the NHL’s regular season. The league can build the outdoor game into an even bigger event and use it to showcase the sponsorship deals that usually are highlighted on All-Star weekend. What makes the Winter Classic work is that, unlike the All-Star game, it is a real game that counts in the standings and the players play it that way.”

I agree one hundred percent. I had a real interest in watching the Winter Classic, it was a novelty, it was cool, it brough back memories from my childhood and made my son want to play a game outside. I didn’t care that Leafs weren’t playing, or even that a Leaf wasn’t there to represent the team. Ditch this sham of a game and let the sponsors hob nob around this event. Invite the fan favorites to a a golf outing or the award show for the sponsors to enjoy….

“None of the All-Star games in any of the pro sports is any good anymore. The NHL has a head start on the other sports, though, because it already has another regular-season event that it can shift its focus to. Scrap the All-Star game. In time, no one will miss it.”

In time? No one will miss it now….

Which leads me to the next thought. Not sure how many of you who have caught this but, there are rumblings that they NHL may move the award ceremony to Las Vegas. If you have heard the story, it’s because a talking head has probably gone to long about how bad this would be for the sport. Come on folks. This is not worth the time to even debate. I don’t care where they hold the show. No offense, but Ron MacLean hosting anything is SOOOO hokey, SOOOO Canadian. It’s not that he isn’t good at what he does, it’s just we accept it for HNIC. The award show is a joke. Seriously, would anyone care if they did what the other sports did and just announced the winners? Hell stretch it out like baseball does and announce one every 3rd day so it lasts a month! So, I have about as much time for the question, “why take the “event” away from it’s element as I do for the notion it would be better in Las Vegas. Raise your hand if you have ever gone to the event. Would anyone go more or less if it were in Vegas? Ok, all we need is another excuse and we are off to Vegas, but you know what I mean. Would more unrelated stars to the game attend the event because it were in Las Vegas??? Would better or more sponsors be drawn to hockey because the award snoozer is being held in Las Vegas? Who cares! Put it in Timbuktu for all I care if you think that works. As long as I hear who the winners are I am really not interested (and I am an avid hockey fan). I don’t care what the acceptance speeches are, I don’t care what player is wearing what tuxedo, or is with what former actress. It’s not the least bit interesting. Sorry to be a buzz kill, but I just don’t get what all the fuss is about. I sometimes think the fuss is nothing more then reacting to change.

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmmmmm

Hey folks, why, do you think the good folks over at the Toronto Star Changed the headline of Damien’s article last night? When I went to bed last night, and woke up this am the Headline was “Burke Likely Would Have Sent Schenn Down”. An odd title given there was one line in the story where Damien actually only guessed that to be true. There was nothing in the story to suggest that was true…only a suggestion. Now, the headline reads “Schenn a ray of hope amid all the gloom” EXCUSE ME????????? Are you kidding me. How stupid do you think your readers are (and no this isn’t directed at Damien) This changes the entire tone of the article! What was the intent here and why are you trying to mislead or taint the opinions of your readers. The story last night was clearly a negative shot… That’s ok, Damien is entitled to his opinion. Now it has a positive spin to it?: Give me a break…..Why the sudden change?

I am really curious folks, if the All-Star Game weren’t played, would anyone care? No really, forget the folks in Montreal (just for a second, not to be cruel), if the game wasn’t happening, and instead there was just a weekend off, would you care? Would you miss the festivities? I for one wouldn’t. If you want to do away with it, I have no objection. Please don’t replace with a world cup of hockey as some have suggested. A break is a good idea. Why do we need a diversion. I for one like a pause. It’s good for everyone. It’s good for the trainers, the equipment guys, the officials, the media, the players, their families….and the fans. The game is quite bizarre when you think about it. Rather Seinfeldian, it’s a game about nothing. There is no real winner, no real loser, it’s not a real hockey game. It’s not for the benefit of the fans. It’s not for the benefit of the players. This whole, or the benefit of the sponsors is a little twisted. If I were a sponsor I would rather be wooed, wined and dined at the Stanley Cup finals. So the question is, would you miss it? If there was no hockey this weekend and things started up again on Monday, would that be a bad thing?

The Morning Wasn’t Better

You know I need a life when I am listening to the morning show on the Fan, and all I can think is, what would Mike S say? Did anyone catch Kypreos on the fan this am? Man was that segment BRUTAL…. I am not surprised it isn’t on the website. I am telling you, this wicked winter is taking its toll on everyone..

Kypreos made one good point. Toskala has been the disappointment of the season. He was the one guy who should have been strong and Burke is probably questioning what to do with him big time. I think Nick got caught up in his packing for Montreal when he said the one good thing about Toskala is that he is locked up with a long term contract (and no, there wasn’t any sarcasm)

Landry’s big contribution to the segment was an impression of big Nick- that was ok, certainly not funny.

Stellick asked Kypreos a great question which Nick did everything but answer. The question was, looking at Michael Ryder from the Bruins last night, who had a rough go of it in Montreal last year, makes you think that Ron Wilson and Brian Burke are scouring other rosters looking for guys who are having a tough time with a current coach/team thinking that they can turn a guy around, who, Nick would be a good example of those types of guys for Leaf fans to look out for? Wow, what a great question right? One that a guy like Kypreos should be able to answer. He didn’t come anywhere near answering it. All he did was restate the fact that the Michael Ryder had a rough time in Montreal last year and that being reunited with Claude Julien has been very good for him. Thanks for coming out Nick.

Then he was asked if Grabovsky needs to play a little bigger (in fairness this was Landry’s question) in that he appears to get pushed off the puck pretty easily. Good question that I have heard a few times. Again instead of answering it, Nick explained that Grabovsky hasn’t earned his ice time, that he should be relegated to 4th line duty until he has earned 1st or 2nd line status let alone time on the power play. I think that is a very far sighted answer to a near sighted problem, but it is IRRELEVANT. Kypreos would make an awesome politician. His answers are all about his agenda, and not in any way related to the question(at least this morning)

Then, the topic became the all star game. Stellick said to Kypreos, you (Nick) blame Bettman for everything, now the all star game is coming, revenues from the game are split between the league and the players and the marquee players are choosing not to go (not those who are injured). Kypreos, again ignored the question and went on to rip the event. He said it should go back to the way it used to be and not have fans vote. When he was asked about players not going, he said they shouldn’t go. When Stellick said that he admired a guy for being honest (and I don’t remember who the player was) in saying, I am not going because I don’t want to go as opposed to lying and saying I am “injured” Big Nick ripped Stellick for admiring a guy for being honest. Big Nick then contradicted himself about 4 different ways about what the game should be before essentially saying the game is a total joke and not worth watching, let alone attending. When the guys reminded him that he was going for Sportsnet he said “Oh yeah riveting TV”…Now, if I am David Akande and I am paying for Nick to go to Montreal, I haul his ass back and say, you know what, stay home. Kypreos wants players to just say, I am not going and not give a reason. He should do the same thing. If you have to go, just say nothing to denigrate the product. I just can’t imagine his bosses are overly enamored with him telling people to not bother watching their coverage. Can you imagine if you are the head of marketing for one of Sportsnet’s clients (all-star or otherwise) and you heard this guy telling people not to bother watching? If it were me, I would call Akande and say, pull my ads, your guy says your coverage of the event isn’t worth watching….

The fan had a huge night last night. I hope it can continue later. After this am, I am not hopeful.

By the way, did anyone catch Rick Dudley in between the 2nd and 3rd periods on 640’s broadcast of the game? Great interview (bias). It was so good that the fan had him again on their after hours show (where he is a frequent guest). I am a huge Dudley fan. I am not sure there is anyone better out there who can speak about the game, those in it and how to spot and evaluate talent.

Beating Howie To The Fashion Beat- All Star Style

Not sure who, but someone along the way nominated Howard Berger the fashion expert in the nhl (shocking, considering the garb I usually see him wearing when he makes it on to tv)….but I digress.

I was surprised when a buddy sent me this nugget on the new NHL Official’s Jersey’s which shall be on display this weekend in Montreal and Howie wasn’t reporting about it…

“Reebok is proud to announce the debut of new NHL All-Star jerseys for referees and linesmen for this year’s historic NHL All-Star Game, which will be held in Montreal, on Jan. 25. The jerseys — 18 percent lighter in weight than current officials’ uniforms — are customized to fit the specific needs of officials, providing increased range of motion and better moisture management. Features on the officials’ uniforms include stretch mesh in the underarm and back of the jerseys, a zipper-less neckline, numbers on the back and sleeve and an enhanced Referee arm bar design to allow for greater on-ice visibility. The uniform also features a microphone channel that allows the officials to maneuver seamlessly across the ice with their microphones securely fastened to them.”

Excited yet????

Here is a quote from the NHL:

“The officials’ jerseys will enhance the way the referees and linesmen follow the action on the ice without fear that their microphones will become entangled.”

LOL…

Even the officials themselves are giddy:

“Over a year ago, the NHL and our on-ice officials began collaborating with Reebok to refresh and modernize the officials’ uniforms. The results are uniforms that incorporate the latest in technology to offer a lighter, more comfortable fit,” said Stephen Walkom, NHL Senior Vice President & Director of Officiating. “We appreciate the time and effort that Reebok put into making this sweater a reality and look forward to their debut at this year’s NHL All-Star game.”

Not to be outdone, the players uni’s will be enhanced too:

“the jerseys that will be worn by the Eastern and Western Conference NHL All-Stars will include Reebok’s patent-pending Smoothfit(TM) performance name and numbering technology, which allows players to move more efficiently on the ice and will contribute to improved moisture management. The Smoothfit(TM) performance name and numbering technology eliminates up to 35 percent of the weight inherent to the traditional name and numbering system, which in many cases, includes multiple layers of twill. The players’ uniforms pay tribute to the history of the game through use of color and symbolic references. The Montreal Canadiens’ red, white and blue color scheme is present in both the East and West uniforms and celebrates the organization’s 100th anniversary. Additionally, the three stars etched on the players’ sleeves commemorate the three most-recent NHL All-Star games held in Montreal. The jerseys also were constructed with the latest in performance fabrics currently used in the Reebok EDGE Uniform System. These fabrics have been strategically placed or “mapped” throughout the uniform to maximize the athletes’ performances.”

Get this from the NHL:

“Aesthetically, the design of the 2009 NHL All-Star Eastern and Western Conference uniforms is a deliberate break from traditional hockey uniform patterning and symbolizes the revolutionary advances the sport has made in both technology and popularity,” said Keith Leach, Director of NHL Merchandising, Reebok. “The asymmetric cut lines are meant to create visual motion in the uniform, which is both a literal reference to the speed of the game and symbolic reference to its evolution into the future. The officials’ jerseys will enhance the way the referees and linesmen follow the action on the ice without fear that their microphones will become entangled.”

All good stuff, you can buy the jerseys here

Silence On A Snowy Night In Toronto

Man, I thought it was quiet over the holidays, there is nothing but crickets tonight. Everyone must be gassing up their snow-blowers (look out mr. Sakic). It is dead tonight. Not one interesting thing in one paper, in one media outlet anywhere(it is 12:20 am right now)

So here are some random thoughts:

Leafs were lousy last night vs. the Panthers. I have no problem with the losing. This is the first time in a long time where they didn’t even bother to show up. I sense another long skate in practice coming up.

To boo or not to boo. I am pretty tired of this argument. With very little exception every player who returns to their old team should expect to get razzed a little. Is it right? Who knows. It sports. As Seinfeld said, we don’t root for a player we root for a jersey. When the player changes teams he who we used to cheer for we now boo. McCabe made a lot of dough here, and really made his career here. Others have been treated way worse.

One of the reasons he was a thorn in the public’s side is that he just wasn’t that bright. He would have done much better with a no -comment, ummmm whenever he was asked a question. For him to call out Leaf Fans who may boo Sundin is just another example of the lack of brains in his melon. To say it’s ok to me just not Mats is just dumb. Who do you think you are? You don’t need to take one for him anymore. Fans are going to do what they want to do, so mind your own business. I give him credit for this, he said that he waived his NTC clause because he didn’t want to hijack the team. He is the only player who last year said, if there is a deal there to be made bring it to me. The reality is no one wanted him.

Is it just me, or is anyone else out there really hoping the Buds honor not only Team Canada but also Pat Quinn. I know there is no Saturday home game for a bit. I hope, the next chance they get they really whoop it up for old Pat.

I loved the Winter Classic. The all star games excites me about as much as going to the dentist. Really, if you are doing one, why the other? I know, it’s a big sponsor event for the league… The debate about who should be on the team or not is about as interesting as the never ending debate about fighting in hockey. Someone a hell of a lot smarter then me (and that is a BIG group) has to be able to come up with a better format then the current all star bore.

The fact that the NHL Poster boy isn’t Alexander Ovechkin is just a crock. There is no better player in the game right now then AO. The race isn’t close. As good as some of the other younger guys are, AO is the man. I find it hard to watch non-leaf games, but I do to try to keep an eye on the younger talent and other on-goings in the game (sorry Howie). I really try to watch as many Caps games as I can to catch a glimpse of AO on the ice.

Anyone else been listening to Roscoe Toth on the fan this week? He is miffed at all the attention the WJC’s get. He goes to a ton of junior games all season long (good for him) and feels that the folks who rave about junior hockey for these 2 weeks aren’t real junior hockey fans. Guess what? He is right. Compare if you will the NCAA basketball tournament. Those of you reading this from work, turn left, now turn right, how many people around you enter some sort of NCAA basketball tourney pool? Of those, how many are die hard fans all season long??? Fans get caught up in the hype, and we Canadians have such an inferiority complex that we will really pay attention in those areas where we may actually excel. I think it’s great Roscoe goes to a couple of junior games a week. If the local GTA area teams want to drum up support, look at this little gem. My son is in 3 different hockey programs right now. We get all kinds of stuff in the mail as a result. We have never, ever seen or heard a thing from any of the teams in our area. If those teams want to increase their fan base there is a huge hockey market they don’t tap into right in front of them.

Former Detroit Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli had his son in-law on his coaching staff for the past 0-16 campaign. After a loss on Dec 21, Rob Parker an eight year vet with the Detroit News, asked Marinelli in the post game press conference if Marinelli “wished his daughter had married a better defensive coordinator?” As a result of that question, Parker was demoted from from columnist to general assignment reporter. Parker, as a result of that demotion resigned. I, as you may recall lived in the burbs of Detroit for several years. Mrs. TSM was born and raised there and both little TSM’s were born there as well. I have never been a Parker fan (surprised? I love sooooo many columnists…)I will say this, Parker has written and said a hell of a lot worse things then this. To lose his job, in this economy, in that market for this comment is so thin skinned it is hard to believe. Parker has said that he will remain in Detroit. That whittles his writing options down to 1 (the Free Press is owned by the same company as the News), The Oakland Press at least as far as local papers go. He does do some work on ESPN. Here is hoping that he finds work really soon….

Since I started this blog I have had the good fortune to chat with some folks who cover the NHL. I asked one today to assess for those of us up here the seasons of Mr. Tucker and Mr. Raycroft in Colorado thus far. His response:

“Tucker has looked slow and taken lots of bad penalties. Raycroft is
6-1, maybe the most deceptive won-lost record of all time so far, but
wins are wins.”

Hope you all have an easy commute tomorrow. Sounds like the roads in the GTA are going to be hell