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Archive for the ‘All-Star Game’ Category

Thanks to Razor and his blog, I read Stu Hackel’s post on Slapshot about the play-by-play stylings of Versus and NBC.

However, when you see and hear a Versus game, and an NBC game as well, that standard is abandoned for nonstop conversation that too often ignores the game’s action. Most likely, that’s not the decision of the guys behind the mic but the guys behind the scenes, who instruct the announcers to “tell stories” at the expense of providing clear descriptions and analysis. They do hockey a massive disservice.

This is exactly how I feel about it and why I’m always so irritated by it. I’ve wondered how we’re supposed to be swaying the casual fan with these games, when even a seasoned fan like me can barely follow the action because it’s not being described.

I want to know who just laid a hit, or who just saved a scoring chance with backchecking. I don’t care to hear the announcers reminisce about the time they met Rocket Richard. Or listen to them ramble about some issue that came up in a minor-league game the week before and has no bearing on the current game. Especially when it’s scripted.

I’m a Stars fan. I can tell which Star has the puck and what he’s about to do, but I kind of like to know what’s happening with the opponent, too. And if I’m watching a game that doesn’t include the Stars, I like to know who those people are.

The way Versus and NBC have styled their commentary, I tend to lose track of what’s going on on the ice, and then I lose interest. I’d rather watch a game with the local broadcaster for one of the teams. Even if it’s a terrible homer duo, at least you get to hear what one of the teams is doing.

Check out the article. I would like to think a groundswell of agreement might make them allow the excellent broadcasters they hire (Pierre McGuire excluded) to call the games the way that made them excellent broadcasters.

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I like the All-Star Game.

I’m going to have to take a sabbatical from reading surly bloggers and crusty columnists whining about EVERY. LITTLE. THING! SHUT UP!

It never fails. It is the same stuff as last year. And the year before. And from the same people. They bitch about the game from top to bottom from the day they start the fan voting until a week after the game is over. Everybody thinks the NHL has no clue how to hold a game. They think all the wrong people are in. Even when the right people are invited, but can’t come, they blame the League. Then when the League gets mad at the ones that don’t come it’s still the League’s fault.

No matter whom the fans vote in, they’re the wrong ones. How can fans be so stupid? Don’t they know that’s not the player they like best?

No matter what the Skills Competition entails, it’s not what it should entail.

No matter how competitive it is or isn’t, it’s too much or too little. It’s not a real game! Somebody might get hurt!

No matter how exciting it is for those who are kids now, it’s not as good as it was when jaded, crusty hockey writer X was a kid. They did it right back then. It had nothing to do with the fact that he was a kid and everything was better back then.

And while I rant about how they say the same thing every year, I should probably remind myself that it upsets me like this every year. And I shouldn’t let it. I just worry that the whining will drown out the fun and the League might listen to it, rather than the fans.

The All-Star Game and I can sit together and just ignore those meanies.

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The fan voting has started for the 2009 NHL All-Star game. As usual, there’s all kinds of hand-wringing about who deserves to be voted in and who doesn’t.

It gives me tired-head (to use a Ticket-coined phrase). Every single year, half the fans are mad about some player getting in that they didn’t think deserved it, and the other half of the fans are upset about some other player getting in that they didn’t think deserved it.

It’s the appetizer that precedes the main course of half the fans griping because the All-Star Game doesn’t have any defense, and the other half griping that we get enough defense in the regular season, why do we have to have it in the All-Star Game? Then the dessert of all the fans bashing the skills competition or the broadcast or the channel that broadcast is on.

Wysh, over at Puck Daddy, is already all in a twist because Marty Turco is second in fan voting for goalies right now. First of all, fan voting is often based on what players did since the last All-Star Game. Turco’s been great up until this little stretch. Second, there’s probably a bunch of fans voting for him just to prove that fan voting is no good, like they did last year with poor Rory Fitzpatrick. Third, who cares? Every team will have at least one player, and every single player that makes it will have whining detractors that think their guy should have made it instead.

Besides, Marty Turco was the highlight of the 2007 ASG when he was mic’ed up in the net and talking live to Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk while making saves. Why wouldn’t we want that?

I haven’t even voted yet, but I’ll probably vote the straight Stars ticket. Sue me. I might even write-in Philippe Boucher.

The point of bringing all that up, though, was not that rant about the All-Star Game. That just happened accidentally.

The new idea I have is to use a similar voting system and let the fans vote on the shootout. Then require the NHL will to honor the vote. If the fans vote to get rid of it, then the NHL should get. Rid. Of it.

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All-Star Game - Getty Images

That was a fun game!

It started out a little lopsided, but the West caught up the East and the competitiveness that makes kids become professional athletes started to bubble up. It came down to the last few seconds when Marc Savard scored to win it for the East.  Over the weekend full of player interviews and behind-the-scenes access and just general milling around, I was reminded of why I like hockey so much. The players.

I have my favorites that I’ve gathered over my short time watching hockey. Of course, all the Dallas Stars are at the top of the list, so I’ll save that for another time. But during the All-Star Game and the SuperSkills Competition and everything in between, I added a few surprise players to my watch list.

First, since I’m not talking about Stars players here, I’ll just say that the shot of Mike Ribeiro in the lockerroom between periods, watching his ADORABLE little kids walking around, was great. Ribbons did a fine job and so did Happy Meals. I hope they had a good time.

Now, here are a couple of players that surprised me by being surprisingly cute and/or cool.

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Versus failed to send me a magnetic playoff tracker and then took down the banner they told me to link to!

I feel like somebody needs to defend the All-Star Game event. Everywhere I go, it’s criticized for not being meaningful, not being competitive, not having hits, not having the right players, not being in the right town, not being on the right channel, not having the right superskills events, not having the right players in each event, and more and more and more.

I just don’t get it. It’s an exhibition game. It’s for effing FUN! I don’t know why people can’t relax and just enjoy it. There’s plenty of things to watch, plenty of things to enjoy about it.

I watch a huge amount of hockey over the course of a season. I have the Center Ice package, so whenever there’s no Stars game on, I’m watching hockey anyway. But even for somebody who just watches their own team’s games, that’s 82 times a season where you can watch a game that has hits and defense and makes a difference in the standings. There is nothing wrong with one game a year that is just for fun.

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Dallas All-Star Game

Last year the All-Star Weekend was held in Dallas and I got to go to the SuperSkills competition. I was a little overly focused on Philippe Boucher the whole time, so I managed to enjoy it, but without really keeping up with what was going on (I watched it later on TiVo). The SuperSkills is usually my favorite part of the All-Star event.

This year the NHL changed some stuff around for the SuperSkills Competition. They added a breakaway challenge where the creativity was judged, and they added an obstacle course and a one-timer challenge. They also changed the “fastest skater” event to a straightaway sprint instead of laps.

Another big change is the amount of online access that the NHL puts up. The NHL Network had an all-day kind of pre-game show, but it also played online with some delay. There were player interviews and morning skate footage and just general milling around, which I love. Versus might think that Tap-Out and WEC WrekCage might be more important to broadcast, but they are incorrect.

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James Mirtle has an idea that would put more Dallas Stars in the All-Star Game (accidentally). Instead of East vs. West, he suggests Matts vs. Mikes.

Knuble – M. Richards – Cammalleri
Ribeiro – Comrie – Ryder
Nylander – Modano – Samuelsson
Fisher – Sillinger – Grier

Commodore – Green
Lundin – Komisarek
Van Ryn – Mottau

Smith
Tellqvist

v.

Lombardi – Sundin – Stajan
Pettinger – Cullen – Cooke
Darche – Bradley – Foy
Tjarnqvist – Ellis – Dandenault

Schneider – Ohlund
Niskanen – Carle
Norstrom – Jones

Garon
Keetley

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