Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why bother?

I watched that skills competition last night, and the above question came to mind. So much of the format seemed either stale or silly, and the presentation of it was -- well, it's not possible to be charitable here -- awful.

These few seconds . . .

. . . were more fun to watch -- in regular-season competition, mind you (and I'm not a fan of the shootout) -- than just about anything offered up last night.

I'm pretty much an "old school" type, but the two days of all-star celebration is the league's chance to really showcase what it is that makes these guys "all-stars." Creativity, competitiveness, showmanship, style, skill. And we get . . . three guys standing around . . . pass-pass-pass . . . pass-pass . . . pass-pass . . . shoot.


I'd sooner see a "trick shot" competition, with one shooter in on the goalie in a penalty shot format, free to do just about anything with stick and puck to try to score a goal, similar to the NBA slam dunk competition (ok, we don't like to make NBA comparisons here, but humor me). The goal must be scored to count for the shooting team, and scored goals must be judged by an elite panel of from the hockey world (former players would seem best here).

This is but one example. I think one could pluck one hockey fan at random from every NHL city and come up with at least as creative a list of events as what we saw, for the most part, last night.

As for the production, one thing illustrated the problem for me as much as anything else. It was at the top of the Young Stars Game, when our plucky commentators pointed out that there would be a "rail-cam" that would show the speed of the game at close to ice level. Well, we were treated to more shots of the rail-cam Amtraking it along its rail than were were to shots from the rail-cam. It had all the look of a production thrown together in the last 48-hours before the events.

One prays that the game fares better tonight. The league could use the help.

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