I must say, the NHL and Shanahan had me with the new format. Instead of the traditional East vs. West style (West coast is the best coast by the way, don’t need a game to settle that), captains were voted in by the all-stars and they then picked their teams in a fantasy draft. All-stars were still voted in by the fans and there weren’t any big surprises their. Overall, it created a more exciting game and I could tell, especially in the third period when the teams were neck-and-neck, that each team put in a strong effort, almost as if it was a real NHL game! How crazy is that! Also, it was kinda funny to see some people from Toronto angry Kessel was picked last. Oh Toronto..
Eric Staal impressed me with his draft picks. Instead of going with pure talent, he showed his loyalty, drafting both Skinner and Cam Ward and also his brother, Mark. With the impressive cast of players on the table, he didn’t really miss out in the end, but to draft Ward first instead of a good offensive player must improve unity on the Carolina team. Also, doesn’t hurt giving the home crowd an obvious team to cheer for. And not picking his little brother? You just know he’d get an earful from his mom and possibly the whole “I’m not angry, just disappointed” lecture.
CBC aired the game here in Canada and I must say, they did it with style. Aside from their interesting (read:awkward) interview with Dustin Byfuglien before the Supah Skillz event, one of my favourite parts of their broadcast was that they attached microphones to both Eric Staal and Tim Thomas at different points during the game, and were able to essentially interview both of them as they were playing. Staal gave a good show, hootin’ and hollerin’ at his teammates as they moved the puck up and down the ice and also ribbing one of the defenseman from the bench. The screams coming out of almost absolute nowhere made my day. I felt bad for Tim Thomas though, because it felt almost like when I’m pwning noobs in Starcraft and my parents/girlfriend/teacher is trying to get my attention; even if I want to give it I’m still going to be a bit distracted.
On a final note, I want to talk about one moment of the game that got me a bit teary-eyed and warmed my heart. At one point Scott Oake held the mic to Danny Briere’s 10 or 11 year old son who was standing behind the bench and was asking him about the All-Star weekend, how it was, etc. He asked a pretty general question, “what has been your favourite part of the all-star weekend?” to which the kid replied something like getting to spend alot of time and hang out with his dad. While he’s saying this, the camerman cuts to Briere looking back on the bench at his son and smiling. *Sniff*. Later Briere scores and when he’s on the bench he high fives his son. Just made me think about the future and how I hope I can make my children proud. Well, that’s at least 6 or 7 years away, so I’ll just tuck that thought away for now.
All the best,