All-Star Lame

When I was a kid, I routinely watched the NHL All-Star Game with my dad and my brother. It wasn’t something I looked forward to or anything, but it was mildly entertaining to see the best players in the league playing hockey with and against each other.

I had not planned on watching it this year, but my eight-year-old son decided he wanted to watch it, so I watched with him. My dad and my brother are among the hundreds of millions who don’t get the channel on which the game was televised.

They didn’t miss much.

Goals, lots of them. Some dizzying camera work, a broken microphone. Alex Ovechkin eating potato chips on the bench. But it was enlightening to see the game with my son, something I’m not often able to do, unfortunately.

“How come nobody is hitting anybody?” Well, they just don’t. It’s not “real” hockey.

“Maybe if just one guy would have the courage to hit someone, everyone else would start doing it too.” Yeah, maybe. But don’t hold your breath.

“What’s with the sweaters?” Those aren’t sweaters, son. Those are systems. And if you want one, you’ll have to save up $424. Euphemisms don’t come cheap.

When the goals really started pouring into the nets in the second period, my son observed, “You could be losing by 10 goals and still have time to catch up.” Not so in his youth league, where a 10-goal lead means the end of the game.

When Mike Emrick announced that there had not been a penalty in an All-Star contest since Sandis Ozolinsh’s hooking minor in 2000, the boy literally began laughing out loud. “Seven years???” Well, there was no All-Star Game last year because of the Olympics and none the year before because of the lockout. “Still …”

At one point, we logged on to NHL.com to check the real-time scoring sheet. We wanted to see if any player had actually been credited with a hit. To our amazement, the Western Conference’s Billy Guerin had one. He was the only guy who had one. But when I checked again after the game, the hit had vanished. Not a single player had been credited with a hit; it was a no-hitter. My theory: they checked Guerin’s pockets after the game and the pre-game eggs they gave him were in pristine, unbroken condition. No hit for you!

I told the boy how the new “systems” are supposed to make everyone like nine percent faster. He doesn’t really understand percentages yet, but he was quick to pick up that nobody really has an advantage if everyone is faster (sorry, Derian Hatcher). I told him that with these spiffy new “systems” and bigger nets that some people would like to see introduced, we might someday see most regular season games resembling this one, at least in terms of the final score. He kind of made a face at that.

He had to go to bed after the second period. I recorded the rest of the game for him. This morning at breakfast, I mentioned that the third period was there for his viewing pleasure. He thanked me, asked me what the final score was, and then asked when the next Caps game would be on. 12-9. And the Caps play tomorrow, I said.

“Good. You can delete the third period.”

Done.

We were both happy that Ovie scored, happy that Ovie led all forwards on both teams in ice time, and happy that Ovie was enjoying himself. It was nice that Mike Green got three assists in the YoungStars Game. We both agreed that the updates sent back from Dallas by the Caps’ Nate Ewell that chronicled Ovie and Green’s All-Star experiences were better than the actual game itself. But one of these games every three years is plenty, thank you.

By the way, it was lame that NHL.com lumped Ovie with the pointless and minus-4 Sidney Crosby, with a headline that read “Better Luck Next Year” and a caption that read: “Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin didn’t figure in much of the scoring in Wednesday’s NHL All-Star Game, but the super sophomores had a blast all the same.”

How about this instead:

“Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin didn’t figure in any of the scoring in Wednesday’s NHL All-Star Game and Tuesday’s YoungStars Game, respectively, but the super sophomore and the Russian rookie had a blast all the same.”

Much better, and infinitely more accurate. I’m sure had Sidney managed an assist, there would have been no story in the first place. The story liberally quotes Crosby, but no one bothered to ask Ovie how disappointed he was with his one-goal performance. Hmmm.

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12 Comments on “All-Star Lame”

  1. Nate Says:

    Thanks, Vogs. The “hockey” was certainly not the highlight, but it was nice to see Alex enjoy himself and get some well deserved attention.


  2. And Ovechkin’s visor was awesome. I hope the league lets him wear it during the regular season.

    Capital Fanatic
    http://www.capitalfanatic.com

  3. Betsy Says:

    I still wish Ovie would have laid a solid body check on one of the guys who would have appreciated the effort and the humor of it to liven the sanitized proceedings up.

    If anyone can tell me what Doc Emrick was smoking while calling the action both nights, that would be appreciated. He’s normally spot-on and excellent, but was contributing to the comedy of errors by misidentifying players, which team scored and whatnot. It was as if he was “tossed in” from a Versus buffalo hunting show by the station to sweeten their deal with the NHL.

  4. dumpnchase Says:

    Betsy,
    As I mentioned to someone earlier today, having Doc Emrick call those “games” on that network at those times (midweek, up against State of the Union and the other highly rated network pap that was on at 8 pm ET both nights) was like having Bruce Springsteen sing “Happy Birthday” to the half-dozen five-year olds who showed up at your kid’s birthday party at Chas. E. Cheddar.

  5. Jeroen Says:

    I was a little bummed when I found out that I had to miss the All-Star game because of a combination of my friend’s play (ooh, culture!) and an indoor soccer game I had. However, judging from the myriad of negative reactions I’ve heard today from a vast number of hockey enthousiasts, I’m not feeling so bad anymore.

    I was able to watch the festivities yesterday and was overwhelmingly unimpressed. What’s with the timer for the fastest-skater competition breaking down before it even started? They didn’t test these things before? They didn’t have a backup ready just in case?

    Also, why was half the Skills Competition a shootout rally? It makes sense to me if they do this during the All-Star Break in previous years.. but I’ve seen plenty of the Shootout already, and really don’t need to dedicate an hour of my time solely to a repeat of it :/

    Do you think they’ll take the All-Star break a little more seriously in the future? If it’s more like this, then I would prefer they just keep the regular season going.

  6. sk84fun Says:

    It was terrible from the production/camera angles to the commentary, etc. Yeah for competitive hockey returning tonight.

    By the way, in your pregame write-up and the announcement on the website, Seabrook is being recognized for being named WCHA rookie of the week; how about Andrew Gordon …

    http://wcha.cstv.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/012307aaa.html

  7. Jed Says:

    What was up with the advertisements for the WWE and whatever the hell that thing Chuck Norris was trying to sell during the game? I understand that versus wants to advertise their shows, but I can’t believe that the NHL would allow them to interrupt the game (as much of a game as it was) with that crap. It felt to me that they thought that because I watch hockey I want to watch fighting, not really something a major sport wants to be compared to.

    Also, why didn’t Alew and Sidney have more of a part in the skills competition, that was really all I cared about seeing. I would think that if the NHL is trying to sell these guys as the future they would want to try to showcase their tallent a little more.


  8. I wish I could have watched the CBC feed. Too bad it couldn’t have been on Centre Ice.

  9. energyc450 Says:

    I live near the Canadian border and am able to get the CBC feed. The coverage on both nights was much more entertaining on CBC. Especially in the Young Stars game- They did interviews with guys on the benches while they were playing, and had fun facts about all the guys. VS just had Doc do the play by play… very dull. VS needs to realize the the All Star game isnt really a game- take it a little less serious and have some fun with it. Most of those players have great personalities- use some of it to make your broadcast interesting!

  10. dumpnchase Says:

    The Canadian networks “get it.” I love watching any telecasts from up north. High on quality and content, and low in cheese factor. CBC, TSN, Rogers and even the French (I don’t speak or understand the language) broadcasts on RSN are compelling telecasts, and I will generally watch one of those games before I watch a Fox or other American broadcast. I will say that our local Comcast boys do great work, and I’ll bet they could have outdone Vs. in the All-Star dept.

    I’m with you, Jed. The cross-promotion of the Chuck Norris WCL and the other wrestling guy just added insult to injury. Reminded me of the scene in “This is Spinal Tap” where the band got second billing to a puppet show.

  11. Diehard Caps Fan Says:

    i totally agree with what you said about crosby. it makes absolutely no sense that he should get interviewed and get all the publicity when ovechkin was the one who scored, is the one leading the league in goals and is an all-around much better player. i went to a Caps practice just this last sunday and i can honestly say that watching ovechkin up close you realize that he has talent that no other player in the NHL can even DREAM of having.

  12. Fidel Ramos Says:

    Thanks for sharing!


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