As another NHL All-Star Weekend comes to an end, NHL fans are given a pair of days to reflect upon the festivities before the regular season returns with eleven games this Tuesday.
Although the weekend gave us a number of wonderful memories (Chara's hardest shot—ever, All-Star game shootout, Ovechkin and Malkin starting their own fashion trends), it also lacked on a number of events that, with just a little tweaking, could make it the marque event it should be.
There's open ice, and then there's open ice. The three-on-three setup for the YoungStars game makes for a lot of skating, but little cohesion.
While it is understandable that the NHL doesn't want to open itself up to a year where there aren't enough "Young Stars" to make your heart leap for joy, unless we're going to have these kids play out on a pond with a garbage can for a goal, let's showcase these players in a more true-to-form way by having them go four-a-side.
It will showcase more young players and allow for more of a game than watching odd-man rushes back and forth all game long.
Ok, maybe not like the one above, but last year's obstacle course actually focused on skills needed in the NHL—saucer passes, stick handling, one-timers, and goaltenders shooting on an empty net from the length of the ice was a terrific event.
It showcased individual talents in a team-based activity and was a lot of fun. The only problem was that the camera angles for it did not play well for TV (which may explain why it was jettisoned this year).
Fix the camera angles and you have a fun and challenging competition.
There's no need to have people text in who they think should win. Nor do we need a bewildered Dominique Wilkins voting on a sport he knows nothing about. Like every battle of the bands since 1950, let it be solely decided by fan applause.
Say it ain't so, Jason Maggio.
Jason was the goalie used as target practice by the NHL All-Stars in the "Breakaway Challenge." This is the NHL answer to the "Slam Dunk" competition of the NBA. Save for one thing—the human element.
Can you imagine Michael Jordan jumping from the foul line to dunk, with another NBA player ready to block it or get dunked on? Now imagine Jordan is dunking on some random player from one of the European leagues.
That's who Jason Maggio was—some nameless face going against All-Stars so that they could create the most ridiculous setups to score. If the stationary targets used in the Accuracy Competition are good enough for that, why not the Breakaway Challenge?
It is great to show off stick-handling, originality, and shooting prowess, but let's not do it at the expense of some other player.
This is Mike Komisarek—a gritty defenseman who you do not want to meet in a dark alley or in the slot. Well, his slot.
As for the other end of the ice, he has one goal so far this season—which is down from his career high of four last year. I don't mind a defensive defenseman playing in the All-Star Fame, but at least bring something more to the table than playing for the hometown fans.
Just like with our banks, we need more oversight with our All-Star Fame. If not, some hacker is going to take down NHL.com and our top two vote- getters will be Phil McCracken and Kim Bauer.