Saturday, January 28, 2012

Great, Grand and Garbage! The good, great and terrible of this years All Star Skills Competition

Al Iafrate - eat your heart out Cyrus.
As a kid, All Star weekend was something I looked forward to every single year. I was always excited to see guys like Al Iafrate(with a mullet Billy Ray Cyrus would dream about) hammer a slapshot 105.2mph, a record that stood for 16 years, or watching Mike Gartner set the fastest skater record in '96 skating a lap in only 13.386 seconds!! The kind of stuff that made you feel alive as a kid and like less of a man as an adult. From the time I was a kid the All Star weekend experience has evolved quite drastically, there are events I still love to this day, and others that I find myself shaking my head at. Here is a list of what I like to call the Great, Grand and Garbage of this years All Star Skills Comp.

Great - Hardest Shot/Elimination Shootout

Zdeno Chara - the widow-maker.
These two events are fun to watch as a fan. Coming from a guy who plays beer league hockey and has taken a shot off every possible spot on my legs, it is a humbling experience for even the most hard-nosed, tough as nails shot blocker to see a guy like Zdeno Chara nearly put a hole through the net with every shot he takes. Chara for me is the runaway winner of this years competition with Shea Weber coming in second. The Elimination Shootout can be a little slow and mundane at times but there can be some excitement for the fans in it. Even if it happens to be foolish, exciting is exciting when it comes to the fans.

Hardest Shot - Zdeno Chara
Elimination Shootout - Pavel Datsyuk

Grand - Fastest Skater/Shooting Accuracy

The Fastest Skater competition can be an eye opening experience for both fans and fellow players alike. It's one thing to see a 'quick' skater who uses his angles properly and uses different speeds to fool opponents, it's quite another to see a guy get on his horse and fly around the rink all-out. For years the Accuracy competition was dominated by guys like Ray Bourque and Jeremy Roenick and lately there hasn't been anyone who has had the same dominance as those two so the competition is wide open. Not having a clear-cut number 1 guy to beat makes it a really fun event to watch knowing that anyone can come out on top.

Fastest Skater - Keith Yandle(Kessel second, but Yandle has a very smooth powerful stride)
Shooting Accuracy - Daniel Sedin

Garbage - Fastest Goalie?!

I don't think I even need to talk about this. The only thing I care less about than how fast a slow as molasses goalie crawl around the rink is which Kardashian sister decided to pop out a kid this week. I think even the goalies hate this competition, some of them can barely move side to side in their own net let alone skating in a straight line. I wonder what the odds are in Vegas of Jimmy Howard or Jonathan Quick having a heart attack mid-stride?

Really? Who cares?

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