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Monday, 30 January 2012

2012 NHL All-Star Weekend

Yesterday marked the end of the 2012 All-Star festivities, as Team Chara defeated Team Alfredsson 12-9 in the All-Star game. I have to say, despite not being a fan of this event, it was actually a pretty decent event and I found myself watching EVERY event for the first time in a few years. I was extremely impressed with how well host city Ottawa put on the event, it was fantastic. They even got Drake, one of the biggest Canadian stars to sing at the game. I admit it, I was cheering for Team Chara.

So lets look at the most memorable moments from the entire weekend;
Let's start with the MVP of the 2012 All-Star Game; Daniel Alfredsson, oh wait Alfredsson wasn't MVP? Why the heck not! It was hosted in Ottawa, he is the Ottawa Senators captain, home town favorite, cheered at every event, scored 2 goals, and had the fans chanting his name for the selection of the MVP. But the people who make these decisions, for some stupid reason gave it to someone else. Marian Gaborik was the official MVP from the game, and if this was a regular game, he deserved it. He  recorded a hat trick and added an assist to give him a 4 point game. But this wasn't a regular game and the stats don't count, which is why Alfredsson should have been named MVP. Gaborik's first goal came  4:30 into the first period, that saw him "mock shoot" Rangers teammate Henrik Lundqvist. Gaborik had a fantastic game, and perhaps even saved the game for team Chara, who barely squeaked out a 12-9 win.
At least the fans got the right MVP.

How about the antics of the always lively Scott Hartnell. Considering Hartnell was there to replace Jonathan Toews, he had a pretty great time I'd say. Here's something I didn't know he was doing; for every time Hartnell fell during the All-Star game, he donated $1000 to charity. Hartnell ended up falling 4 times, for a total of $4000. Hartnell definitely had the most fun, chirping everyone in sight, getting a chance to play with the Sedin twins (he still can't tell them apart), became an honouree Sedin triplet, threw a body check, and just flat out had a fantastic time. That's what the All-Star event is all about, yes its supposed to be a fun event for the fans, but it is truly important that the players actually have a good time, or they'll stop coming. Hartnell said he'd love to come again.

So going into the game did anyone expect to see a penalty shot? Well considering there had been a total of 1 in the 58 previous events, I didn't. But in the first period a penalty shot was indeed awarded as Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf hauled down the Lightning's Steven Stamkos. The high scoring highlight reel  Stamkos was awarded only the second penalty shot in All-Star game history. Unfortunately Stamkos was unable to convert on his penalty shot. He came in and pulled off a spin-o-rama, but Red Wings goalie Jimmie Howard did not bite, and stopped Stamkos.

The night prior to the game was the Skills competition, and Carey Price. Now those of you who read regularly know I'm not normally a fan of Carey Price and his antics/attitude but it really seems like he's matured and finally ready for his NHL role. But anyways back on topic, Price was mic'd up during the competition and did not disappoint; guessing players shots, and thinking of new ways to entertain fans. His best move was "Tebowing" in an attempt to stop a breakaway. He even turned around backwards to stop a breakaway, taking the breakaway while skating backwards and making the save while facing the glass. Doing his best to keep the even exciting and unpredictable.

Sticking with the breakaway skill, we'll move on to Corey Perry and his Mini Stick goal! This was fantastic and easily could have been the wining move, if it had not been for "superman" Patrick Kane. Perry skated to the top of the face off circle, abruptly stopped and threw away his stick and gloves and lifted up his jersey in an "excuse me while I whip this out moment." Right there I believe a few eyes opened in surprise as no one new what was coming next, even I was a bit surprised/curious. He then put everyone at ease, by pulling out a mini-goalie stick and skated in to take a shot with the souvenir goalie stick, heck he even scored!

We'll end this blog with one of the two captains breaking a skills event record, that he himself set earlier at another all-star event. Zdeno Chara broke his own record in the hardest shot competition he previously set in 2009 of 105.4 MPH. He shattered that record with a 108.8 MPH blast! I would not want to be in charge of blocking that shot! Even teammate Tyler Seguin said "that right there is why I don't stand in front of the net". Chara originally became the recipient of the hardest shot recognition in 2007 when he hit 100.7 MPH. Who knows will Chara beat his latest record breaking hardest shot in coming years?

All in all it was a pretty decent All-Star weekend, the draft was pretty entertaining, the skills competition had some amusement and what not, and Team Chara won the actual game! Thank you Ottawa for hosting a fantastic all star weekend; We're off to Columbus for the 2013 NHL All-Star game, who knows maybe I'll even hit up the event personally and give you guys a fans perspective from an in person stand point. 

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