Today feels like those Mondays when the Americans make up a reason to have a holiday. Arbour Day or something. Everyone has gone back to work, the party is over, the hangover is almost a memory for them, but they've got another day off.
The NHL is getting down to the business of winning games or losing hope, making deals and trading guys, pinning hopes and dreams on new faces or giving up on old ones, but the AHL is still in Syracuse, playing for fun.
Last night was the skills competition, and tonight is the game which you can watch online for free. And it was a lot of fun. They set the right tone of competition, quick format, no awkward interviews and in the AHL, when they skate around pylons, they're just orange cones, no specially constructed product placements.
Three Marlies were there! William Nylander, Josh Leivo and T.J. Brennan.
And they started off having fun. Hunter Shinkaruk of the Comets was next to Nylander, and whatever Nylander was saying before he was introduced had him laughing, so no worries on those rivals playing together.
Nylander got things rolling with the puck control relay, and the guy on his team that went out ahead of him, Alan Quine a last minute substitute for a Bridgeport teammate, was so fast, Nylander had all day to win it. He is very obviously a smoother skater than most of the all-stars he was on the ice with.
He did not try to blow out his opponent, Mikko Rantanen, instead he was going for a gentlemanly finish, and he almost reenacted the tortoise and the hare for us all. Rantanen is a big, fast fellow.
Next up was Leivo and Brennan peppering some poor goalie with shots—the AHL ASG does not spare the goalies.
Brennan doing accuracy shooting:
And the grand finale was this amazing scrum of guys rolling in on breakaways one after the other, while the goalie whipped from one post to the other to try to make saves. Eric Comrie is amazing. He let in two goals all night, in all the events combined, and he's in this event as a replacement for Winnipeg's even better goalie prospect.
It was a fun night, and our own Bob McGill very nearly said Kristers Gudlevskis correctly at least twice.
Here's his debut as cameraman, and a wrap on the day with Todd Crocker and Bob McGill. Stick around for some on-ice interviews with the Marlies boys and some stupid puck tricks.
If you want to know who won what, you can read all about it. The fans and the players had fun, that was the important part.