Welcome to your All-Star Skills Competition Recap! In my usual style, I’ll be pseudo live-blogging my reactions while watching the NHL painfully fail to market it’s stars for the umpteenth straight year. Let’s get started
- My lord, what a terrible intro song to the broadcast.
- In typical fashion, I’ve done zero research about who is on the All-Star team and the events. Let’s roll.
- I’m pretty impressed that they got Snoop Dogg! I wonder how much they’re paying him to introduce the players.
- This introduction has been 95% players awkwardly ambling to the blueline and 5% me going ‘huh, I didn’t know that player was balding’.
- Either the crowd isn’t mic’d up at all, or they’re basically dead. Matthews gets the loudest reception of the Atlantic All-Stars. Which is to say, I heard a reaction.
- Wayne Simmonds also gets a loud reception too. As does PK Subban. Meanwhile, all the Kings rivals get booed, as you’d expect.
- All the Blackhawks are booed too. I guess the fans thought Malkin should’ve made it too.
Skills Challenge Relay
- This is the one with the one-timers, passing, skating, and stick-handling. The gimmick this year is that it ends with the goalies trying to score from their goal line.
- The Central division kicks us off with a score of 1:44. Hilariously, Ryan Suter couldn’t hit the net with a one-timer, leading to the Central timing out on the one-timer section of the relay.
- PK Subban hops on the mic, and immediately livens up the broadcast by 500%.
- The Pacific does even worse somehow.
- Subban spends a good 30 seconds talking about how hot Auston Matthews is. We all agree, PK.
- Matthews struggles on the puck-handling, but Price rescues it for the Atlantic, and they record a 1:39.
- The Metro unsurprisingly takes this event, with a 1:21 time.
The Four Line Challenge
- This is the new challenge. Basically, the players have to take shots from each line and hit the corners. The scoring system was boring, so I stopped listening.
- So far, players are finding it very hard to hit the corner from either line.
- Wow, Brent Burns is insane. He snipes the top corner from the red line.
- Ryan Kesler gets his kid (I assume) to take a shot. He doesn’t hit the net, but he hits the discarded targets off to the side, which is more impressive, IMO.
- This event blows.
- Mike Smith somehow hits the five hole from his goal line. That was impressive. Wasn’t worth sitting through 25 terrible shots to get here, but still. Very impressive.
- The CBC crew is legitimately trying to analyze these events. Why.
- First up is Okposo v. Tavares.
- Oksposo wins, as Tavares gets off to a very slow start.
- McDavid vs Laine is next. Laine struggles a little bit, and ends up with a 21.82 second score. McDavid does predictably well.
- Now the main event (for us): Matthews v. Crosby
- Matthews goes 4/5 and has the best time so far, with a 12.80 second score.
- Incredibly, Crosby also goes 4/5, but finishes in under 11 seconds.
- Finishing up with Carter vs. Kane.
- Carter wins. I’ve always found this event sort of anticlimactic unless someone just runs train on it like Crosby and Matthews did.
- This is always fun. My money’s on McDavid.
- First up, we’ll have Kucherov against Cam Atkinson. Kucherov ekes it out by a hair.
- Kucherov had a bit of a slow start too. Really brought it back on the home stretch.
- Laine v. Horvat is next. Laine was winning the entire way, but Horvat poked his stick ahead a little earlier. It should definitely be measured by body, not stick.
- Oh, it is. They decide to go with the body, not the stick, so Laine wins.
- Simmonds v. Trochek now... Trochek wins it after a beautiful final turn.
- Now the big show: McDavid and Mackinnon.... and McDavid destroys him. To be fair, MacKinnon had a terrible start, but wow. Ridiculous speed.
- Now McDavid gets the chance to break the record set last year by Dylan Larkin.
- His speed is breathtaking. I don’t know how he does. He’s a freak of nature. Just totally unbelievable... but he doesn’t beat Larkin’s record. Gets a 13.3, which is 0.2 second slower than Larkin’s time.
- How many more events are there?
- (Googles) Ok.. just the hardest shot and shootout challenge now. I was worried I would run out of beer.
- This is really hard to recap without just listing the results, because the events themselves are so monotonous.
- Carey Price is so devoid of personality... my goodness. He says nothing interesting. Also, his mom’s lasagna recipe doesn’t seem that good.
- The commentators are struggling to get him to say anything beyond two words.
- By the way, Laine is the leader so far. He’s at 101.7 MPH... great shot. He and Burns are the only ones to crack 100 MPH from what I can tell. Now we head to the East shooters, where Weber is the prohibitive favourite.
- Weber blasts one at 102.8 MPH. He’s the leader, and really, no one is going to challenge him.
- So apparently, the two best teams (Atlantic and Pacific) compete against each other in a shootout, for the right to choose their opponent tomorrow in the All-Star game.
- Apparently, the best way to end off tonight was with the most universally reviled part of the game today. Very NHL.
- I barely recap shootouts when there are actual NHL points on the line. No way I’m writing this down in any detail.
- There’s a delay in starting. The only interesting discovery in this time is that Taylor Hall hates New Jersey. Poor guy... he got traded to the only place that isn’t an upgrade from Edmonton.
- The highlight of this is Ryan Kesler’s kid, again. He goes five-hole on Carey Price and celebrates adorably. With how much the Leafs struggle against him, maybe we should give Baby Kesler a call.
- Honestly, Kesler’s kid is a better skater than me, and has an adorable interview with Scott Oake afterwards.
- This shootout is worse than watching the Leafs in a shootout. Crosby scores and makes it look easy, by the way.
- To liven it up, Brent Burns pulls the Marek Malik, but it goes off the bar.
- Matthews doesn’t score, obviously. The Leafs need a shootout specialist.
- By the way, the Atlantic wins and gets to choose who they play against. They choose to play the Metro.
And that concludes a ... very mundane set of events! Tune in tomorrow for the All-Star game, or on Tuesday if you want some real hockey.