Sunday, January 30, 2011

If You Missed It, Bad On You

More than any other sport, the National Hockey League's All-Star Weekend is a celebration of fun. The NHL changes up the format of the game often; sometimes it's East vs. West, or North America vs. the World, etc. This year, after the fans picked the All-Stars, two teams were selected to be captains and a good ol' fashioned sandlot-style draft was held to choose up sides. The draft itself was not bad, and today's game should be it's usual fast paced goalfest.

Or maybe not. During last night's Skills Competition, in the final event the goalies proved that they're there to show off a little bit too. Most years, the focus is on the shooters, but last night the goalies did a great job of stopping shots.

And the rest of the show last night was big fun. As a change during the fastest skater event, goalies were included. In full pads. Boston's defensiveman Chara set a new record with a shot clocked at 105.9 mph! Tampa Bay's St. Louis (pronounce it frenchy style: Sain' LooEEEE) proved once again that wiles and experience can overcome the handicap of being Richard Simmons' lookalike.

And even through it all, the real skills shined through. These guys are fast. They're big. They do things like juggle that frozen disk of rubber at the end of a six foot stick while skating on ice. They hit targets with shots and passes at long distance, short distance and at seemingly impossible angles.

And the entire time, each and every one of them was grinning like a kid at the circus.