The Ice Wolves get back to it tomorrow, but in the meantime, I'm going to stay out of the SJHL and take a look at the NHL All-Star Weekend.
No NHL games tonight as the All-Stars make their way to Raleigh and other players head home for some well deserved R & R. The weekend's festivities get started tomorrow night with the NHL All-Star Draft.
The Draft is probably the most intriguing thing to me of the entire weekend. It's a great spin on the ASG opposed to the North America/World or East/West formats. I'm thinking Steven Stamkos goes first overall and Staal/Lidstrom conspire to separate the Sedins. There is, however, the matter of the Ice Wolves/Millionaires game going at the same time of the draft. This was a problem till I remembered that with my relatively new HD Box, I have a PVR. That fun little bit of technology that I've never had the privilege of owning will be put through it's first work out so I can watch the draft... commercial free!
Next up, everyone's perennial favourite of the the ASG Weekend, and that's the skills competition on Saturday. Once again, my PVR will show its worth as the Wolves face the Mils in the second of back to back games. The skills competition got a little gong show-ish last time out with the whole Ovechkin hat and sunglasses costume, but it's all in fun. I always love watching the skills competition, even the less flashy events like the accuracy event. It's nice to see the players just enjoying themselves, it's kind of like the home run derby in baseball when you get all the players and their kids chilling out on the field.
Finally, on Sunday, it's the marquee event that nobody seems to care about. I tend to find myself in the minority in groups when I say I love the all-star game. I still find myself at a loss to explain why people dislike it so much. Common arguments... No hitting, it's a nothing game, not enough intensity and the players don't take it seriously...
Of course the players don't take it seriously... it's supposed to be FUN. For some reason, this just doesn't compute with hockey fans (at least Canadian hockey fans, I don't know about the U.S.). I honestly feel like a Who surrounded by Grinches when it comes to the ASG. I know I'm not alone, but there really seems to be a majority of strong dislike for the mid-season classic.
I think I may have diagnosed part of the problem... In this country, hockey isn't bred into us to be fun. I could probably write an entire blog about that, but I don't think I'm qualified to go on that psychological foray. Hockey is serious business, so when things come along like the All-Star Game and to a lesser extent, the Heritage/Winter Classic, it just doesn't fly. Yes the All-Star Game is a big game of shinny... get over it! Once you do that, enjoy it for the gong-show that it is. All-Star games aren't supposed to be serious or intense, it's just supposed to be fun.
So invite some friends over on Sunday, pull out some beverages and just enjoy a game with nothing riding on it, aside from future GM jobs for Lidstrom and Staal.
If you love the All-Star game, let me know in the comments so I don't feel so lonely any more!
P.S. - I want to start a motion that could make some ASG/Outdoor game naysayers either happy or have seizures. Make the All-Star Game the yearly Outdoor game! The obvious problem with this, however, is teams like Dallas and Carolina don't get to have the All-Star game.