Friday, January 28, 2011

Ten new events to save the all-star skills competition

When it was Phaneuf's turn, the
targets were hung in the rafters.
While the NHL All-Star weekend has its share of critics, you have to give the league credit for being willing to shake things up. With a brand new fantasy team format highlighted by tonight's schoolyard draft, the league is at least trying to improve on an admittedly stale format.

But have they gone far enough? After all, while the draft may be unique that same creativity hasn't extended to the rest of the weekend. The game itself will be standard all-star fare, and even the skills competition will rely largely on old standbys like accuracy shooting and fastest skater races.

It doesn't have to be that way. The league has an opportunity to really embrace change, and they should take advantage by introducing brand new events to Saturday's skills competition that would really connect with the modern NHL audience.

It's not too late. Here are ten suggestions for new events that the league should move quickly to implement in time for tomorrow night's competition.

Respect The Game - As all the others players enthusiastically hoot, holler and high five each other in reaction to the various events, P.K. Subban curls up in the fetal position and tries desperately to avoid cracking a facial expression. Special celebrity judge: Mike Richards.

Fashion Cents - Fans from around the league will attempt to sprint to the gift shop, find their favourite team's jersey, spend their entire paycheque on it, and then actually put it on and wear it for a few seconds before the team announces that it's replacing it with yet another new design.

Lame Duck - Cory Clouston delivers a fiery motivational speech to members of the Ottawa Senators, who compete to see who can go the longest without rolling their eyes and tuning him out completely. (Note to organizers: this event will require a timer that can measure thousandths of a second.)

Staged Outrage - Two enforcers drop the gloves at center ice immediately after a faceoff, at which point every member of the assembled media scrambles to make the exact same overwrought "staged fights must go" argument. Bonus points will be awarded for volume, repetitiveness, and having your entire column filed before all four gloves have even touched the ice.

What Time Is It, Mr. Snow? - Various KHL stars attempt to sneak up and sign the NHL contract lying at center ice, until Garth Snow appears and they all scatter like rats.

Explaining the Unexplainable - Players try to determine why there should be a minor penalty for delaying the game by shooting the puck into the stands, but not for delaying the game by shooting the puck all the way down the rink for icing even though that takes longer. Anyone player who succeeds will move on to a bonus round called "And what's that trapezoid thing behind the net supposed to accomplish, anyway?"

I'm An Insider, Really! -- A selection of anonymous bloggers are given 30 seconds to randomly point to as many players as possible and claim that they're all being traded for each other according to top secret sources. In the second half of the event, exactly none of those trades happen.

Tie Game In The Third Period - Based on an exciting feature of regular season NHL games, two teams of five will work together to turn a close contest into a three-point game by ensuring that they make it to overtime without a goal being scored. Any player who crosses the opponent's blue line with control of the puck will immediately be benched and replaced with someone who'll dump it in and stay in the neutral zone.

Hey, Why Am I Bleeding? - Various finesse players who have never been in an fight before compete to see who can land the most gloved punches on Tim Gleason before having it occur to them that that's probably a really bad idea.

Head Shot Roulette - A randomly selected player is handed the full text of the NHL's rule 48.1 and is given 30 seconds to attempt to figure out which head shots are actually legal and which are not. As he's thinking, another player sneaks up behind him and hits him over the head with a shovel, at which point everyone laughs and uploads the clip the YouTube.


  1. What the heck does that trapezoid do, other than cripple the Devil's old system?

  2. cripple the devils new system too

  3. It cripples some defenders as well

  4. The Devils have a new system?

  5. +1 for calling out the cheap "new jersey" gimmick.

  6. Good stuff as always. Bonus explain the unexplainable: If a player is called for a dive, why is his opponent often called for a trip??

  7. LOL @ the neutral zone trap during the All-Star game.

  8. Shouldn't the I'm An Insider, Really! event actually be called the Bruce Garrioch event instead?

  9. Actually, I am an insider, and I know of many trades which will soon be coming.

    Connolly <-> Iginla

    Phaneuf <-> Kovalchuk

    St. Louis <-> Zetterberg

    Trust me, I am a professional.

  10. [b]What the heck does that trapezoid do, other than cripple the Devil's old system?[/b]

    It ensures that Dominik Hašek takes, like, thirty penalties in every game that he plays for Ottawa...

  11. hahaha, love the Garth Snow shoutout. Go Isles, Party on Garth!

  12. I got one for you. Two simultaneous actually. 20 fast rookies, 4 pugilists. For the rooks, a last man hit contest, for the pugilists, most rookies eliminated.

  13. I think I can explain the shooting-the-puck-into-the-stands rule. Given the NHL's airtight budget, what with all that money tied up in Phoenix and Kovalchuk, they need to penalize teams when they lose a 20 cent puck to fans, where icing doesn't cost the NHL anything. In fact, icing can be sponsored by various companies, so it earns the NHL money.
    Bonus: the trapezoid is supposed to help those who skip college with geometry.
    BTW I want to be on Team Lidstrom.

  14. Kessel looked like a lost puppy sitting all by himself last night, just goes to show how bad the leafs are.

  15. re: p. k. suban... i think that for this years all-star event, every black player invited to the weekend, hell, every black player in the nhl should get one free slap-shot on darren pang without pads n a helmet.. heres your "white way" mofo...

    ~ cheers...

  16. Seriously, the NHL All Star game needs to be mothballed. Next somebody will think Evander Holyfield should be boxing pay per view again................

  17. The trapezoid was added because Brodeur was acting as a 3rd defensemen with his puck handling skills and no team could get a dump and chase going because of him. Being that the NHL hates the Devils, they made a rule. Who wants to bet the trapezoid is taken away once Marty retires?