photo: Michelle Reaney, Thunderpeep Designs
by Lisa Ovens
I can accept TSN's production of the Fantasy Draft because it was what I expected it to be. Let's face it: aside from the Winter Classic and HBO's 24/7 four part lead in, every other hockey event comes across as under produced with multiple dashes of awkwardness because it seems the people in that side of the business are deathly afraid to try to do anything new or employ different people than they would normally use. Eespecially the Canadian broadcasters. It'll be the death of them if they don't listen to me! And speaking of that HBO series...we hockey fans have been spoiled by it now. We want everything hockey to look that slick.
The thing is we know many NHL players aren't masters of ceremony. Many are young and are not the most articulate of speakers just yet. In the case of the fantasy draft, TSN might have done more to entertain the players and the audience rather than rely on the players to be the entertainment. My choice might have been to employ a professional, hockey fan comedian to preside over the event and use host James Duthie as the guy who explains what's going on. I probably would have given the Panel a night off, or just have the panel close the show, with a segment analysing the newly created teams. That's just my two cents.
Onto Saturday's Skills Competition...
Racing goalies? Sweet! The scene of Cam Ward and Tim Thomas racing against the clock was a spectacle. Though I did find myself imagining them skating while holding a spoon with an egg, then pairing up to do a bizarre three legged race. But after seeing the Challenge Relay portion of the competition, those kind of kids sports day activities would have fit right in! Following twitter, the best tweet from the hockey peeps I follow came from New York Islanders blog spot reporter, Dee Karl after she saw those tiny, little nets set up for the passing portion of the relay...
"Oh look, its Barbie's hockey net...lol"
What a thrill to see Vancouver Canuck, Daniel Sedin go four for four in the accuracy competition! But the split screen presentation was a little much for this fan, who's been languishing in the depths of the final week of January Blahs, still recovering from the bout with pneumonia earlier this month. I had a hard time keeping up watching two at once. Was it always this way? I can't remember, but I guess they had to save time for the drawn out Ellimination Shootout Challenge.
I'm still not sold on the breakaway challenge mainly because they often don't get the puck past the goalie into the net after showcasing nifty stick n' puck handling. Here's a crazy idea...why not just have them shooting at an empty net.
The All Star Game
Wow...Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin on a line with Alexander Ovechkin! This is the kind of surprise I was talking about! And this line scored the first goal, too!Then it slid into your typical NHL All Star Game for me. That is until the second intermission and Stan Lee began speaking about the Guardian Project. Then my TV was hijacked by an evil, red- eyed anti-hero!
Yes another surprise and I will admit it; I was sucked in and felt a little frightened by the debut of the NHL's new gimmick, the Guardian Project comic book saga... and I kind of liked it. The evil Devan Dark reminded me of a scary few minutes I experienced in the Alien Encounter attraction at Disney World. If you aren't familiar, well, let me tell you, that frightening attraction was featured in an intelligently produced documentary about fear. Disney closed it down in 2003.
Hope the kids, both small and big are dialled into the Guardian Heroes