CBC's "Battle of the Blades" debuted last night, and the world is a different place. It didn't reinvent competitive reality television or anything; it's basically just "Dancing With the Stars" on skates and with 100-percent less Tom DeLay.
But, at least for the time being, it's going to be quite difficult to watch a Bob Probert or Tie Domi brawl without visions of this couples skating exhibition ice-dancing into our heads.
Congratulations are certainly in order: They managed to make "The Cutting Edge" look like "Fight Club" by comparison.
Alas, territorial broadcasting issues prevent U.S. fans from viewing clips on the CBC site. But AlphaDob1x of YouTube and Icedogfans.com uploaded the opening round skating exhibitions by Domi and Probert, and we know there are just enough masochists in our audience to warrant sharing them here with you.
Coming up, Tie Domi and Bob Probert as you've never seen them, or probably wanted to see them, before.
The format is simple: Ex-NHL players Probert, Domi, Claude Lemieux(notes), Stephane Richer, Glenn Anderson, Ron Duguay, Craig Simpson and Ken Daneyko are paired up with professional figure skaters in a skating competition for charity.
Here's what the format looks like in the cement hands of Tie Domi:
Around the 3-minute mark, when Domi puts his hands on his hips and does the Mick Jagger chicken strut, we nearly lost it. Our will to live, that is.
As you can see, the judges on the show -- including Dick Button, Kelly Hrudey, some lady who talked about sensual girl curves -- are about as caustic as Paula Abdul in a room full of kittens and Quaaludes.
Now, here's Probert skating; a.k.a. Kristina Lenko looking like she's being accosted by an 8-foot-tall bassist from an E-Street cover band.
The only way the final lift could have been more clunky is if Probert stopped to strap on a weight-lifting harness ...
Here's a recap of the first episode by the Canadian Press. If the Claude Lemieux clip hits YouTube, we'll update it here.
The Globe & Mail reports that this show has been 2-and-a-half years in the making by producers Kevin Albrecht (an agent) and Olympian skater/coach/choreographer Sandra Bezic. From the Globe and Albrecht:
"We also had to give them a class on how-to-grab-a-girl 101. To teach them that if they're in a situation - and they're going down - to grab the girl anywhere. It doesn't matter because they've already been grabbed everywhere before. All the guys were mulling that over when Ken [Daneyko] chimes in, ‘Well, does that work in reverse too?'" In addition to the two regular judges, Bezic and two-time gold medalist Dick Button, the show features weekly guest judges such as Kristi Yamaguchi and Don Cherry, and is hosted by broadcaster Ron MacLean of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and Kurt Browning, four-time figure-skating world champion.
"Every hockey player who watches it might have a smile on their face, but they'll also think, man I don't think I could do that," predicts Albrecht.