December 19, 2008
Earlier this week, TSN's Darren Dreger broke the news of changes coming to the upcoming NHL All Star Skills Competition next month in Montreal.
Gone, reportedly, are the East vs. West formats of both the Youngstars Game and Skills Competition itself. In their place will be something out of the National Basketball Association's book in regards to the youth on display earlier in the night: Rookies v. Sophomores, and the chance to see the likes of Derick Brassard, Kris Versteeg, Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty, Alex Goligoski and Steve Mason against Milan Lucic, Sergei Kostitsyn, David Krecji, Tobias Enstrom and Kris Letang.
The Skills Competition will now be an individual event with winners of each skill being awarded a crystal trophy. Players will no longer be forced to participate in a certain events for their conference.
Fans will also get to see two shootouts. The first being a single-elimination event against NHL goalies and the second will see the return of the "trick shot" competition, which won't feature NHL goaltenders but possibly those from the Canadian University ranks. Hopefully this year's "trick shot" contest will feature players other than Alexander Ovechkin (who is already confirmed for the event) who perform, you know, actual trick shots instead of most of what we saw in Atlanta last year. No word yet if "celebrities" will be judging the event again and if so, you can bet I'll be holding out hope that Dave Coulier makes an appearance.
The Skills Competition was a nice addition to all-star weekend, but over the last few years things seem to be less exciting as they used to be. Remember Ray Bourque going perfect two years in row in the accuracy shootout? Mike Gartner flying around the rink, winning the Fastest Skater competition three times, including in 1997 when he was 37 years old? Who can forget Al MacInnis and his wood owning the Hardest Shot event seven times?
Has there been one of those types of moments recently? Paul Kariya winning the puck relay event four consecutive years in a row doing anything for you? Shawn Horcoff winning the horribly changed Fastest Skater last year bringing back memories?
Today's pass or fail gauges your feelings on what NHL All-Star Weekend has evolved into:
1. Pass or Fail: The new changes to NHL All-Star Weekend will spice things up.
2. Pass or Fail: You still look forward to NHL All-Star Weekend.