January 29, 2011
RALEIGH, NC -- Now that we've all had some time to digest the first NHL All-Star Weekend Fantasy Draft, we figured it's time to formally find out your thoughts on the experiment.
The fans in the Convention Center dug it. This may be another case for the NHL in which the live experience trumped the televised one, as we heard more than a few of gripes about how it played on TV during last night's live blog.
TSN's coverage had some home runs: The mic'd up players gave us classic moments, like Carey Price(notes) of the Montreal Canadiens thanking the hockey gods he wasn't decapitated by a Shea Weber(notes) slap shot. (Weber later told us he hadn't seen Price's comments, but that the Habs goalie came to him after that Nashville Predators game and said something similar.)
But that coverage also had its problems. Muting the mics at the podium would have left a layer of mystery for the selections, with the captains' debates left for "mic'd up" segments later on. Treating the event like an entry draft worked, but it could have gone farther: How about specifically breaking down what each player brings to the team from a skills competition perspective?
And while we felt he was a whimsical master of ceremonies, James Duthie can be an acquired taste, based on your feedback last night ...
Overall, the Fantasy Draft felt like an NHL Awards Show with the players slightly more engaged and the results slightly less predictable. Like last season's Awards in Las Vegas, a looser (re: inebriated) vibe may have helped the Draft a bit. There were definitely a few players who showed up in the, ahem, proper mindset, and that relaxed the atmosphere.
Was there enough drama for you? The family and Carolina Hurricanes teammate pressures on Eric Staal(notes)? The Sedin split? Jonathan Toews'(notes) plummet down the draft board? Phil Kessel(notes) as Mr. Irrelevant? (Oh, and predictably, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke has protested that there was a last player picked. As we're sure he would have had it been Paul Stastny(notes).)
Whether the Draft was an overall success or failure depends on how this thing comes together in the next two days; but for the Draft itself, we'd like to hear your thoughts:
Pass or Fail: The NHL All-Star Game Fantasy Draft.