Last night's skills competition wasn't the most exciting that I have ever seen, but it was pretty entertaining. Eric Staal certainly didn't embarrass himself as he went 4 for 6 in the shot accuracy competition and hit the post on his shootout attempt. The Versus coverage was rather annoying the whole night as they kept doing interviews, showing replays, and leaving the action while it was in progress. I'm still confused how Brian Campbell made it to the finals in the speed skating when he looked like the slowest skater out there.
Manny Legace and Rick DiPietro did fine jobs with commentary while being "miked" up throughout the night. Both guys are very personable and were perfect choices. Manny's best quote- "Should I let Kovalchuk score since he is the home town boy?" Rick's best- "I was a forward until my parents dropped me on my head, then I switched to goalie".
The NHL might really have something with the shootout/slamdunk competition at the end, but there is plenty of room for improvement. First of all, the goalie is not needed. Since they seem to want to copy the NBA, that league doesn't play defense during the slamdunk competition, do they? Also, have some judges with some personality and have them making comments during and after the shot attempts. Get some characters as judges like Don Cherry, Jeremy Roenick, and Ray Whitney. Then you would have an entertaining event!
All-Star activities continue today and the game starts tonight at 6.
Speaking of the All-Star festivities, the Hurricanes have a blogger, (Paul Branecky) covering the events. He's doing an excellent job and has posted a ton of information. If you missed the skills competition, he seems to have video of it up here as well. Click (All-Star Blog), to access the site.
I have also stumbled across a couple of other Hurricanes related sites which are new to me and this blog. First of all, the Canes created a site called Carolina Hurricanes Care which is meant as a resource for hockey families who are into youth and amateur hockey. Related to this site is a new blog feature called "Canes Stories Blog" which has stories from various players about how they got into hockey and what some of their experiences were as youths. So far they have insights from Tim Gleason, Chad LaRose, Mike Commodore, and Cam Ward. Great stuff! These links have been added to the permanent link database on the left sidebar.
The following new blog site isn't funded by the Hurricanes organization, but is another commercial effort put out by Nike/Bauer. The name of the blog is the "Staal Blog" and is about all of the Staal brothers, (but has been primarily about Eric so far). The blog looks pretty good and I have also added it to the blogroll on the left.
Finally, Jim Rutherford must be getting bombarded in Atlanta by the Canadian media about the possibility of being Toronto's general manager. Here's a link to new a story that I recently noticed from this weekend, probably the first of many that will be posted. In this interview, JR claims not to have an escape clause in his contract with Carolina so that he can coach the Leafs.
Come on CBC Sports, this is old news! Peter Karmanos has already stated a long time ago that he would release Rutherford from his contract and would not stand in his GM's way if he wanted to move back up north. An official "escape clause" is not needed.
Get used to this Mr. Rutherford. If you take that job up in Toronto, the media will be like this every single day!