Sunday, January 30, 2011

Caps' All Stars Do Okay

Team Staal 10, Team Lidstrom 11
Game Summary

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green certainly did not stand out in this All Star game, but they didn't necessarily played badly either.

Ovi had a fluke goal just :50 seconds into the game when a pass deflected off Duncan Keith's stick and trickled past Marc-Andre Fleury. He would add an assist in the second period but would leave the game with a -2.

Ovechkin also had the game's only penalty when he turned the puck over at the offensive blue line. Matt Duchene would end up with a break away and Ovi slid his stick in an attempt to disrupt the Colorado forward. The stick would end up just sliding by and Duchene and Henrik Lundqvist made the save on the original break away and the subsequent penalty shot. No harm, no foul. 

Ovechkin makes history again as it was the first ever penalty shot awarded at an NHL All Star game. 

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Green would have two assists, both in the first period. He played well with his defensive partner Zdeno Chara who also had a pair of assists. It was tough for Green to jump in the play when Chara did his fair share of getting into the offensive breaks.

There were times when both Green and Ovechkin were on the same shift and the pair at times played a great give and go. It didn't end up on any goals besides the first fluke by Ovi. 

The game stayed true to the All Star mantra. Lackluster play with plenty of offense and a defense that plays like they could care less about actually playing the position. Patrick Sharp would take home the MVP honors as he had a goal and two assists all in the first period.

The MVP voting happened through the first period because fans really missed out on a few others who were worthy of the MVP like Nick Lidstrom who finished with a +7, or Shea Weber who had four helpers and a +6, or Loui Eriksson who had 2 goals and assists for 4 points on the night.

The entire weekend was a pretty fun experiment as the NHL is trying to make this game more fun for both fans and players. Here are a few of my pluses and minuses.

PLUS - The Player draft. As weird and awkward as it was, the draft was a unique twist on the game itself. It is only the first time it has happened, and I am sure it can only improve from here on out if the league sticks with it.

minus - The whole guardian project thing. It was lame, as I feared it would be.

PLUS - The entrance players got for the Super Skills competition. With a thin line of smoke over the entrance to the ice the players' name, number and team logo was lit up on the smoke as players skated through it. They then skated past a giant mural of themselves on huge sheets draped from the scoreboard while their highlights played out on the ice surface on either side.

minus - The entrance at the actual game. Boring.

PLUS - The Hurricane fans, they cheered for their team, Team Staal who had all three 'Cane All Stars. They also cheered for Chara's hardest shot, Ovi's shoot out dazzler and Grabner's speedy run in the fastest skater. They showed up garbed in their Hurricane jerseys and made the game somewhat fun to watch.

minus - Sidney Crosby, who didn't even show up for any of the events at All Star weekend. Even though he did not play, it would have been nice to have him there to be a steward of the game.

PLUS - The uniforms. I actually liked them, both for Team Stall and Team Lidstrom. Sometimes the league tries to do too much on the their sweaters, but I liked the simplicity of the sweaters.

minus - The Globe taking a dump on anything different the league tries to do. It's the first time the NHL has done this, give them a break. At the very least they generated interest.

PLUS - Eric Fehr (@EricFehr16) and Karl Alzner's (@karlalzner) tweets from Universal Orlando.

While it was a fun weekend for the league's best, it's back to work for the Capitals. They have to find their offense again as they push for first in the Southeast Division.

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