Tonight was the gimmick to end all gimmicks, this was the real pony show. I know there are those of you who think the Skills Event is completely stupid and contrived, but let’s face it, if you got together a bunch of young hockey players, gave them a lot of alcohol, and just left them to their own devices, you’d probably get about the same result anyway.
I think we can all agree that this is probably not the kind of event that’s tailored to Dennis Wideman’s particular skillset. I’m not sure what kind of competition they could have held that would have been perfect for him, in fact–Best Replacement Mike Green? Grossest Lower Body Injury (Grossest Upper Body Injury of course is currently held by Matt Hendricks).
I won’t call attention to a certain Youtube blooper, but I’m just glad that he chose not to do trick shots. I would hate for him to have to relive traumatic memories. Instead, Wideman was entered in the Hardest Shot and the Challenge Relay portions of the competition, though entering the Hardest Shot competition for Zdeno Chara’s team is kind of like being the other US swimmer in the lane next to Michael Phelps. I have to end the affectionate ribbing by reiterating that I love Dennis Wideman. He’s fourth overall in points for defenseman. He deserves to be where he is, and it was fun to watch the huge smile on his face the whole time.
- Fastest Skater:
Jason ChimeraCarl Hagelin
- Breakaway Challenge:
Alex OvechkinPatrick Kane
- Accuracy Challenge:
Fulton ReedJamie Benn
- Relay Challenge:
DENNIS WIDEMAN!!1!Team Alfredsson
- Elimination Shootout:
Cut Your Hair Ya HippySteven Stamkos
- Hardest Shot: Zdeno Chara. No jokes here. Too afraid.
- Dennis Wideman was second onto the ice. His intro? “He learned his hockey in Ontario and finds himself in his first-ever All-Star Game!” Now there’s a sparkling recommendation.
- I was carefully monitoring the loudest cheers by very scientific metrics–Sens excluded, of course. Now if you’re a real star, you should probably have a lot of people who hate you, but Jarome Iginla is immune to that rule. He ran away with it. There were also a lot of cheers for Shea Weber, because every single team has a crush on his free agency right now.
- Mike Gartner reference! The broadcast team was mentioning that he used to absolutely own the Fastest Skater competition. Also that he was born in Ottawa. Are you sensing a theme?
- Dennis Wideman held up his end in the Challenge Relay, nailing half his one-timer attempts and passing the baton along. Yep. That’s Dennis Wideman all right. In the Hardest Shot competition, he registered a 94.6 and a 95.3.
- The Breakaway Challenge started out pretty awkwardly, with the first four skaters totally screwing up their shots and about half of them taking it way too seriously. Breaking: a lot of hockey players have no sense of showmanship whatsoever. Alex Ovechkin was missed. In fact, the broadcast team called it the “Alex Ovechkin Event” twice, and mentioned him five other times during the event, unprompted.
- Patrick Kane won by putting on prop clothes and skating in like a goofball. Where could he possibly have gotten the inspiration for this? Mostly this event was a nice reminder that there is only one Alex Ovechkin in the entire world. Everyone else is playing for second place.
- Zdeno Chara set a new Hardest Shot record at 108.8 MPH. Somewhere, Ryan Callahan just winced.
Hockey Night in Canada made an unexpectedly brilliant decision by mic’ing up Carey Price for the night, who didn’t seem bothered by this at all and kept the funny, frank commentary coming even while players were actually skating towards him. I know the Habs suck and all, but anyone who makes the ASG more fun to watch gets a weekend pass, so here are the best Priceisms from the night:
- Asked if he was actually going to try to makes saves: “Oh shoot, no! I hope he scores. You’ll never hear me say that again.”
- Price after flopping to stop the puck: “I think I got a concussion on that play!”
- Price on Elliott actually making an NHL save: “What is he doing? You can’t do that!”
- After chatting with the commentators about trying to turn backwards and stop the puck by looking the reflection on the glass, he proceeded to actually…do that–and make the save no less. He’s well on his way to inventing a new event: Trick Goaltending.
- Price on the next players to skate after the goaltender’s heat in the Fastest Skater event: “Now that’s effort right there. You don’t see goalies put in effort like that.” He then pointed out the unfairness of the right turn for one player and was quickly hushed by the broadcast team.
- Coming back to the net for the Elimination Shootout: “My groin is pretty tight. But this is the adversity we gotta deal with.”
It is finally not treason to post Joey the Junior Reporter, as he was at the event in a league-wide capacity instead of just reporting for the Hawks. So please, enjoy the bejeezes out of this clip, and I’ll see you here tomorrow for the silliest and most ridiculous part of the All-Star Weekend–the actual All-Star Game.