I was an advocate of the shootout competition to begin with, just because I thought it would be more fun than it turned out.
Think about it: what do you do whenever you have rink time with your friends just to goof around with the puck? You "pull a Michigan" behind the net, point like Owen Nolan, or fling the puck lacrosse style.
So that's what I imagined the skills competition to be like - a bunch of guys having fun. Nothing over the top and no showboating, just a group of the best hockey players in the world joking around, trying to be creative, and giving each other trouble when they miss.
Apparently, the players just didn't get it, aside from St. Louis, Getzlaf and Ovechkin. Maybe they just needed more 12 to 14 year old puck hog amateur hockey players to give them suggestions.
I'm still an advocate of the shootout as long as it's done right, which, given the fact that the NHL is running things, probably not going to happen. But, hey, I can dream.
-First of all, I think if I had a hand held camcorder, I could have provided better coverage than Versus. The only entertaining part of the broadcast was when Doc Emerick and Manny Legace were talking. They need to mike more players, especially during the shot competition. I don't think expletives would be a problem if everyone's just messing around with the puck. But wouldn't it be entertaining to listen to the banter while the competition was on?
-Better celebrity judges! I understand that finding Atlanta people was a priority, but please, couldn't we have found someone more well known than the guy from Friday Night Lights? Hockey players are always dating famous people...why couldn't we have found one of them? Which Russian hockey player is Anna Kournakova currently dating these days? Oh, yeah, and give them microphones, too.
(Side note: Speaking of celebrities, who the bleep are the Jonas Bros? I know I may be out of the loop seeing as how the only two things I watch on TV are hockey and American Gladiators, but still, I've never heard of these guys.)
-Have Gary Bettman stand in front of the net. Possible maximum score of 11 for hitting him in the nuts. You said you'd do anything to make the sport more popular, right Gary?
-Make sure the players understand that you're supposed to do something crazy. I'm not sure Pavel Datsyuk understood that. It just looked like he was trying to score.
Sophomoric humor aside, I still maintain that this event deserves one more chance next year with some minor tweaking, even if Gary Bettman doesn't volunteer his services.