With the 2011-2012 NHL season quickly approaching, the minds behind a few of the best Ottawa Senators Blogs on the interweb have gotten together to answer the five major questions going into this season.
Having taken a look thus far at the future of Daniel Alfredsson and the future of a few others, today we turn our attention to what will be the highlight of the season for Sens fans, the 2012 All-Star Game. This year, Ottawa will be host to the All-Star festivities and will showcase Ottawa to the rest of the league. With that in mind, here is question number three of our Sens blog round table.
With the All-Star festivities being held in Ottawa this year, what are you excited for? What suggestions would you make? Do you have an All-Star weekend tradition?
Here are the thoughts from the best Sens blogs on the net:
I have to admit, I'm not really one for the All-Star Game festivities. (Ducks.) Like finding out that Santa Claus wasn't real, the experience was tarnished for me at a young age when I realized that players don't take the event very seriously. Case in point, Brad Marsh scoring in the 1993 game. Even in recent years, the skills competition just doesn't do it for me anymore. I don't care if Geno is puts a hat and sunglasses on Ovechkin and gives him a squirt of Gatorade. I miss the days that had Al Iafrate's skullett blowing as he skated into the puck during the hardest shot competitions.
If I had to make a suggestion for the game? Hmmm. Maybe start an Ottawa-based campaign to get Dany Heatley voted into the AS Game? That could be interesting...
I'm mostly excited about the chance for league's spotlight to shine on the city of Ottawa. Hockey is absolutely huge in the Nation's Capital and that All Star Weekend will be a great chance to put that passion on display for the rest of the league. Health permitting, I think Sens Captain Daniel Alfredsson will play a huge part in the festivities and could have a chance to be a Team Captain, assuming the league follows the same format. The game itself always takes a lot of heat but to have all the biggest stars in the league in our city for that weekend will be pretty special. Oh ya, and our new scoreboard that had better be in place in time for that weekend!
I'm excited to go, really, and I'll find a way to get there. I'm also excited to see a few of the Sens' top players going, because I'm sure that we'll get at least a couple selected to play in the game. That should be nice. My All-Star Weekend tradition has historically been to go to work, but hopefully that doesn't happen this year.
I'm just excited for the energy the city will have and the buzz SBP will have atmosphere wise. Like many events that only come to your city every 15+ years like the Draft for example, they usually fall below your expectations and I imagine the NHL ASG is in the same boat. I will go and have fun because I've never been to an ASG and it's in my own backyard, but I doubt I will be blown away by the experience.
As far as suggestions go, I'd def bring back the rookie/sophomore game and pull the plug on the legends/old timer's game if it's in the works again. Nothing more boring than watching guys who were the best of the best be slow, grey haired and 50lbs overweight playing horrible hockey. I just don't get that appeal on that event. I do have an interest however in watching the young up and coming stars of the league put on a show for everyone and get a bit of shine.
As for ASG traditions, I don't really have any. It's not a must see event for me, although I usually end up catching some of it just because of the time it's on on a Sunday. It's hard to watch a game that is usually so physical be turned into a game on no contact pond hockey, but there's always a few great plays from each game, so I will hopefully have a good time since I plan on going to the game in person.
I've been a fan of the All-Star game since I was kid, and that makes sense because the game seems to be solely for kids, sponsors and NHL business partners. The All-Star game gets criticised way, way too much. There are hundreds of other meaningful games during the year. What's wrong with a little exhibition shinny one weekend of the year? If I had to make any suggestions to make it better, I would quickly do away with the player draft that saw Phil Kessel singled out by being picked last. I don't agree with Brendan Shanahan that it's all in good fun. The kid was embarrassed, people were embarrassed for him and his critics had more ammunition. If you want to keep the draft, find a way to make sure no one gets picked last. It's completely unnecessary and it overshadowed the whole weekend in my opinion. The breakaway contest was brutal last year because nobody can do anything exciting with the puck that actually works. And lastly, the Senators need to get a new scoreboard in time for the game, if only because this story has grown so big that it's the elephant in the room. It's bizarre that this hasn't been planned well in advance. The Senators sound like they have no idea when they'll have one. That's a strange way to conduct business.
I'm excited to see what the Sens organization can come up with to entertain us. I'm not putting too much stock in their abilities as they have disappointed me on a number of occasions these past few seasons, mainly to do with celebrating (of lack thereof) of major Alfie achievements. But I think last year's edition of the All-Star Game was great and hopefully Ottawa can take away from it the best features and improve on them. I really liked the draft last year and the story lines that can go into it, and the mish-mash of players that end up making up each team. I'm also definitely excited for the Fan Expo that will be going on at the new convention center in Ottawa and see what the hockey world has to offer.
As far as suggestions go, I think the NHL should adopt the style of the NBA All-Star festivities. They make a grand show of everything as they know its just a glorified skills competition. Adding in the glitz and the glamour just makes the show that much better. Here are my two suggestions to spice up the ASG in Ottawa. First, for the break-a-way challenge, make it based on the move they try to pull rather then if the puck goes in the net. This way, players will think of crazy s#%t to do instead of the same moves we have seen the last few years. And then have a panel that will award scores after each shot. The panel would have to be a charismatic bunch of ex-players and NHL personalities like Jeremy Roenick. And you could also give the fans signs that they can use to vote too.
And my second suggestion is to have a host for the event. To be a host, you need to be able to get the crowd excited and be able to joke around with players without going too far. The host would also have to be very knowledgeable about hockey and probably already have a relationship with some of the players. And I know the perfect man for the job - Cabral Richards - aka CABBIE!!! Known from his Score days and Cabbie on the Street pieces, Cabbie now works for TSN doing weekly pieces on a number of things. He also works as a correspondent for the Marilyn Denis Show. If you have every seen any of his pieces, you know his style is awesome and he would be the perfect host for the All-Star festivities.
As far as traditions go, I might start one this year by actually watching the game.
Now that you know our thoughts about the upcoming All-Star Game in Ottawa, let's hear yours.
Next week, the roundtable discusses the next former Ottawa Senators head coach: Paul MacLean.