Alfie and the fans salute each other at the NHL All-Star game. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
This All-Star game had everything you'd expect from one: Tons of scoring, and no defense. The theme for tonight, besides the obvious and intoxicating adoration for Daniel Alfredsson, was that someone else was going to do all the work if you wanted to score a goal. This was a passing clinic disguised as a hockey game, as the strategy all night was to pass until you found an open net. There also seemed to be an unwritten rule of no slapshots or one-timers as snapshots and wristers dominated the play.
It was obvious that Team Alfie was a Senators-based team as they gave up the first goal in every period, and twice spotted Team Chara three-goal leads before mounting a comeback. Seemed like a regular script was in order, with a Team Alfie comeback on tap for the third period. Those hopes were dashed by a Team Alfie Killer and a Team Alfie Zero (yes, we're giving out zeroes for an All-Star game) -- but we'll get to that.
There were 21 goals scored in the game, 12 for Team Chara and 9 for Team Alfie. I may or may not recap them all--I have pages of notes to go through-- so we may as well get started.
Sens fans are shameless: The biggest cheers of the night for non-Sens players were for the ones who made plugs towards the city: Logan Couture, who had performed a shot in the skills competition wearing an Ottawa 67's jersey, and Claude Giroux, an Ontario native. The last big cheer was for Tim Thomas, which Sens fans a) should know better b) would come to regret.
No points tonight: It's too bad that the skills competition ended last night, because after introductions, Team Chara totally won the cleanup race. Team Alfie's pylons took forever to get cleared. Not good enough for the captain's team.
Alfie chants: In between the library-like atmosphere that normally fills Scotiabank Place, there were eight "Alfie" chants. Most memorable was after his first goal, where the chant was followed by a standing ovation. Not long after, there was another loud chant after his second goal. The fans were loud for Alfie tonight. It was great.
The goals: There's no good way to do this. This is the best way I can think of.
|Who scored the goal||Who did all the work|
|Marian Gaborik||Pavel Datsyuk|
|Evgeni Malkin||Henrik Lunqvist|
|Marian Gaborik||Marian Hossa|
|Jason Spezza||Dan Girardi|
|Henrik Sedin||Scott Hartnell|
|John Tavares||Jason Pominville|
|Marian Gaborik||Marian Hossa|
|Jeoffery Lupul||Phil Kessel|
|Jason Pomiinville||James Neal and Steven Stamkos*|
|Daniel Alfredsson||Daniel Alfredsson|
|Daniel Alfredsson||Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin|
|Patrick Kane||Patrick Kane|
|Phil Kessel||Brian Elliott|
|Milan Michalek||John Tavares|
|Jarome Iginla||Evgeni Malkin|
|Claude Giroux||Scott Hartnell|
|Marian Hossa||Erik Karlsson and Brian Elliott|
|Zedno Chara||Brian Elliott|
|Corey Perry||Jarome Iginla|
|Daniel Sedin||Henrik Sedin|
|Jeoffery Lupul||Tyler Seguin|
Stamkos' penalty shot: We were all surprised when Stamkos used the same move he used last night. I was wondering after the elimination shootout last night if he had another move in the bag if the event had gone another round. Guess not.
The best offensive defenseman in the league: Kris Letang
Letang was dazzling throughout the game. His stickhandling skills were unreal. He repeatedly batted pucks out of the air. He jumped into the play at all the right times. His passes were right on the money all night. He found the open man at will. Every time I thought someone looked like Karlsson out there, it was Letang. This means something.
*John Tavares didn't get the memo: So, in the first period, John Tavares had four shots. No one else on Team Alfie had more than too--they were all passing. Not Tavares. He wasn't interested in finding the open man, he was interested in putting the puck in the back of the net. That's how I knew that it was Stamkos and not Tavares that assisted on the Pominville goal. Interestingly, Tavares only took two shots (one per period) the rest of the game. Maybe something was said during the first intermission?
Weber came to play defense: And that's it. I was also amused that he came out of the first intermission and spent the remainder of the warmup time talking to Ryan Suter. Wonder what they were saying?
Awesome moment: Henrik Sedin WTFs Keith Yandle. Sedin had gotten open for a breakaway pass. Yandle did not hit him cleanly, and the puck jumped Sedin's stick. It was pretty obvious that Yandle just flubbed an easy pass. Instead of retrieving it, Sedin turned around and shook his head and lifted his hands at Yandle. Freaking hilarious.
How to tell 91's apart: Tavares never went behind the net. Stamkos lived there. So, if the pass came from behind the net, it was Stamkos. These are things I think about when watching a game.
- The crowd cheered when Chara had a great dangle in the second. They cheered skill all night long.
- Steven Stamkos had only played 8:52 through two periods. No idea what was up with that. Datsyuk had only played 8:57.
- To the guy who held up the sign that said, "All our Sens are All-Stars": You're a badass.
- At first I thought it was Spezza who had picked Elliott's pocket to set up Giroux's goal , but the more I thought about it, the more I realized Spezza would never be that close to the crease, and it must have been Hartnell.
This guy deserves mention because the atmosphere was crazy with all the media on-hand. There were a ton of different wireless networks to maintain and probably more going on than any team could handle, but this guy took the time to get Peter up and running and was super polite about it when he probably had five other things to do.
On a night where he could have shined, Karlsson seemed to be going through the motions. I get it. It's an All-Star game, and the point is to have fun. It doesn't make Karlsson less special, but the difference in effort level between he and Letang was so noticeable that I felt I had to comment on it.
I hate to do this. You don't even know how much I hate to do it. I love Elliott for the season he's having. He deserves to be at the game, and there's no debating that point. But, uh, Elliott let in some softies tonight. There's no other way to say it. The third period could have been Team Alfredsson's period, but Elliott didn't give his team much to chance to win. The game was hard enough on goalies without them making it harder on themselves.
I hate him. I hate him so, so much.
There's not much to say here. This was Alfredsson's weekend, and he gave the fans who cheered him all weekend plenty of reason to do so. The reasons for Sens fans' adoration of Alfie were on full display tonight, and that made the whole weekend worth it.