Yes, those eyes are following you. Don't try to fight it; you can't escape.
The NHL proved this weekend that bringing Brendan Shanahan on board to advise them on ways to improve the product and make it better for fans was a very good idea, as the new All-Star format made for an incredibly entertaining weekend. Perhaps it was the competition with the fine fellows at The Production Line and the money we raised for the H2H2 charity drive on the way, but I feel incredibly good about the direction this entire thing took. Even better, Team Lidstrom won the game. After losing the skills competition, they were able to rally from an early 4-0 deficit and hold on to a late lead to take it 11-10.
Ultimately, Patrick Sharp was the game's MVP for a very strong first half, but Lidstrom managed the game's highest plus/minus with an official +7 despite being one of two players on the entire team not to register a shot on goal. He might now have shared in more than one of Shea Weber's four assists, but his presence on the ice was unquestionably good in a game where defense was not a priority.
But let's get straight into it. There were a lot of goals and assists, pluses and minuses to give out and we've got our work cut out for us if we're going to do the CSSI on this one.
Follow me after the jump for the analysis.Hahahaha! No, really. I'm not doing a CSSI analysis on this game. Do I look insane?
There are a few notes though:
- Byfuglien, Keith, Burns, and Yandle were the other defensemen on Lidstrom's squad and they were all minus players. In fact, for the entire game and for both sides, only Lidstrom (+7), Weber (+6), and Chara (+1) were in the positive. Dan Boyle managed an even rating, but everybody else was negative. Now I'm not saying this is indicative of defensive ability, because it was the freaking all-star game, but it's interesting to note that the best plus-rated defensemen in the all-star game are also the best defensively among all the all-stars.
- Patrick Sharp's MVP win and Alex Ovechkin's win in the Skills Competition Breakaway Challenge are further proof that fan voting is a flawed process. Ovie's breakaway shots were entertaining, but in no way matched the "wow" factor of the moves my Eriksson, Kopitar, and [shudder] Corey Perry. Sharp played very well in the first half of the game, but Weber had four assist and was a +6.
- Team Staal might have cost themselves a few goals by constantly trying to feed the puck to captain Eric Staal to score in front of the hometown crowd: Same goes for Jeff Skinner's chances. Staal did wind up with two goals, but they missed a lot of good chances going for passes. In the end, who cares though?
- The Guardian Project: I don't think anybody changed their already-made-up mind about whether it was a good thing or a bad thing after seeing it. I personally didn't like it, but I'm not the target audience and don't begrudge anybody with poor enough taste to actually have dug it.
- I'm a little disappointed that the Sedins didn't drop gloves at one point and start a laughing slap fight. That would have made my weekend even better.
There you have it folks - the end of a great weekend. I don't know about you, but I can't wait for real hockey to start back up.