The Big Story
Tragically, last year’s Breakaway Challenge at the All-Star Game weekend was the last we’ll be seeing for a while. The NHL has apparently nixed the event which, to be honest, needed to happen sooner or later.
From the article:
At its worst, it was a uncomfortable string of “good job, good efforts” as players showed the hitting a puck out of the air with your stick after two 360-spins is slightly harder than, like, dunking a dumb basketball.
At its best, it was … basically the best thing of All-Star Weekend, pre-3-on-3 tournament format.
Alex Ovechkin with the hat and the sunglasses and his former frenemy Evgeni Malkin assisting him. Patrick Kane with the Superman. James Neal with Dierks Bentley. Chewbacca Brent Burns. P.K. Subban with the Jagr wig. Jakub Voracek using Johnny Gaudreau like a mite. Brian Elliott with the selfie. All of it.
Yeah a lot of these were fun, but they were few and far between. Similar to these outdoor games, I think the event wore out its welcome. The shootout sure seemed like a lot of fun back in 2008, but I think most hockey fans will be happy to see the event put to bed. Now if we could only do away with the shootout everywhere else in the sport... Maybe then Canada would have a chance to beat the United States at the World Juniors.
In Red Wings Land
Say it ain’t so! A skilled player is finally given some leeway with his icetime and he starts scoring? Pshhhhhhhh. Who’d a thunk it?
No matter what you attribute this recent tear of Athanasiou’s to, I think we can all agree it’s been pretty fun to see him kicking ass out there alongside Mantha.
From the article:
Athanasiou said he hasn't done anything differently since being benched.
"Just stuck to my game plan and not trying to force anything," he said. "When the play is there, make it and if not just be in the right position."
Blashill credited Athanasiou for single-handedly producing the winning goal.
"It's a big goal kind of out of nothing," Blashill said. "The one thing Double A has is he's got the ability to break people down and score goals on his own. Obviously he took it end to end and scored a goal on his own.
"It's hard to score goals in this league and when you get somebody that can self-create and do it on his own, it's a big thing."
And it’s also pretty nice to hear Jeff Blashill give credit where it’s due. I mean, that game-winner from Saturday night... WOW. There are no words to describe how filthy that entire sequence from AA was. Watch it below thanks to YouTube user Urheilukoosteet.
Reminds me of a certain goal scored by some Datsyuk guy a few years ago. This kid’s good. Scary good.