Friday, January 27, 2012
There were worse things on TV
Say what you will about NHL All Star Weekend, but the league and its broadcast partners have done a more than respectable job of making the event about something more than 60 minutes of glorified shinny.
The idea of getting back to the game's roots and choosing sides old school was a minor stroke of genius, and represents part of a steady formatic evolution from All Stars versus Stanley Cup champions to East versus West to North America against the World. Even in the absence of the NHL's two most prominent players - Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin - last night's All Star fantasy draft in Ottawa had something for everyone, including just the right amount of hockey hokum, whether it was the yahoos in the live audience booing the Leafs or a social media segment used to showcase the physical attributes and marginal broadcasting skills of Hall of Famer Igor Larionov's daughter, Alyonka. TSN host James Duthie, who got his job on merit, did a terrific job of sustaining the show's momentum and injected just the right amount of humour to keep the event fun without compromising credibility.
Steven Stamkos might have wanted to wash his hair and Scott Hartnell looked like Bernadette Peters on steroids, but there's only so much the producers can control, and overall, the fantasy draft was at least as watchable as most mid-season NHL games.