Monday, January 26, 2009

Match d'Etoiles - Montreal, Quebec, Canada. . .

J'adore le hockey. C'est magnifique. La presentation de la nuit dernier - tres bien!

And we've now exhausted all the French I can possibly use to describe last night. So with that, we move onto my native tongue, where I ramble more than I do when I try to speak French, obviously. Je suis vraiment desole.

Every once in a while I open a book I own called Hooked on Hockey. It's just a mini little reader, but it's a great little representation of the best hockey players, the best hockey teams, and the game's history. A lot of it is devoted to the Original Six, and as such a successful team, the Canadiens play a big part. And more than once, it mentioned how the Forum in Montreal was hockey.

Well, with all due respect to the fabled and now-departed Forum, you might just want to drop the arena name, make it past and present tense, and say, Montreal is hockey. After last night, I'm not sure many would disagree.

From player introductions in both languages to the in-game introductions of legendary players past, it was impossible to not take in the history of Montreal and it's Canadiens. Like them or not, one has to tip their chapeau to l'histoire de la bleu, blanc, et rouge.

You can tell all the players interviewed truly enjoyed their experience in the city and surrounding the event. And the fans felt that. I know I did. Brilliant show by Montreal. 100 years. All-Star Game. Parfait.

I think Manny Legace set the bar last year with in-game microphone use. Because Marc Savard (although yes, LOVE him), was not as amusing the second time around. And Martin St. Louis, bless him, seemed more interested in the game and obviously did not want to talk during it. Which is fair enough. There seemed to be fewer interviews than last year, but again it's hard. You want the players to enjoy the game obviously. You know, it's funny, I think the perfect time for more interviews yesterday would be, oh, I don't know, say intermission.

Now, I can only speak to the presentation I got on Versus in the States, but I was annoyed with something. Did this take away from my overall enjoyment of the game. No. But it came close.

What do you think the CBC showed during the first intermission? Really. Take a guess. I'm not sure myself but I can bet it wasn't a Versus created segment on the creator of the Special Olympics. I am not commenting on the subject matter in the slightest. But you mean to tell me that Versus could have found nothing, nothing at all hockey related, to show during the middle of a hockey event. Something about the history of the game. A segment on a player in the game. A piece on the city of Montreal. Even stock footage of LAST YEAR'S All-Star Game would have been more appropriate.

Talk about interrupting the flow of the game. If someone had randomly turned on VS looking for hockey and happened to see this, they'd have assumed they'd gotten the day or the channel wrong. It was a small, small part of the overall night, but to me it was inexcusable. The night should be about the sport of hockey, the All-Star game, and the city the game is being played in. That's it.

As for the game itself, it was what it was. A 4-2 lead for the East in the first, turned into an 8-8 tie by the end of the second. The Savard-Ovechkin pairing impressed. Doan continued his scoring prowess. Kovalev proved he still had moves that would make his 21-year-old self proud. And speaking of the youth, Pat Kane finally got a goal, and a rather nice one on the breakaway. Nash scored, well, in Rick Nash fashion. Malkin had a beauty reminiscent of Marek Malik's record setting shootout goal of three and a half years ago. Sheldon Souray made his trip back to Montreal memorable.

And the goalies. Only two need be mentioned for me. One, our own Hank Lundqvist, who, according to the radio this morning, faced around 20 shots, and let in 6. At first I thought he was going to get mad, because the guy is a true competitor, but I saw him smiling a few times. My second and more prominent thought was that he should be more used to playing behind a team that offers no defensive support.


Je suis vraiment desole.

Kudos Hank though, as the radio said you made some tough saves.

BUT, the goalie of the night in downtown Montreal was not home-town favorite of spiritual proportions, Carey Price, but one unorthodox guy who plays on the other side of the long-time rivalry.

Welcome Tim Thomas. You have arrived.


That save on Jarome Iginla in the dying minutes of the game was sick. If you didn't stop at that moment, check the teams, and pinch yourself that it was not a regular season game, but indeed, the All-Star Game, I'm shocked. Cause I sure did.


When all was said and done, it wasn't all said and done. Overtime went way to the shootout, which quickly gave way to the other, other Alex.

Kovalev, that is.

A great night for the "captain" of the east, playing for the hometown team. 2 goals, both beauties, and an assist, plus the game winner in the shootout. I can't argue with him being named MVP, as he is both my grandmother's favorite player ever, and one of my favorites from the Rangers days of last decade. I'm happy to see him happy. He's a man we all like much better when he's happy, that's for sure.

For the record though, and even though it would be for the first time since Mike Richter in 1994, my vote would have been for Thomas. The guy is legit.

Overall though, I enjoyed my All-Star weekend. I LOVED the East uniforms and would seriously consider buying one if I had any use for it. The Super Skills far exceeded last year. The game itself I perhaps enjoyed better last year, but this year's was very good in its own right. And storybook the ending where the hometown sometimes hero gets the game winner by way of shootout.

Tres beau. Tres Bien.

Merci Montreal. Merci.

1 comment:


hi there
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