Tuesday, January 23, 2007


All Star Break Etcetera (UPDATE x2!)

I found a bunch of little things here and there that you may be interested in reading and watching, with more now that the All Star Game festivities have ended.

First, the unveiling of the NHL All Star jerseys. From NHL.com, the Reebok EDGE Uniform System will be used in tomorrow's all star game and next season by all 30 teams. It looks like a more streamlined hockey jersey; not unlike what has happened to NFL uniforms over recent years. No, the designs of the jersey is completely up to the team; they just have to use this jersey. A big complaint I found all over Hockey's Future's message boards (the one set of hockey message boards I read on a daily basis) was how "tradition" was being threatened. Guys, a lack of horizontal stripes isn't the end of the world; and even so they can stay. I'm someone who needs more of a tangible reason than simply "tradition" to keep things a certain way. Most importantly, according to this article at Sportsnet, the players seem to like the new design.

Second, guess who's coaching in the Top Prospects (UPDATE: I'm an idiot, I thought it said YoungStars; no wonder I was shocked that he wasn't there.) game? According to this article by Bill Beacon via Yahoo!, it's Mr. Pat Burns! I'm very happy that he is recovering from his second fight with cancer. I'm also intrigued that he isn't ruling out a return to coaching in the NHL. As well as Claude Julien is doing right now, I'd have no problems whatsoever with Pat Burns returning to coach the New Jersey Devils. Sportsnet even has a video interview with Pat Burns on their video page (the A/V Room).

Third, Patrik Elias has a small part of the NHL's latest ad campaign. Someone uploaded the third version of this campaign onto YouTube; where Elias shows off his new home. Heh.

Fourth, Tom Lycan has a nice wrap-up post about the Devils going into the All Star Break. I have nothing to add to what he says, so please go read it.

Fifth and lastly, Jared Ramsden (with help from DJ Powers) at Hockey's Future has a new article reviewing how well the Devils' NCAA prospects are doing so far this season. A lot of these prospects were late round picks, so I must agree with Ramsden's assessment that the Devils may have at least 2 more late-round "gems." If I'm not mistaken, the only guy on that list drafted in the first two rounds is Jeff Frazee and he did very well at the 2007 WJC for the U.S. I wish I had the time and the resources to see more NCAA hockey so I could chime in about some of these guys. Still, I'm excited about Tyler Eckford, Mark Fayne, and T.J. Miller: so much for the Devils being shallow in terms of defensive prospects.

UPDATE: The YoungStars game was a lot of fun for lack of a defense. NHL.com has the official scoresheet from the YoungStars game, wherein the Eastern Conference won 9-8. Zach Parise was named the MVP of the game with 2 goals and 4 assists. Congratulations to Zach Parise for his performance. Patricia at 2 Man Advantage has her own pictoral thoughts about the YoungStars game both here and here. I completely agree with her.

The SuperSkills competition was interesting to say the least. Martin Brodeur was OK in his competitions. Brian Rafalski participated in the hardest shot competition for some reason. I don't recall seeing Rafalski go to the slapshot all that much this season, but he gave it a go and had something like 87 MPH. What's funny is that the Pierre McGuire fan-favorite, Mr. BIG BODY PRESENCE himself Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames' shot was only slightly harder than Rafalski' shot. Whammo, indeed. In any case, the Eastern Conference All Stars won the SuperSkills competition 15-11.

Versus production crew must have had a bad night. Poor camera angles, commentators talking over the action, missing shots of the competition coming back from commercial breaks, and the overall presentation of the events was sloppy. The Railcam was not implemented well, but it was way better than the "target cams" from the shot accuracy competition I've seen enough games on Versus to know they do better, so I'll chalk last night as a bad night.

Lastly before the All Star game, WWE Superstar Edge (a.k.a. Adam Copeland) interviewed Martin Brodeur. As far as interviews go, Edge is pretty good at it; I suggest you read it. Thanks to lucscaps at HFBoards for finding this.

UPDATE THE SECOND: The All Star Game has ended with the Western Conference All Stars defeating the Eastern Conference All Stars by a score of 12 to 9. The official scoresheet and official super stats are from NHL.com, respectively linked.

It was a pretty good game, lots of scoring, poor defense, no hitting, and some nice saves. In other words, an All Star Game. The uniforms looked good, Doc was Doc on the microphone, Marty Turco was entertaining as he could hear the commentating and talk back while playing, and the Rail Cam was effective at the ends of the rink (in the neutral zone, not so much).

Brian Rafalski played 19:17 of the game (Note to NHL.com super stats compilies, if a guy plays 19:17 over 19 shifts, his average time per shift is not 1:00.) finished with a -1 and had 2 assists. Martin Brodeur played the second period and did not do as well. He got ripped to the tune of 6 goals. Brodeur had about 4 ridiculous saves as well, so it's not as if he was a sieve. Plus, he was facing an all star team - it's not the likes of Blair Betts and Marcel Hossa or anything like that.

Speaking of Rafalski, I failed to point out this great overview of Rafalski's career by Rich Chere that I read in yesterday's Star Ledger. It also features a fun and noisy fact about Scott Stevens.

From the Toronto Star, Damian Cox unsurprisingly makes the case for Martin Brodeur has a Hart Trophy contender. I say unsurprisingly as he worked with Brodeur on the biography, Brodeur: Beyond the Crease. When he's not making MVP cases for MVP-worthy goaltenders, he also has an article lambasting some Western Conference teams for a new schedule in today's edition of The Star. I think he's right. Why on earth would Lou Lamoriello agree to higher traveling costs to face the might of the Vancouver Canucks? They aren't going to help fill the arena. Do we even care if the Canucks come to New Jersey? I don't really care, at least. In any case, the NHL Board of Governors aren't changing a thing schedule-wise for next season.

Regardless, the All Star Game was fun, provided a nice break and the NHL will go back to the business of it's regular season tomorrow. The Devils begin a four game road trip against Tampa Bay, Florida, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

Dude, I grew up at the Shore and live in Seattle now. It would be nice to see the Devils in Vancouver once in a while. As it is, I only catch a game when I am home for the holidays..... But the point is well taken about travelling costs..... BUT - don't you want to see someone other than the eastern conf. teams? I get tired of seeing the AL West at Safeco field. I support the home & home schedule.
I wouldn't mind the schedule change, I just think it's not that big of a deal. I was definitely NOT tired of seeing Pittsburgh, the Rangers, the Islanders, and Philadelphia 8 times a year and I won't be this season.
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