Right now I'm sitting up top at the Phil taking in the Superskills and YoungStars competitions. We're almost through it all, having just finished the wildly entertaining YoungStars game. Here are some random thoughts and ideas from what I've seen so far. I'll probably pick one or two of these and focus in on them later in the night at FanHouse.
- The Phil is an absolute maze. There's no other way to describe it. The press elevators are the same two elevators that service four levels of suites on one side of the arena, so they're no use. When you take a staircase, it only goes about one floor before you have to enter the concourse and roam in search of a new staircase that, if you're lucky, will get you to where you want to go.
- I walked past Bryan Murray and Mike Milbury on my way up. I don't know them at all, but they certainly seem like an unlikely couple.
- The initial relay competition was a snoozer. Watching the goalies shoot was the highlight, and that wasn't that great. Maybe it should be it's own competition, though.
- The Atlanta crowd is bruuuutal, as they've rode anyone and everyone so far. That's a slap at them, it means they know their stuff. It's just that I would usually expect this out of New Yorkers. They rode Chris Osgood especially hard during YoungStars, chanting "Osgood, you suck" throughout most of it. It didn't help when he let a few straight shots go through during the shootout.
- They took place at the end of the ice opposite from where I'm sitting, but the Kane breakaways during YS looked like highlight reel goals.
- YS: best event of the night by far. I'd be very surprised if anything tops it. If you want to know how to sell the shootout, this is how. It was basically a glorified shootout, but way more entertaining.
- The shootout was severely lacking in creativitiy. In the NBA, the slam dunk competition awards points for creativity. Something the NHL should look into for next year, perhaps? (EDIT: and it turns out they have judges.... whoops)
- Minor, but pulling Kovalchuk off the fastest skater finals was a joke.
- As I'm typing this, no one is getting juiced by the accurate shot competition.