Blackhawks' Kane Dons Superman Outfit, Steals Show At All-Star Festivities
Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane "stole the show" during Saturday's NHL All-Star SuperSkills Competition when the he "donned a cape and glasses -- a la Clark Kent -- and captured the breakaway challenge," according to Chris Kue of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. In costume, Kane scored a goal "while sliding on his stomach and slipped the puck from his hand to his stick." He later "fired a slap shot that exploded a puck he had cut into four pieces and glued back together." Kane said that he was "inspired" by Magic C Dwight Howard's '08 NBA slam-dunk contest. Kane: "I copied him a little bit, but doing stuff like that gets the fans going. I thought it was a cool event. I'd like to do it if I ever come back again" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/29). In Ottawa, Don Brennan wrote Kane's "Superman routine wasn't as unique as some thought," but it was "magnificent, nonetheless" (OTTAWA SUN, 1/29). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Brian Costello wrote NHL players "really do embrace the skills competition now." Costello: "They're getting it. Entertain the fans with the crafty moves they practise in practice. This is really what all-star weekend is about." Ducks RW Corey Perry "stole the show in the breakaway challenge, getting the loudest cheers from the Ottawa fans," as he "tossed aside his gloves and stick, then pulled out a mini-stick from inside his hockey pants." Perry then skated in "hunched over and deked an accommodating" Blues G Brian Elliott. It was a "nice nod to the All-Star Game's youth hockey theme." Costello noted Canadiens G Carey Price "was having a ton of" fun in the Team Alfredsson net. Facing Islanders C John Tavares, Price "put his glove hand over his eyes, letting fate fly to the wind." Tavares "lost the puck while trying to juggle it and shot wide." Facing another breakaway, Price was "flopping around in the crease like a grounded flounder." He also "jumped up and down waving his arms facing [Flyers C] Sean Couturier, stood backwards in his crease (and still made a save) and did his best Tim Tebow pose" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 1/28). The GLOBE & MAIL's Roy MacGregor noted in such a "remarkable series of fancy failures, the six all-stars chosen to do the 'hot dog' shootouts ... failed so miserably to stickhandle in, deke or score that at one point the crowd started booing." Eventually, however, the "slickest players on each side got some semblance of their acts together." Tavares "scored twice on Price, once lifting a puck, tossing it and 'bunting' it into the net behind Price" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/29).
STILL MEANINGFUL: NHL All-Star Game hosts and participants said that those who "turn a telescope on the NHL all-star game in order to show it’s irrelevant to the players and a bore for the fans are looking through the wrong end." The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts noted the game "still means a great deal to the league, host team and city, fans and even the players from economic, marketing and entertainment standpoints." Sharks coach Todd McLellan believes that the NHL "is succeeding." He said that the fans "love the pregame draft ... and the skills competition, which is held the night before the game." Shoalts noted there was a "large, enthusiastic crowd for last Thursday’s player draft and both the skills competition and the all-star game" had long been sold out (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/28). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro wrote there are "a lot of cool things about the NHL, but the way they pick their All-Star teams has to qualify as one of [the] coolest of the cool" (N.Y. POST, 1/29). ESPN.com's Scott Burnside wrote the All-Star draft is a "terrific addition to the festivities, although there's got to be a way to get the players more enthused." Burnside: "How about fitting more of the players, especially the ones who might likely go later in the proceedings, with microphones" (ESPN.com, 1/29).