Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: nhl all-star game
The intent of my trip to Raleigh for coverage of All-Star Weekend was simple: Get a feel for the experience from a professional perspective as well as monitor the pulse of the fans, chat up some players I don’t get to see all that often and also those I see on a regular basis in a different element, do some networking and, as Boss Man Paul continually reminded me to do throughout the weekend, have a little fun.
Looking back, that final component is exactly what I’ll remember most about the adventure and my guess is that most that attended All-Star Weekend – be they fans, players, media, league execs, sponsors or those belonging to some other miscellaneous category – would probably say the same thing.
Raleigh, as many others have opined before me, did a wonderful job as a host. The locals were as excited for the event as they were prepared, welcoming, happy and proud of their city, as well they should be. I’d never spent any significant time in these parts in the past but it will definitely be worth another stop in the future.
This being my first big league event, I had consulted with several people who have experienced something of this nature in the past in the weeks leading up to the trip and, while a few cautioned that an occasion of this magnitude could be slightly intimidating at times, I didn’t find that to be true at all for myself and I’m not sure many other first-timers would say otherwise. The vibe, from the moment I picked up my credentials on Friday morning, was light-hearted. At the same time, the entire operation throughout the weekend was first-class. Kudos to the NHL, the city of Raleigh and the Carolina Hurricanes for pulling everything off in fine fashion.
Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: cam+ward, eric+staal, henrik+lundqvist, jeremy+roenick, marc+staal, nhl+all-star+game, nhl+superskills, patrick+kane, phil+kessel, the+guardian+project, tim+thomas
I’m beginning this short update in the second intermission, with Team Lidstrom leading Team Staal 7-6, in an All-Star game that looks pretty darn similar to every All-Star game I’ve ever seen. Some fans behind me have expressed disappointment at the lack of defense being played and the absence of body checks (no, seriously) but, format change and all, it is still exactly what we thought it’d be. And, though I’ve made my lack of excitement over All-Star games in any sport pretty clear over the last few weeks, being here in Raleigh for this one, taking in the entire experience, has created an appreciation for what the event is all about – celebrating the game, selling the product and rewarding the fans with a showcase of the league’s biggest stars.
The city of Raleigh itself has been fantastic and there is no doubt that these people are big time hockey fans. They were jacked for this weekend and can take pride in knowing that they did a first-class job as a host. Folks have been friendly, welcoming and overly polite. And the infamous Carolina tailgaters today, my new friends at Cole’s Knoll specifically, were as energetic as advertised and just beaming about their team, their city and this weekend’s happenings.
I’ll check in one last time tonight before shutting things down for the weekend, as we trek back to Tampa tomorrow.
I thought I was totally joking when I asked a couple of All-Star goalies how they would feel about a goaltender’s fastest skater competition. But last night’s first overall pick in the NHL’s inaugural All-Star Fantasy Draft, Carolina’s Cam Ward, let the cat out of the bag that tonight, my little joke would indeed become a reality as part of this year’s SuperSkills.
“Rumor is that I’m going to be doing that tonight,” Ward said. “I hope my legs don’t turn to jelly and I don’t bite it into the corner or anything like that.”
“I think I’m going up against Tim Thomas.”
Boston and Carolina fans have since endured some heart palpitations, I’m sure.
Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: cam+ward, eric+staal, henrik+lundqvist, keith+yandle, martin+st.+louis, nhl+all-star+game, p.k.+subban, steven+stamkos, superskills, tim+thomas
The big victory here is that, with some help, I figured out this Twitter widget issue…
Hang out here during tonight’s All-Star fantasy draft to catch my reaction to each pick as it happens (and drop me a line as well with yours!)
Funny… In chatting with several casual hockey fan friends and family of mine about being in Raleigh here for ASG weekend, a mention of “The Draft” as part of the festivities has led to a pause in each case and a question along the lines of, “Wait, what? They’re having the draft at the All-Star game now?”
Of course, they don’t know any better - that it’s juuust a “fantasy” draft for an exhibition game.
We do, but if we didn’t, judging from walking around Fan Fest at the Raleigh Convention Center today, where the draft will be held, this silly little pick ‘em event is being taken pretty seriously.
Granted, Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal aren’t exactly holed up in “war rooms” or anything but the league and its broadcast partners are certainly planning on putting on a first-class show. The set for the draft is aces (and enormous!) and the commentators and analysts from TSN and Versus were intently rehearsing each and every “pick”, with Darren Dreger playing Staal and Matthew Barnaby assuming the role of Lidstrom.
Well, we made it, and in some pretty decent time, as best I can tell.
But I will say this: Nine-and-a-half hours in a car with anyone is trying – and my partner on The Bolts Beat, ESPN 1040’s Mike Corcoran didn’t even do anything wrong. In fact, he did many things right! I mean, have you ever seen anyone eat three, count ‘em, three bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy’s in one sitting??? In fairness, I should counter that with an admittance to crushing about eight double stuffed Oreos once the energy meter started plummeting but, man, was that burger bombing awfully impressive!
We arrived right around 12:30 am and were basically settled in the room by 1:00. I considered a quick pint at what was described as the only place that would still be open right here in the vicinity of our hotel but decided against it in favor of some shuteye.
This afternoon, I will begin the trek to Raleigh, North Carolina, for coverage of this weekend’s All-Star festivities.
I have some feature ideas and interview targets in mind, which I’ll post individually as they come together, but one thing I wanted to put out there for the readers is a journal-type account of the trip, including the near ten-hour journey alongside my partner on The Bolts Beat, ESPN 1040’s Mike Corcoran. (Given our argumentative relationship on the show, if one of us doesn’t finally kill the other at some point between now and Monday, the weekend will be considered a roaring success.)
I’ll recap the ongoing revelry several times throughout each day and post those updates in the KK Hockey section of the site continually but I also thought I’d toss out the invitation to follow along on Twitter, if you aren’t doing so already, as this weekend’s happenings are sure to entertain the masses in rapid fire fashion, even while we’re on the road.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: all-star+draft, all-star+weekend, nhl+all-star+game, skills+competition