by Patrick Hoffman on 02/01/11 at 06:00 PM ET
PH: How was the All-Star Weekend experience as a whole?
JT: Meeting the fans in Carolina was one of the most positive experiences of my tenure at XM. They were polite, knowledgeable, forthcoming and very appreciative of our channel and how much we put into it. 10 out of 10 for the people of Raleigh.
PH: What did you folks think of the All-Star Fantasy draft? What did you like about it? Do you think the league will implement it again next season?
JT: The Fantasy Draft is here to stay and I have to admit it was a lot more fun and interesting than I ever thought it would be. I agree with some of the NHL brass when it comes to the last few picks though. There must be a better way to get to the final picks, maybe alphabetically for the last six players…they’re all forwards anyhow. I hated seeing Phil Kessel sitting there by himself. He’ll get over it, but I think it was unnecessary.
PH: What was the best part of the skills competition?
JT: I thought it was all pretty good, and I liked the shoot-out elimination at the end. It’s like the Ryder Cup – putting all the marbles on a head to head showdown in the final chapter. Staal was too far ahead to be caught by that time, but you could definitely see how it could be a pretty interesting final event. And I thought that Corey Perry was tremendous in the Shoot-Out Challenge.
PH: How did you think the game was in general? Is there anything you would add or take away from it next season?
JT: I loved it, and I mean that sincerely. I don’t want to see guys holding and hitting and fighting and chopping in an All Star Game. We see it every other game in the season, double in the playoffs. I wanted to see the mad skills on display in a safe and open exhibition. I wish they’d shoot more though. That’s the one thing that drives me nuts.
PH: What did you think of the atmosphere throughout the All-Star Weekend? Describe Caniac fans for us.
JT: The atmosphere was tremendous, the city was motivated and electric and the Caniacs themselves are a joy to behold. Long live hockey in Carolina.
PH: Anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers whether it’s about All-Star Weekend, NHL Home Ice or hockey in general?
JT: Just that its full metal jacket to the end for us; trading deadline, final few weeks of the season – the Stanley Cup Playoffs! Get ‘er done and I hope you can join us.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.