from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- Toronto is a fabulous hockey market. The all-star game has little to do with hockey and much to do with weak attempts at levity and marketing. If this excites you, maybe you should wonder what about it excites you.
The skills competition on Friday night was very close to dreadful. Either players didn’t care or didn’t try or both, but there’s nothing compelling about paying real money to watch superb professional athletes go through the motions.
In fairness to the NHL, they have worked and re-worked this format and have attempted over the years to improve it. They need to keep up their attempts. The format of this weekend didn’t work.
The temperature, though, was more than fine. People will leave here happy from the parties, the bars, the time spent walking the boardwalks. The hockey part was entirely forgettable.
- Bettman claims the NHL wants to return to the Olympics in 2026. That’s what he says. But he’s clear that the NHL, the International Olympic Committee, the International Ice Hockey Federation, and the local committee in Milan and Cortina have to get together to make it happen. Among the numerous issues facing the NHL right now, is what to do with Russia while the war in Ukraine carries on. Ukraine has called for an overall Olympic boycott if Russian athletes are allowed to participate. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and now Poland are apparently onside with Ukraine. The politics put the NHL and a possible future World Cup in doubt for now and international hockey, which is really the all-star kind of hockey we should care about, remains on hold.
- More than one hockey person I’ve run into this weekend believes Jim Rutherford wants out as president of the Vancouver Canucks. That’s the kind of mess this situation is in. There was a lot of sympathy for Bruce Boudreau when he was unceremoniously dumped as coach. But a prominent league scout told me this: “The Canucks have some players. What they don’t have is a team.” That was on the coach
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