Monday, January 30, 2012

Photo Diary: All Star Skills Competition

After waiting for months and months, the All Star weekend was here and All Star Saturday was in full effect at SBP. It was a very snowy night but that didn't stop anyone from coming and having a great time. The arena was really nicely decorated and the front looked spectacular with Alfie, even if it was slightly ruined by a Leaf, a Canuck and a Bruin who we can't seem to beat.  And with that here is your All Star Skills photo diary.

And here's the tickets that everyone was after. I kept hearing that these were going for more than the actual game from ticket brokers. It seems the skills competition was the most popular event of the weekend by far. The tickets themselves are a little boring but still decent enough.

A very cool All Star ice sculpture that was in front of SBP. Tons of people were snapping pics in front of it. Whoever did this did an amazing job. It's probably the nicest ice sculpture I've ever seen.

When I walked into SBP I got a nice little surprise. Alfie and Karlsson were doing an interview for the NHL network with Kevin Weekes and Barry Melrose in the lobby. Man does Barry Melrose ever use a lot of gel to slick his hair back. It look as hard as a puck.

Look what I got. They were handing out head cutouts of most of the players. I managed to snag three Alfie's.

SBP pre skills with the beautiful new scoreboard in all it's glory. What a difference having that makes and it is massive, which is a good thing. There were tons of little touches everywhere in the arena. It was definitely done first class. Kudos.

So after I settled in I decided to do a little All Star shopping to see if there was anything cool kicking around and I came across this. Maybe someone should have let them know that all 3 weren't participating and 1 of them is being hated on for not coming. I found it funny that all 3 of these tees were arranged together though. I ended up just getting a program since I already bought an Alfie All Star jersey the day before.

After doing a little shopping I went back to my seat to sit down and relax for a few and what did I see? A mascot game. Yep every team's mascot playing pickup hockey. It was surprisingly entertaining to watch. I was very impressed how well they could play and skate in those huge mascot costumes.

And the mascot photo after the game at centre ice. Call me cheesy but I actually really like this shot, even if most mascots are pretty creepy in general, especially when you all of them together.

And the players finally come out for warmup and the crowd went wild. They also would boo every time either a Leaf was shown on TV or a Leaf fan was shown. That set the tone for the weekend right there. It looked like there were double the amount of players compared to a normal NHL game warmup for some reason. It was weird to see so many different jerseys all at once.

I still can't believe THIS happened. I was sure he would likely be out of the NHL, but instead he comes back to Ottawa as an All Star goalie. Unbelievable! Literally!

This gives you a better idea of how many players were in such a tight spot. I think it looks pretty cool though. It was interesting to see what player was talking to whom too. Or at least I found it interesting. I may be alone on this one. Even after the recent warmup injuries throughout the league not one player was wearing a helmet.

These two sure would look good playing together on the same line in Ottawa don't you think? A guy can dream can't he. They'd be one, two in scoring if they did I'm sure of it, plus there numbers are reversed. Coincidence? Absolutely.

Of course the Leafers had to make an appearance. They were boo'd all night, so it all worked out in the end. Since they won't make the Stanley Cup Finals any time soon, this is as big as it gets for Toronto fans.

No matter how many times I see this logo I still love it. It is easily my favorite All Star logo of all time. It looked amazing at centre ice waiting for the skills competition to star. Everyone seemed to like it, even Leaf fans.

Some very cool custom video screens they used for the introductions that came from the ceiling featuring the skills competition logo. Everything the NHL did on the weekend was really done.

Here's the full stadium view of the rink with the awesome video set up just before the player introductions.

Here are the Team Chara rookies being introduced featuring Colin Greening from the Sens and Gabriel Landeskog, who grew up a Sens fan. Greening got a very nice hand from the home crowd as you would expect.

And here is what the player intro's looked like with the one and only Jason Spezza. He seemed to have really enjoyed the weekend from everything I saw and read. He embraced it as well as anyone. I loved the video set up behind them. As you can imagine he got a very big ovation.

And here are the full rosters for both Team Alfredsson and Team Chara lined up after the introductions. Did they make a Flying V? The Might Ducks must be proud, wherever they are now.

And here was the opening event, the fastest skater. After several heats, the opening match up of Hagelin vs Greening ended up being the final. Hagelin won by a stride both times, the same amount he jumped the gun and started early in both races, yet no one else but me seemed to notice for some reason. The Ranger took home the point for Team Alfie.

Here's a shot of all the players watching some of the events. Alfie's kids were wondering around all night and in this shot are talking to the Sedin's, learning how be soft and whiny. Just kidding, sort of.

Is that Patrick Kane or Clark Kent? Or is it Dwight Howard? Oh no wait, it's Superman helped out by former Sen Marian Hossa. I appreciate the thought of trying to do something different, but it isn't really different if someone in another sport has done it several times before. With this get up he better deliver something special........

And here is the result of that cape, the winning entry as voted on by the fans. I personally thought Corey Perry's mini stick routine was more creative and fun but Kane's won with 47% of the vote. I managed to get a pretty decent action shot of Kane's winning goal.

Someone in the know had told me that Logan Couture had planned to wear a 67's jersey in the breakaway contest, so I kept an eye on him and caught a pic of him changing while everyone else had no idea and were watching the rest of the players.

And here he is in his retro 67's jersey from just a few years ago. I was torn between thinking this was a nice nod to the town he used to play in and a desperate attempt to get attention to win. I'm still torn. Unfortunately he didn't score with the 67's jersey on either.

Here is Jason Spezza in the accuracy shootout event. He did decently but couldn't compete with Dallas' Jamie Benn who won the event, hitting all 4 targets in 10 seconds.

And here is the Sens Milan Michalek in the skills challenge relay with some fancy stickhandling and skating. Team Alfie took this event after one of the Sedin's killed it in the shooting the puck into mini nets portion.

Awwwwwwkward! It was kind of weird and uncomfortable to watch a commercial at the All Star game, when the guy featured in said commercial is the face of the league and not there because of severe concussion problems, when we also found out that night that he also has a neck injury now too.

Here is Alfie in the hardest shot contest. When I saw he was entered in this I didn't have much hope for the legend. He has a nice one timer shot in games, but I didn't think he was on the level of some of the games best but he didn't disappoint. When does he right?

And BAM!!! Alfie went into the triple digits for the hometown fans cheering him on. Very impressive. He killed Dion Phaneuf, who couldn't make it past 98mph.

And Alfie getting some post shot love from HNIC and Elliotte Friedman. The crowd starting chanting Alfie during the interview. Alfie legitimately looked touch.

Mmmmmm All Star beer. I had to keep hydrated for what was coming up next. The main event of the evening.

And here is the Big Z himself up in the hardest shot competition. If you didn't know, he is a 5 time past winner and holds the record for hardest shot ever at 105.9 mph. Look at the incredible bend on the stick he gets. So what was the result?

WOW! Insane. The crowd went ballistic and was in awe. 

And to the victor goes the spoils. He got a massive ovation and showed the crowd some love in return. It really seemed like the Big Z was happy to be back in Ottawa and that the fans have let the hatred go. It was a Chara love fest for the most part all weekend.

A nice little All Star display in the 2nd floor Sens Store showing all the swag available for purchase. From what I saw people were buying tons of stuff. Everyone wants a souvenir to remember the event with.

And on to the final event of the evening in the elimination shootout. Here's Jason Spezza about to score on the Habs' Carey Price. Only 7 or 8 players managed to score out of 40ish, so the goalies got the better of this event.  Everytime I see Spezza on a breakway against a Habs goalie I think OT winner on Theodore when he Souray'd Souray.

And the winner of the final event was Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning. No real surprise there since he's clearly the league's best goal scorer at the moment. He's being interviewed by Pierre McGuire for NBC here, who I wish would disappear. I've had enough of him and I'm not alone.

And the final score on the scoreboard as Team Alfie beat Team Chara 21-12 due to the elimination shootout dominance. I was kind of surprised that they don't win a trophy or anything. The event was just kind of over out of nowhere. Nevertheless I had a great time and it was fun to see one in person for the first time. Alfie of course getting some love on the screen. I thought this was a really nice shot to end the night with.

So that was the All Star Saturday night festiveness from my point of view. Hope you liked it and get ready for tomorrow when I post the All Star Game photo diary. Be sure to follow me on twitter too @SensTown

Thoughts on the photo diary?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey dude any chance you'd be willing to hook a Sens fan up with one of those Alfie heads? I couldnt get one at either the Skills Comp or the game