Saturday, January 29, 2011

Islanders All Star Weekends

The All Star break is a mixed bag of tricks for players and fans alike. It can sometimes destroy the momentum a team has built up but it can also be a welcome break for players in need of healing. For hockey fans, it's a four day wasteland of catching up on shows. In other words -- I hate it.

Brendan Shanahan's school-yard draft format change last night was well received. But I still had no interest in watching it. But many people did just to see who would be picked last like the chubby 3rd grader with the glasses during gym class.

Hello Phil Kessel. For his painful ordeal of being humiliated on camera (much like his time with the Leafs), he received a $20,000 charity donation in his name and a new car. Not bad.

However, with the amount of injuries that have sprouted before the weekend, the question and debate has become the timing of the weekend. I was very interested in the idea that was floated on XM's Home Ice with Mike Rossi. What if the All-Star game happened at the BEGINNING of the season, in late September, using all the statistics from the previous season?

Would there be insurance issues? Would players be in better or worse shape than in January? Some may not have contracts or have changed teams, but would that matter in the format of teams based on Captains and not division?

Personally, I'd like to see them try it one year and see how it goes. What a great way to kick off Hockey season while it's still baseball season.

Here's a look at the Islanders All-Star representatives from Michael Grabner to Jason Blake.

This year's All-Star representative from the NY Islanders, Michael Grabner, with Deb Placey and others showing off his keen fashion sense before he shows off his rocket speed. (From the very entertaining Flikrfeed of @NYIslanders.

NY Islander Mark Streit at the 2009 All-Star game takes a little tumble after the shoot-out.

And who can forget Rick DiPietro's visit to the All-Star game when he announced to the world (accidentally, of course) "I blew out my ****ing hip." Ex-PR Director Botta has an interesting story about that one.

Islanders ITV had cameras following both Rick and Jason Blake the year prior in order to give Islander fans a behind the scenes view. The videos posted were not as telling as the conversation I had with then Media Director Josh Bernstein who explained that while the word to describe Jason Blake during the weekend was "aloof" the word to describe Mr. DiPietro was "elusive." I'm pretty sure the word to describe Mark Streit was "charming."

In 2007, it was Jason Blake making his All Star debut as an Islander. If I recall correctly, all Islander fans wanted to see him in the fastest skater competition, but he was not chosen. What I do remember is seeing him carry one of his young children around the ice. For the players involved, the All Star weekend has become a family event.

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