This year's NHL SuperSkills Competition was not nearly as memorable as Montreal's in 2009, but it was still a fun part of the 2011 All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, N.C.
In case you missed it, I thought I'd recap some noteworthy Icethetics-related elements from the event — you know, logos and uniforms and such. There were errors and shenanigans of course, but what surprised me were the technical mistakes on both Versus and CBC coverage. I kept switching back and forth tonight.
As someone who used to direct live television, I know things can get out of hand and missteps are anything but few and far between when you barely know what's coming next. But I felt like both broadcasts had more than their share of issues, be it incorrect graphics or bad communication between the truck and the ice.
But it wasn't just the broadcast guys that had to battle some hiccups. The night began with your typical player introductions. The player's number, surname and team logo were projected onto a sheet of dry ice they could skate through as their names were called.
It was a cool effect. For everyone but Patrick Sharp. Ouch.
Glen Cuthbert nabbed this shot from his TV screen, clearly showing Sharp's name above a Columbus Blue Jackets logo. I'm sure that didn't panic any Blackhawks fans for no reason. Or maybe Stan Bowman has been busy this weekend.
Interestingly, Sharp is the only Hawks player on Team Staal, which is being coached tomorrow by Chicago bench boss Joel Quenneville. Kane, Toews and Keith are on Team Lidstrom under the direction of Peter Laviolette, the coach of they team they beat for the 2010 Stanley Cup championship.
Anyway, this is a pretty big mistake on a pretty big stage. Sadly, it tells us that whoever was designing the projection graphics is not a hockey fan. I'm sure it was just one of many All-Star elements farmed out by the folks in Raleigh. Shame about that.
The shenanigans continued even after the competition got underway.
At the urging of Dan Boyle, a guy who knows a thing or two about how to please a home crowd, Jeff Skinner gave P.K. Subban the jersey right off his back to wear for the Breakaway Challenge.
Canadiens fans may not have liked it, but the crowd in North Carolina sure did. Subban was met with wild cheers and put on some pretty smooth moves.
The jovial stunt helped Subban win second place with 20% of the fan vote and three points for Team Staal — which obliterated Team Lidstrom, by the way. The final was 33-22, much to my dismay.
This bit isn't really shenanigans, I just thought it was funny. Jamie McBain, the rookie selected to replace Jeff Skinner after he got bumped up to full-on All-Star, started turning into an emo kid's backpack with all the patches he had on his jersey.
All of the rookies at the SuperSkills Competition, save Skinner, wore a Rookie Face-Off patch on their sweaters so we could tell them apart from the real All-Stars. But because McBain was already wearing the All-Star Game patch like all Hurricanes players, it had to be shifted to the other shoulder.
Add to that, he's got the regular shoulder patches on his Canes sweater and there's no room for anything else. Good thing he wasn't a captain or anything.
As I watched the SuperSkills Competition tonight, I really noticed how much of a branding frenzy the All-Star Weekend can be.
Not only did the competition itself have a logo (top), but every one of the six events had its own logo (left). And I do understand the reason behind it all. It's just another opportunity to grab some all-important sponsorship dollars.
But I think we should really count up just how many logos were created specifically for this weekend — and that will never be used again. Doesn't the money spent on designers sort of cancel out all the sponsorship money?
Okay, maybe I'm just being ridiculous.
But seriously, just set aside all the team logos on the ice. Every SuperSkills event had its own logo. The rookies have one. The SuperSkills Competition and Fantasy Draft have logos, not to mention the game itself and all of the different variations along with Fan Fair and all that fun stuff.
Branding the NHL All-Star Weekend is no small task, obviously. But I am curious as to why the SuperSkills logo is blue while everything else is red. Seems odd, but perhaps it has to do with the sponsor, Honda, preferring blue over red?
As you know, the All-Star festivities actually kicked off Friday night with that highly anticipated All-Star Player Fantasy Draft.
Captains Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom made their selections with the help of their alternate captains. Staal of course took teammate Cam Ward first and Lidstrom's first choice was Stamkos, assuring the deadly St. Louis-Stamkos combination for Sunday night.
If you watched, you noticed that players were handed jerseys with their name and numbers already stitched on as soon as they were picked. As confirmed by Bob McKenzie, both blue and white jerseys were prepared for all 36 players and the appropriate jersey was brought out when the player was selected.
The rookies, who came out and picked which team they wanted to join after the 15th round of the draft, stood on stage holding both white and blue jerseys with their names on them. Once the teams were selected, the gave up the other jersey. At the end of the day, it all boiled down to a lot of extra work for the equipment guys. But they get to stand behind the bench at the All-Star Game, so I'm sure they're not complaining.
I think that wraps it all up. Anyone else pick up on anything noteworthy from the last two nights?