directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Plenty of work left to do on new skills format

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Plenty of work left to do on new skills format

So what did you all think of the new skills competition format?

For me it was so-so.

The Positives

I think this event has a lot of upside. The players seemed very hesitant and we didn't get that highlight type goal - even though Ovechkin tried his best - I think now that the players have an idea of to expect we'll see some more creative attempts next year.

This is a classic event that has a lot of history and fun. It gets especially interesting when guys start topping that 100 MPH mark like both Chara and Lecalvalier did last night. This is a keeper.

Another classic. It looks easy on TV but believe me its a rare occasion for players to hit 4 of 4 targets -- and this is the best players in the world we are talking about here. Again lots of history here which makes it fun to compare current stars to those of years past.

I thought this event worked much better this year. Last year it was almost embarrassing how the young stars coasted through the game. This year with two 5 minute 3on3 periods there were lots of offense and fans to cheer on the future stars of this game.

The Negatives

This was a new event and I personally thought it was horrible. I knew the intent here but I thought it was very difficult to follow exactly what was going on. Of course the terrible job by Versus in terms of televising this event did not help. The one aspect I'd like to see them retain was the goalies shooting at the empty nets.

Another new event that did not work as well as the old version. A couple of things. One if they are going to make it a time trial then just do individual skaters as the way it was presented it looked like a two man race, the first one across the finish line wins -- that was not the case as it was the best time. Secondly, after seeing this format versus the old format, I think it add more to see the players turning and rounding the net.

Again a new event. To me this was to redundant and confusing to the fans. If your going to have the "Breakaway Challenge" then why have a similar event? Plus we get to see the shootout many times a year, this skills competition should feature events we normally don't get to see.

So while I applaud the NHL for shaking things up, I think there is plenty of improvement left to do here.

I'd can the Elimination Shootout and try a new event or go back to an event like the puck relay or 3 on goalies breakaway. I'd also return to the previous "Fastest Skater" format and either find a better way to broadcast the "Obstacle Course" or again return to a previous event or try something else new. Finally I would certainly encourage the players to reach deep down into their bag of tricks for the "Breakaway Challenge" -- the fans want creativity and something they've never seen before -- not typical deeks and shots.


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