Thoughts on Watching the YoungStars/Skills Competition…

Well tonight (Saturday night) was the YoungStars game and the Skills Competition. While a lot of people bash these events as boring, I enjoy watching them because you get a chance to examine players you wouldn’t normally get a chance to see play very much. And as such, you also see things you wouldn’t normally see.

Here are some of my thoughts…

(Note: This is not a recap, this is a collection of thoughts that are probably more-enlightening to someone who watched the events already)…Here are some of my thoughts…

#1). Sauve looked really, really sharp for a guy that hasn’t had a lot of playing time. He easily outperformed Raycroft in the Youngstars game…

#2). Nikolai Zherdev really doesn’t have a lot in his repetoire yet does he? He showed one move all night — 3 or 4 times. It never worked. Very, very raw-looking. Nonetheless he showed some great hands in handling and passing the puck…

#3). I realize it was just a wide-open exhibition-type game but… if you watched the YoungStars game you realize just how hard it is for young defensemen to adjust to NHL level. The young blueliners were making bad decisions everywhere… give em’ another 2 years or so and that isn’t the case…

#4). Final thought on the YoungStars… it was noted on the ESPN telecast here in the US but it’s worth repeating again — these young guys use wayyyy too long of sticks. Seriously, I’m wondering if the league should regulate a sliding chart (based on a player’s height and/or reach or something) to limit stick length for players, and if that wouldn’t open up the game some on its own… they could then get to pucks in their feet easier, and the passing lanes would be just a tad bigger. Really, some of those young guys go way overboard on their stick length and end result is a less-skilled game. Doing something about the sticks maybe be a solution without changing the other fundamental in-game rules that everyone is so leery of changing…

#5). The Hardest Shot Competition was the best I’ve seen in a while. Normally everyone struggles except one random person, but this year the shot speeds were impressive for once. I can remember years where nobody’d break 100mph throughout the entire competition. Wasn’t a problem this year obviously…

#6). Roenick taking the mic during the Skills Competition and apologizing for throwing a water bottle at the official earlier this season was handled in what I felt was a proper way on the ESPN telecast side (can’t speak for anyone else). They specifically mentioned it out of a break, and then didn’t dwell on it. It was a nice gesture, yes, but it didn’t deserve any special treatment or hype or anything. A good balance on it I feel… besides the guy went on to win the Accuracy competition anyways…

#7). The Rapid Fire and Breakaway competitions sucked. The Rapid Fire one had no flow and is set up in a way now so that scoring is nearly-impossible considering how big goalies are (they barely need to move or turn even). And Martin St. Louis’ SICK breakaway move aside, most everyone else just skated on up and shot in their attempts. The league needs to eye these two competitions again and reevaluate how they work, because both were dreadful to watch this time around…

— Primis.