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.

35 Responses to Thoughts on Watching the YoungStars/Skills Competition…

  1. Lint07 says:

    my comments:

    you’re right, Zherdev pretty much tried the same thing all game long but I was impressed at the quickness of his hands. Zherdev/Nash could very well be the next Kovalchuk/Heatley combo.

    As for the stick lenght, I saw that too. And I also remember seeing Don Cherry on coach’s corner a while ago showing how long Martin St.Louis’ hockey stick was even though the guys is very small. I myself am “only” 5’10” and I’ve always played with really short hockey sticks. My hockey stick is always a couple of inches shorter than everyone else, even people shorter than me. It just feels more comfortable dekeing with with a short hockey stick but I have to work twice as hard just to be first on the puck because of it though.

    Talking about St.Louis, I knew he was fast but seeing how he almost win the tag-team puck relay even though Shane Doan started at least 5 seconds before him was incredible. I liked his deke as well, he does it often when in breakaway though. I like to do too when I play with friends!

    It was nice to see that Souray won the hardest shot! Everybody here in Montreal knew he had an amazing shot but he just proved it to everyone outthere tonight. I would’ve like to see how hard Chara shot would’ve been though. I was surprised at Kubina’s shot too.

    All-in-all, it was a fun night. I’ll enjoy the game tomorrow, even though nobody seems to care but me…!

    Sorry D-Strate, I’ve added the word “hockey” each time I used the word “stick” just he case you would’ve been tempted to do some “sticks jokes” 😉

  2. trailerparkboys says:

    Coaches get kids to use long sticks to help keep there head up.

    I as well use a short stick. but i grew up watching Wanye Gretzky, who is going to argue with that?

  3. TRaPT1307 says:

    I was dissapointed in the Datsyuk Breakaway.

  4. HabsNick says:

    #1- Sauve is definitely good, i like how he’s still able to move well after going down on his pads, we’ve got another Jose Theodore in the making right there. No wonder the Avs wanted to keep him with the big club.

    #2- Zherdev has really fast hands but he still has quite a ways to go before making an impact, we also have to keep in mind that he came in late in the season. He should get pretty good given a year or two.

    #3- They were pretty much just there to have fun and there wasnt much defense involved in the game plan from the start, besides, tell a guy like Brooks Orpik that he shouldnt hit and what is he gonna do? not much…

    #4- The stick length issue is usually a personal preference thing, i admit it is pretty weird that all of them had long sticks but it’s not like it was a “perfect” stick. In my 14 years of hockey, i’ve nearly always used a stick that was about a feet above the average length and found that it suited my puckhandling/defensive center type of play quite nicely. The few times i’ve used a shorter stick, i’ve found that it drastically improved my shot. I still prefered the longer stick since it suited my style of play better.

    #5- Two statements… GO SOURAY!!!, and… GO WOODEN STICKS! I’ve always hated those composite it-doesnt-seem-like-i’m-holding-anything sticks, i just hate em.

    #6- In my books, if JR can hit 4 targets on 4 shots, he can complain about the refs all he want, especially since he’s right about them. It almost felt like Ray Bourque was back from retirement.

    #7- Rapid Fire was just bad, bad! bring back the old 3 on 0 method, or better yet, a 3 on 1. As for the Breakaway competition, i think it just proved my point that shootouts in regular games wouldnt be very fun. Those were ALL skilled players yet aside from St-Louis great deke and Jagr flashing his quick hands, it was pretty boring. Now imagine having the same thing only with 5 regular players, and remove the novelty aspect from it… bo-oring.

    Pavel Datsyuk should have done *something*… i was sitting there saying “oh yeah, this one is going to be good” and nothing, a dud.

  5. GeniushockeyKID says:

    yeah, even if Luongo watched tape of the move he put on turco i bet he wouldnt have stopped it anyway. he knew it was what we wanted to see…

  6. mattf says:

    5 ‘regular players’? there’s skilled players on every nhl team. don’t give me that bullshit – not saying shootouts should be used, but having games still tied (inconclusive) gives something to be yearned for.

  7. Tweek says:

    you realize its a just for fun game right? Their just trying to show off, there is no need to out this bunch analysis into a stupid young guns game. Raycroft is way better then Sauve, one game dosnt prove anything.

  8. bleedsblueandwhite says:

    Well, personally I didn’t like any of the breakaways in that competition. Hell, the best one I saw all night was the Matt Stajan breakaway in the Young Stars game.

  9. the_expert_44 says:

    aucoin also won the hardest shot

  10. the_expert_44 says:

    they didnt mention that souray had a wooden stick, they were talking about aucoin.

    maybe souray also has a wooden one, i dont know.

  11. wheresthesoda says:

    ofcourse the west was going to dominate the young stars game…why because they dont play the trap like the east. the west was just having fun, no one was backchecking,each shift there was 3 guys forechecking it was great.

    and sauve really impressed me,had some nice saves. i think the best goalies in the league are on the western conference. broduer is overrated, why because he plays on the devils. thats why i like the in the zone and the breakaway events. it really shows how good the goalies are.

    the breakaway event was exactly what i thought. everyone was taking a shot wanting to win. the best players make there move and score, thats martin st. louis and ofcourse, jaromir jagr.

  12. the_expert_44 says:

    the only good goalie in the west this year is aebischer, in the east you have luongo theodore raycroft, belfour, and brodeur.

  13. Primis says:

    I as well use a short stick. but i grew up watching Wanye Gretzky, who is going to argue with that?

    I’ve always used what most would consider a shorter-than-average hockey stick myself. I found out early on that it helped me control the puck better and again, I liked being able to handle things close in to my skates and body and others had trouble with.

    In fact I’d reckon to guess that my stick’s length is similar to Adam Oates’ in terms of being short. Very similar, except for the whole He Has Incredible Hands And I Don’t thing…

    It was something that dawned on me as I said, early on, then I forgot about it, and it’s only been recently that I’ve realized again how short of sticks I use.

    — Primis.

  14. LondonK says:

    The longer stick shouldn’t affect how you control the puck close to your skates, if it does it means you aren’t handling the puck well. I always play with a longer stick (I’m 5’9″) and I find that my control is so much better with the longer stick. I play defense and it just helps me to control the puck in my own zone.

  15. LondonK says:

    Ummm so Turco and Aebischer are better than

    Brodeur, Belfour, Luongo, Theodore? Three of those goalies will most likely be Team Canada. Turco is the only one who has a shot in the West. The East owns the West goaltendingwise.

  16. thomas2984 says:

    Just a little add on – That in the zone thing was absolutely retarded as well…there was no point to it since guys really aren’t allowed to fire the puck at the goalie… the league and the teams are fearful of an injury (as they rightfully should be)…..Anyways, I thought it was boring and should be canned ……

  17. HabsNick says:

    Souray uses a composite, the wooden stick cheer was solely for Aucoin.

    And of course every team has at least one skilled breakaway player, i said 5 regulars as in not 5 all-stars, and to get a shorter sentence than “1 great player and 4 not-so-great players taking breakaways.”

    Frankly, they should keep the current one overtime at 4 on 4, but make it 10 minutes with no clock stop.

  18. aaron says:

    Oh god, it it so much harder to handle the puck with a long stick. It gives you much better reach and it helps defensemen a lot, but for forwards…you can’t get the in tight control, or get at anything in your feet. I just broke a stick and had to quick buy a stick out of the pro shop w/o cutting it down to the length I’m used to, and dear god, you can’t get at anything w/i a 1 and a half foot radius around your feet (it isn’t really overly long either, just about 3-4 inches longer than I’m used to, which is probably a little shorter than I should be using).

    NHL-ers use WAY too long of sticks, AND that leads to way too much clogging up the passing lanes, leading to less handling and more broken up plays. Yeah, it benefits the defensemen, but that’s the objective right now.

  19. mattf says:

    length of the stick shouldn’t really be the issue – gives d a greater advantage for pass interception and defensive zone control

    but the curve of the blade is what makes me cringe sometimes. they showed jagr’s and i was disgusted – no wonder he raises the puck so quickly.. and as an example perreault having a paddle that increases his face off %’age

  20. mattf says:

    why brodeur was said to be ‘overrated’ is beyond me

  21. ranjerkssuck says:

    Holy crap! Is Aucion the most underrated player in the NHL??? He won the hardest shot, not Souray. Aucoin had shots 99 & 102, Souray had 97 & 102. Aucoin was the one using the all-wood stick. Other than that, I agree it was the best Hardest Shot in a while.

    Gotta give props to Roenick for getting 4-for-4 on the Accuracy.

  22. x says:

    Former hardest shot winner Frederick Modin also uses a wooden stick.

  23. defenestrate says:

    You know, the whole time I was reading that, I was gearing up for a whole “stick” thing, replete with metric system references.

    Party pooper.

  24. defenestrate says:

    Nice to hear from Mr. Primis again. Thanks for catching me up, I was at an NLL game Sat. night.

    I saw the highlights, though. How could I not, with Avs players being the MVP of both games? “Don’t hate us because we’re beautiful”.

    I’m glad someone else noticed the “stick length thing” (if Freud were alive…….). In lacrosse, we are pretty stringently regulated regarding this (as well as the size of our “baskets” – there’s a whole ‘nother thing there…but, no..). As a defensemen, I have a longer stick than a forward (genetics – good Nova Scotian genes). But – all defensemen have the same size stick, as do all forwards, etc.

    I believe improper stick length and the subsequent lack of control is a major contributor to the massive upsurge in high-sticking incidents this year.

    Colorado Mammoth – 11; Vancouver Ravens – 10.

    Art imitates life.

  25. commonwealth says:

    Sauve and Raycroft looked the best. I was impressed with the play of both Micheal Ryder and Erik Staal. They both looked sharp, but the goalies stole that funny little pickup game. Lupul did a good job of positioning himself to get the hat trick, but he wasn’t the most impressive player that night.

    I just wonder if Minnesota fans are mad that two Avs players left the allstar break with the MVP trophies. Can’t argue though, Sauve and Sakic both deserved it.


  26. Fuhr4ever says:

    Too bad they didn’t make them go another round to pick one winner. I hate seeing ties in things like the hardest shot competition, would it be that hard to make it 2 more shots each?

  27. leafs123212000 says:

    How could you be impressed with Ryder’s play? Both my brother(a habs fan) and I were extremely disapointed with him.. He looked like he didn’t care at all. Staal was the best along with Suave. I was dissapointed with Stajan as well except for his cool breakaway deke(heavily resembled the St Louis Breakaway deke.

  28. Primis says:

    I miss lacrosse in Detroit. I remember the Turbos with the Gait boys terrorizing the… what was it the MILL or the MLL? I thin it was the MILL. Something like that. The problem was that the Turbos had really bad timing coming into the area — at the time the Detroit Drive were winning 4 AFL championships in 5 years, the Wings were starting to come into their own, the Pistons had been in their Bad Boys prime, and Detroit was trying to start indoor soccer… IIRC the Turbos ended up in either Philly or Buffalo. A shame, lacrosse is a great sport…

    As much as Detrot people will support literally any sports team you can throw at them, there are only so many fans to go to every game I guess…

    — Primis.

  29. Primis says:

    I miss lacrosse in Detroit. I remember the Turbos with the Gait boys terrorizing the… what was it the MILL or the MLL? I thin it was the MILL. Something like that. The problem was that the Turbos had really bad timing coming into the area — at the time the Detroit Drive were winning 4 AFL championships in 5 years, the Wings were starting to come into their own, the Pistons had been in their Bad Boys prime, and Detroit was trying to start indoor soccer… IIRC the Turbos ended up in either Philly or Buffalo. A shame, lacrosse is a great sport…

    As much as Detroit people will support literally any sports team you can throw at them, there are only so many fans to go to every game I guess…

    — Primis.

  30. defenestrate says:

    Yep – it was the MILL. Which is now the NLL. Oddly enough, many of the East Coast teams (Albany Attack, for instance) are migrating West (San Jose Stealth).

    We are fortunate enough to have the Gait boys here. One playing (Gary) and one scouting (Paul).

    And people here are rabid enough to support anything (Colorado Crush, anyone?).

  31. 1cheech4 says:

    Cheechoo with 4 assist! He has some of the best hands. Ehrhoff goal was a ‘bute.

    Zherdev had some nice moves… Lupul look nice – of course he wouldn’t of gotten that ‘trick without Cheechoo.

  32. Primis says:

    Lacrosse is very much a Yooper sport here. And unfortunately we don’t have many Yoopers, and being Yoopers they reside nowhere near Detroit. But lacrosse plays an actual part of Michigan’s history. I think it was up at Fort Mackinaw that some indians prodded soldiers out of the fort and into a game of lacrosse, then during the game the indians pulled weapons out from under their cloaks and slaughtered everyone… ahhhh, history…

    It’s also one of those sports that would be wildly-popular in the US if more people got to watch a game. And I include the big outdoor game in that. When you begin seeing the behind-the-back passing and guys diving through the crease to score goals, you begin to understand why people are such die-hard fans of it.

    — Primis.

  33. devfanman4 says:

    because the devils play “the trap” supposedly and no one else in the entire NHL does.

  34. wing25 says:

    i am from marquette and i have never played a game of lacross in my life.

  35. wing25 says:

    yeah i felt very let down. i think that maybe datsyuk needs to be in pressure situations as in the last 15 seconds of a game to score an awesome goal like that.

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