I was watching...and not really enjoying...the skills competition last night, when they cut to an interview with Scott Neidermeyer. Scott told us during that interview that the All-Star weekend is, "a nice break in the middle of the season." Um, Scott, you've played 19 whole games. You didn't even start playing until the middle of the season, you need a break already? Maybe you shouldn't have un-retired if you're that worn out by this point.
Toss in Leclaire-gate, and is the point of the All-Star game to showcase the games' current stars, or the stars the NHL thinks should be stars? Neidermeyer getting added after Zubov went down is supposed to be rewarding him for his career as an all-star. OK, then why not take Sergei Fedorov? Mike Modano? Mats Sundin? Rob Blake? I mean, is it this season's all-stars or isn't it?
I understand it's an exhibition, and one that's gotten less entertaining over recent years. It's more of a pond-hockey-embarass-the-goalies type event than a "game." I'm fine with that aspect, but let's at least reward the guys who have survived and excelled the first half of the grind that is the NHL season.
There are two guys getting much needed rest right now rather than hamming it up in Atlanta which they're first half outputs say they should be doing: Brian Rafalski and Pascal Leclaire. Rafalski doesn't really need the rest to propel the Wings into the playoffs, but the days off could help Leclaire push the Jackets into the top 8.
Oh, yeah, the skills competition from last night, I only have one thing to comment on: Artistic merit has zero place in hockey. The rest of the skills comp went downhill from there.