Well, here it is, perhaps the most challenging hockey engagement of the year to try to diarize – that’s right: All-Star Saturday! We’re staring down the barrel of the Young Stars game and the SuperSkills, two events that could be completely awesome, but are seriously undermined by the fact that there is a dearth of hot players on this year’s All-Star rosters. Oh, right, did we mention that when it comes to the SuperSkills we make like the event itself and toss all actual sense of “hockey” out the door? Yeah, we’ll be unabashed fangirls for this evening, and it should be stated for the record, we’re depressed fangirls because the pickings are slim. Thanks, ugly NHLers, for being the All-Stars this year.
– Our intro is uninspiring. Ovechkin? Lecavalier? Chara? Iginla? Nash? Lidstrom? These guys are not hott! (Pookie insists that Nash is highlighted as a player on the EC team, “because I refuse to believe that Columbus is in the west.”)
– Doc and Eddie lead things off by talking about their favorite events. Doc says fastest skater, and Eddie says “the target shooting”. We are in agreement that accuracy shooting is the sexiest event (Pookie: “You heard it here first.”) and hardest shot is the least sexy.
– We go to Chris in the dressing room with Lidstrom. Pookie, keeping a running tally: “Not hot. Oh! Getzi!” Getzi is, indeed visible in the background, pulling on his sweater and rocking his rapidly-expanding bald spot. We are strangely very attracted to the bald spot. VS then kicks us to the EC dressing room where we are interviewing the decidedly not-hot Ovechkin. However, the Getzi Of The East, Jason “Yayson” Spezza, is in the background in his stupid crushed-velvet camo underarmour shirt, looking flummoxed by the arrangement of the equipment in his stall. Okay, so that’s a look at two of the three IPB Official All-Star Hotties (Clarkson being the third). Has VS blown its wad here, or is this a sign of things to come?
– Fin, the Vancouver mascot, seems to be a one-trick pony. We see a shot of him doing his “putting his teeth around some kid’s head” thing. Seriously, Fin, does that still work where you come from? Because it’s really been done to death here.
– It’s official introduction time. We decide, since it’s like a hottie-less desert here, that Duncan Keith is kind of cute. But don’t quote us on that.
– Corey Perry makes Pookie recoil and hiss like a vampire confronted by sunlight.
– We had no idea Kopitar pronounced his name “Ahhhntsy”.
– All together now: “Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaason Arnott.”
– We’d like to go on record saying that while we think Rick Nash is adorable, we do not think he’s cute.
– The Kings mascot is visible behind the WC coaches on the bench, and Boomer asks, “Is that the Flames mascot?” We chastise her, “The Flames mascot is Harvey the Hound.” “That’s right,” she says. “I meant to ask if he was the Thrashers mascot. Because it made no sense to me that they’d have a lion.” No, it really doesn’t.
– As Gomez is introduced, Pookie snarls, “You can just see the slag-faced whorishness in his eyes there.”
– We get through the rest of the introductions without another surprise hottie. Really, Duncan Keith was the best the other All-Stars had to offer? This is pathetic. We’re expanding our definition of Official Hottie and including Joe Thornton and Eric “Hooters” Staal, just out of desperation.
– We spend our commercial break arguing whether we’d consider adding Vinny Lecavalier to the Official Hottie roster. Schnookie says yes, Pookie says no. Boomer, as the tie-break, says, “He’s okay. Yeah.” Then she adds, “I’m not as sold on Getzi as you guys are.” There is discord and strife within the walls of IPB Manor!
– We get an interview on the bench before the Obstacle Course with a slicked-back Pronger. Pookie suggests that if Sid were there tonight, Chris Simpson wouldn’t be wearing that turtleneck.
– Doc gives us an explanation of the obstacle course, and we’re disappointed it’s not an agility-dog trial obstacle course. Pookie: “I feel like the biggest obstacle on this one is the hockey players’ brains.” (We think it’s funny they’ve brought back the “goalies shooting” thing after it was such a disaster a few years ago.)
– The obstacle course starts, and we have no idea what’s going on because the camera work is so terrible. First we see whichever Sedin it is, and then there’s a bad edit to a dimly lit Thornton doing the saucer passing, then we’re staring at Pronger’s ass as he blocks our view of the target he’s shooting at, and then Osgood’s shooting the length of the ice and we’re still wondering if they’ve started yet.
– We like the EC’s run on the obstacle course more than the WC’s because Yayson looked foxy doing his puck slalom. And because we knew how to pay attention to it.
– Pookie: “I think this obstacle course needs to be longer. And more agility-dog-ish.”
– What the? Okay, they’re doing this twice. We can’t watch the WC because Corey Perry’s involved.
– Oh! A Yayson interview! He seems underwhelmed by the obstacle course.
– Malkin proves why he wasn’t originally included on the roster by totally shanking the puck slalom. Pookie: “I would love to see them have to do that the length of the rink.”
– Pretty Ricky (not hott) nails two of his three shots, and VS tries to talk to him on his mic. He can’t hear them. It’s scintillating television.
– We go to commercial unsure of who’s winning, and with our audio cutting out while Kovalchuk pops up with a prerecorded message about what event is coming up next. Versus seems to have been taken by surprise that they were broadcasting this tonight.
– We like the new fastest-skater set-up (or, as we just typed it, “fattest skater” – Nash wins!), since we won’t have to worry that the players are going to kill themselves wiping out in the corners. VS tells us “Stawn Horcoff” is competing for the WC.
– Quasi-hottie Duncan Keith makes our evening by smoking Soupy, but the timers decide to declare Soupy the winner, adding at least $2 million per year to his asking price. Doc tries to tell us that there’s a way that physics would allow for someone to cross the finish line well before their opponent, but still have a slower time. Doc. Please. Just tell us the timers screwed up.
– We are thoroughly confused, as Horcoff and Kovalchuk step up to the line as the fastest guys from their conferences after the three preliminary fattest-skater rounds, but then suddenly Kovalchuk steps down and Soupy steps up. Boomer: “This is like they’re doing this in someone’s backyard.” Soupy gets smoked for a second time.
– We get a prerecorded message from Vinny (kinda hott) telling us to stay tuned to VS. Boomer: “Only because there’s nothing else on.”
– A look at Arnott on the bench prompts us to discuss how his hair looks like a cross between Chico Resch’s rug and an animal pelt.
– Pookie: “Hey look! There’s a Devils representative!” She’s talking about the NHL 2K8 graphics to illustrate the Elimination Shootout. Sigh.
– Because the shootout is the most exciting thing in hockey (or so we’re told as a way to justify why they do it instead of having regular-season ties), they’ve shrunk its footprint at the ASG now, so they’re just going in two-shooter sets. It seems VS has never filmed a shootout before, because they’re using their “seasick cam” to swoop around behind the shooters.
– Vinny loses his half-hottie point when he tries 8 billion moves on his shootout attempt and ends up not even shooting.
– Ribiero is in the second group of shooters, and we are in agreement that he looks just like Clifton Collins, Jr. We launch into a litany of lines from “Tigerland”, as we exhort Ribbons not to let his meat loaf.
– Doc tries to talk to Pretty Ricky after he stops Ribbons. Pretty Ricky doesn’t respond. Doc: “We’re having technical difficulties…” Schnookie: “No kidding.”
– Pookie is horrified that her EC bias is so strong that she’s doing the unthinkable and cheering for Pretty Ricky. Schnookie: “If he weren’t Pretty Ricky, I’d like him.” Pookie: “Yeah, well, if Corey Perry weren’t Corey Perry I’d still hate him.”
– VS finally figures out how to make Pretty Ricky’s mic work. The only scintillating moment of note in his input is that he uses the word “festivities” in describing the event. It sounds just like Fat Tony from The Simpsons. Not that we’re saying anything about Italian-Americans.
– Yayson is adorably impressed by Kimmo Timonen’s shot. Thanks for showing us his wide-eyed, frowny-face nod of approval in HD slo-mo, there, VS. (And yes, it’s only fair to point out when Versus does something right.)
– This stupid Elimination Shooter event has contrived a way for us to have to see extra Gomez. (And yes, it’s only fair to point out when the NHL does something horribly wrong.)
– There is a long delay before Malkin shoots on Manny Legace. Silence falls on stately IPB Manor. Pookie: “Can you guys feel the excitement?” (Legace is allegedly wearing a mic, but as with Pretty Ricky, he doesn’t respond when Doc tries to talk to him.)
– After Legacy stops Timonen, there is some celebration on the ice for the WC winning this part of the festivities, and we hear Legace bark, “My groins are done!” Pookie: “That was the highlight of the night.” Legace then gets interviewed by Chris Simpson, and Pookie, demonstrating how awful this is, says, “He’s cute as a button!” NHL hotties, if you are reading this – send help!
– We go to commercial, and Boomer grumbles, “There’s just something about this presentation that’s making this so unscintillating.”
– It’s Young Stars time! They introduce themselves, and to a man, could not be more adorkable. Except for Clarkson (hott!), who introduces himself as “Dullard Dullardson, New Jersey Dullards.” Or maybe it just seemed that way to us. We give the win to Happy Meals, who gleefully proclaims himself a member of the “DALLAS STARS!!!” Oh, and Pat Kane introduces himself as “Pete Kane.” We guess we’ve been mispronouncing that all this time.
– The Young Stars boringly warm up, and a shot of the vacated bench prompts Pookie to shout, “Corey Perry is such a twerp that he’s staying out for the Young Stars game???” Boomer: “I think they wouldn’t let him in. The other guys locked him out.”
– We get an interview with Lucic at the bench. He looks like he’s wearing a fake nose.
– We then kick to an interview with Sam Gagne and a man Chris Simpson calls “Patrick Kane”. That’s Pete to you, Chris. Pete also refers to the event tonight as “festivities”. Pookie: “What, did they get talking points?”
– WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, sorry, it’s just habit. Clarkson gets a breakaway and calmly beats Osgood. Doc tells us he’s a new uncle, too. Awww. More Devils! More Devils! (We really hope Clarkson can pull a Zach and win the plastic star by being the only guy to bring sound fundamentals and strong defensive play to the Young Stars game.)
– Clarkson gets interviewed on the bench, and is the dullard we all know and love. He talks over one of his teammates scoring. Dullardly.
– This is a travesty! We get an interview with Getzi on the bench, and it’s just in the mini-screen. And then it’s cut short when Chris decides to talk to Corey Perry instead. Pookie: “That had better not be our only Getzi interview tonight! Motherfucking Jack Johnson was standing in front of him for half of it, and Chris Simpson was in front of him for the rest of it.”
– Marc Staal scores and gives a Rangers stick salute. Pookie snarls, “He just gave a motherfucking stick salute. Jackass.” Pause. “I think this game is finally hitting my wheelhouse.” Perhaps she meant to say “Motherfucking wheelhouse”.
– The Thrashers fans start an “Osgood” chant with the “You suck!” added on the end. Wha?
– The score at the half of the Young Stars game is something like 500-450. We’re not paying attention.
– Legace makes a good poke check, then waves his glove helplessly at the follow-up. He then says into his mic, “Did you see that poke check?” Hee! Legace then promises that, if need be, he’ll charge up the ice and play like Holmstrom in the waning moments of the game. He then says that he’d love to see OT go to 3-on-3 in regular season games, “So you don’t lose on a superskills competition.” Then, in stride, he gloves a Clarkson shot, scurries up the slot, flops on his belly, and shovels the puck up to Pete Kane for a breakaway. Legace is pulling a Turco, big style.
– Legace shouts, “There goes Peter again!” as Kane rushes up the ice. Pookie: “I’m hoping this is an All-Star conspiracy calling Pat Kate ‘Pete’ the way we call Mirtle ‘Martle’.”
– Legace makes a stop on a wild little three-man drop-passing sequence and then exults, “There’s another Marty Brodeur save!” Oh, stop it Manny! Schnookie is now ready to agree with Pookie that he’s cute as a button.
– Chris Simpson tries to do a “Chico Eats!” feature. You, sir, are no Chico Resch.
– A look at the dressing room shows Ribs looks bored. And his kids look just like him. Meanwhile, in the other room, Yayson looks like he’s waiting for the camera to not be on him.
– Yay! It’s accuracy shooting time! Doc tells us this is the event (festivity?) that inspires the most drama, and to underscore that point, the NHL 2K8 graphics demonstrating how it works is all Devils. And Gionta shooting. Christ. We’d be sitting here all night if we had to wait for Gio to hit all four targets. He’d probably just go offsides anyway.
– We see Getzi talking with Legace on the sidelines, and Pookie posits that he’s growing his bald spot to spell IPB.
– Arnott goes 4-for-7, but also scores this response from Pookie: “*SNORT*” Pause. “Ow. That hurt.” Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaason Arnott, ladies and gentlemen.
– Kaberle manages the sexiest thing in all of hockey: going 4-for-4, and Doc and Eddie aren’t even paying attention. It’s Kaberle, so we understand their talking about anything else.
– Doc clearly hopes that Lidstrom will go perfect, too, so he can make up for missing a call for the ages. Lidstrom does not comply.
– Hooters is 4-for-6, and we’re impressed at how much better everyone is doing than they have in recent years. We also think Hooters is veelalicious.
– Not veelalicious? Nieder. He delights us by sucking. He also delights us by prompting VS to show us Getzi chatting with him as he skates to the sidelines. Getzi’s sparkling blue eyes are sparkling and blue enough to make us overlook his robot herpes outbreak.
– We get a look at Anze Koptar (pronounced “Aahnsty ‘Pete’ Kopitash”) on the sidelines, and Schnookie says, “I can’t believe Mrs. Pando is an All-Star.”
– Doc tells us to listen for the crowd reaction to Hossa. We do. They make no noise. Pookie: “Watch he doesn’t hit anything, and the crowd doesn’t do anything.” He goes 4-for-7, and Pookie play-by-plays, “And the crowd goes… politely applauding.”
– In the final round, Kaberle goes 3-for-4, and it is palpably disappointing that he doesn’t run the table. They should turn the SuperSkills into all accuracy shooting, all the time. The festivity is tied after the extra round, and Arnott and Kaberle have to go to single-shot elimination, which is, needless to say, awesome. Schnookie: “They should replace the regular-season shootout with this.” Kaberle wins it, and the EC bench goes wild. Seriously, the other guys get so much more into the accuracy shooting than anything else. And really, if the NHL is willing to decide points in the standings with a superskills contest, why not do it with the coolest superskill contest?
– We go to commercial break with a prerecorded, “I’m Chris Pronger of the Anaheim Ducks—” that gets cut off by the mute button and Pookie snapping, “And I’m Pookie of the Shut The Fuck Up.”
– We see Pronger at the sidelines before the hardest shot contest. His hair is still slicked-back, and there are droplets all over his face. Why is he all wet? What the hell?
– As we wait for the festivity to start, we see Arnott standing there staring into space underneath his pelty hair. Pookie: “I just can’t get over how comical he looks!”
– Pretty Ricky is talking to us during this festivity (after Don Waddell told us that Pretty Ricky has a way of “showing himself” to you. Is he suggesting Pretty Ricky is a flasher?) and says it’s an “urban myth” that goalie pads make hard shots not hurt. “It really, really, really, really, really hurts,” he says.
– We are having an impossible time trying to figure out what we’re hearing on the TV right now. Pookie keeps asking, “Did he just say [blank]?” and Boomer and Schnookie have to say, “I don’t know!” So far she’s asked if someone said “football sucks” and whether Phaneuf, after sucking on his first shot, said, “But I have a big dick.”
– After Pronger manages not to come close to his current speed-to-beat, Vinny gives this arrogant little roll of his eyes. Pookie finally admits that he is, indeed, bringing the hott.
– Zdeno Chara bests Vinny with a harder shot, but Vinny remains the winner here, because nothing will ever make us think Charbacca is hott.
– Okay, here it is, the glam event: Breakaway Challenge. Pookie: “This has potential to be the biggest disaster since last year’s Young Stars game.”
– Pookie didn’t do any reading about this event ahead of time, and nearly sprains something when she cracks up at the announcement of Dominique Wilkins as a judge. “What,” she splutters, “Was BJ Armstrong not available?” Pause. “Oh right. He used to be a Hawk.”
– Datsyuk may or may not have done something interesting on his first attempt, but we’ll never know because VS went with a camera that followed directly behind him on the ice. He gets very low scores. He beats Vokoun on his second attempt, but doesn’t do anything very innovative (Eddie murmurs, “I’ve seen that move in shootouts,” and Pookie snaps, “In boring shootouts!”), and Mellanby only gives him a 4. Harshness, they name is Scott Mellanby.
– AAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! St. Louis does this move where… he… well, how to describe it? He skates to the high slot and just stands there until Nabokov walks up to him and takes the puck away. Pookie, through her screams of laughter: “I’m embarrassed to be alive right now!”
– After St. Louis tries his stupid caboose-first move and gets easily stripped by Nabokov again, Pretty Ricky pipes up that Kovalchuk should try lighting himself on fire for his attempt.
– Getzi spares us from wanting to light ourselves on fire by at least managing to do some fancy puck-handling moves, despite not being able to beat Thomas.
– Kovalchuk, despite the crowd urging him with a “KOVY! KOVY!” chant, is bested by Legace on a totally routine shot. Legace then tells Doc and Eddie that he thinks he’s supposed to let Kovalchuk score. He giggles then as he stones Kovalchuk’s second attempt (from his knees), and Pookie is outraged that Kovalchuk scores higher than Getzi did. “This is horseshit!” she screams.
– Pretty Ricky asks Doc and Eddie to tell him how he managed to stop Gaborik’s between-the-legs first attempt, and then says, as Gaborik goes to center ice for his second attempt, “Uh oh, he’s building up speed. I’m going to have to go and take his legs out.” Gaborik does a wraparound move, and Pretty Ricky says, “Oh my god, I just blew my whole leg out.” As one of the judges is addressing the entire arena, Pretty Ricky’s VS mic picks him up saying, “I just fucked my hip up again.” As the festivity progresses, Boomer says dryly, “I notice no one on VS is touching that.”
– Ovie scores mundanely on his first shot, then tries a “bouncing the puck in the air at waist height then batting it into the net” play that would have been way more impressive if he’d managed not to whiff on the final shot, but still scores high with the judges.
– Getzi gets to go again and tries to go all lacrossey. He loses the puck, but still gets a high score from everyone but the FNL guy. He gets 10s in our hearts, though.
– Ovie goes again and does his bat-bat-bat in the air thing, but this time he flips the puck high and spins around. He also whiffs on the final shot, but hey. It was fun.
– Getzi goes again and he doesn’t have anything fancy, instead trying to just score. Thomas stones him, and Getzi goes to hide amongst his teammates, burning with shame and robot herpes.
– Ovie also tries to go for the sure goal on his last shot, and also doesn’t score, but he gets more points, and we have absolutely no idea what’s going on. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t enjoy this festivity, though. Especially the “I just fucked my hip up again” part.
– We come back from commercial, and suddenly we’re talking about rodeos with some guy in Albany. Oh, VS. How we love thee so.
– Well, these festivities seemed to have proved once and for all something we’ve suspected for years: the Eastern Conference is way superior to the Western Conference, winning by a count of 9-6. That’s right: the East is three better than the West. Three what, we don’t know. But the numbers don’t lie.