ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hockey Started!

Sidney Crosby and Chris Pronger have both missed time this year
No the NHL didn't just start but it did just start getting my attention.  Usually I like to check in on hockey sometime around June when the Playoffs are into their 3rd month or so.  However, I came across this spectacular brawl (video below) between the Flyers and Senators that happened last night and figured that I would check on the favorite sport of America's Hat.

Well who could have possibly known it but we are already past the half way point of the season!  Yeah.  There are 82 regular season games and teams have played between 46 and 50 games now.  The Flyers have the best record at 37-11 but are followed closely by Vancouver, Detroit, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Washington.  Which sets up some pretty fun to watch contests over the second half of the season between the Flyers and Penguins in the Atlantic Division as well as between the Lightning and Capitals in the Southeast Division.

The Penguins have been without All-Star Sidney Crosby for the last 7 games with a concussion, which is a real shame because he had one of the hottest starts to an NHL season ever.  He is still leading the league in Points despite missing roughly 15% of the season. Fortunately it sounds like Crosby will be back after the All-Star break because just yesterday they announced that Evgeni Malkin is out indefinitely (rumored to be up to a month) with an injured knee.  The Flyers Chris Pronger has been out since December 13th with a broken foot he suffered while blocking a shot.  Everyone's favorite possible Russian Spy, Alex Ovechkin has been having an off year when he is uncharacteristically 10th in Points and 39th in Goals.

The NHL All-Star Game is actually next weekend and I think they are really on to something fun this year.  Although the League has had a tough time drawing fans over the last decade, you have to admit that their management is willing to innovate and try things to grow the fanbase.  Well this year's All-Star game is nothing short of revolutionary.  On Friday night, opposing Captains Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom and Carolina's Eric Staal will Captain will get to Draft their rosters from the pool of All-Stars on live TV.  This is going to be a lot of fun to watch because it's something that everyone has done before going all the way back to their playground days but this time it's the best players in the sport doing it.  Do they pick their current teammates, their friends, or their real Brothers?  

This is something I'm going to come back to for other sports.  There is so much potential for All-Star weekends and I salute the NHL for trying their best to do something innovative with what can often be a boring celebration of talent and skill.

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