29 January 2011
The first ever NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft is officially over and both team rosters are set. I will get to the draft picks in a second but let’s look at the overall production and entertainment value of this whole thing.
Prior to the start I was very curious to see how the NHL would have the stage set up, how the convention would be set up, how it would be hosted and so on and so forth. The stage, as the Daily News’s Jesse Spector pointed out, was very reminiscent of the set up they had on Double Dare or similar to a game show setup. Two podiums set up on the left and right of the stage with the team names on front and the three captains standing behind it. My initial guess would have been that the stage would have looked more like the traditional entry draft stage.
When the picks were made the draftees were brought up and handed a jersey by two very attractive young women (as I declared on twitter the girl in the blue dress was the hotter of the two). Then they were subjected to an interview with James Duthie, who was the “host” of the night. The interviews were kept light, informational, and at times humorous. There were also the lighter moments when Duthie would go talk to players who hadn’t been drafted. Example; the following interview with Marc Staal.
Holding the draft in the convention center and open for all the fans to come and enjoy was also a nice touch. The Carolina crowd did not disappoint either, they packed the house and really supported the home town guys that were there.
One of the complaints I did have was the draft commentary given by the panel of Bob McKenzie, Piere McGuire and Keith Jones was one thing I could have gone without. The commentators seemed to overanalyze the selections and teams. At some points comments almost seemed forced and seemed like they were trying to make a fun, light hearted event way more serious than it needed to be. If the fantasy draft continues next year this is one thing I would eliminate.
Overall the league managed to put on a good show for the fans and the players. While of course everything new has to be tweaked in one way or another the NHL put together something that was and can continue to be a success in the future.
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