Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NHL All-Star 2007 [Print without images]

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Updated: January 25, 1:41 AM ET
Live from SuperSkills: Beers, barbecue and Crosby

ESPN.com

The SuperSkills competition is back and we're giving you our rink-side take.

ESPN.com's Scott Burnside is in Big D, while ESPN.com NHL editor Joy Russo is in beautiful Bristol.

Let's see da skilllllllls!

Russo (8:47 p.m. ET): They're introducing the All-Stars. After the folks in Dallas ruined Blur's "Song 2" for me during the YoungStars Game, they are now setting the techno-club feel during introductions. Sidney Crosby was introduced right after Jason Blake. Remember kids, no spearing!

Russo (8:53 p.m. ET): Lots of bad hair on the Western Conference side. Roberto Luongo and Ryan Smyth ... hello!

Russo (8:57 p.m. ET): Zdeno Chara is taking pics of the ice with his cell phone. He can't afford a digital camera?

Russo (8:58 p.m. ET): I know our very own John Buccigross votes Hakan Loob as his top hockey name, but Jay Bouwmeester is a pretty good one. Jay Bouwmeester, the Bouwmeester, Bouwmolroma ... makin' copies!

Mmmmm ... ribs.

Burnside (9:01 p.m.. ET): Early on, it looks like the rail cam is the one to beat in the straight-away speed competition.

Russo (9:01 p.m. ET): It beats a glowing puck.

Burnside (9:03 p.m. ET): No question Zdeno Chara will have an edge in the Tallest Man competition, a contest that seems hardly fair to Martin St. Louis.

Russo (9:03 p.m. ET): Well, height didn't help Vinny Lecavalier during his little scrum with Chara during the playoffs last season!

Russo (9:06 p.m. ET): Fastest skater up now. Every coach and GM is saying: "No groin pulls!"

Russo (9:09 p.m. ET): Alexander Ovechkin is eating up the media attention. During an in-progress TV interview, a Versus sideline (or side-ice) reporter joked that he couldn't see Ovechkin's eyes through his "Darth Vader" thing. Slowly, with a grin, Ovie raised his helmet. "I'm just happy to be here."

Burnside (9:13 p.m. ET): Looked like Patrick Marleau jumped the gun during the fastest skater competition. We're waiting for the NHL video crew back in Toronto to look at the videotape. Oh wait, there's no one in Toronto -- they're all here! Marleau is the current leader, but there'll be an asterisk if he wins it.

Russo (9:14 p.m. ET): Scratch that thought, Andy McDonald took the lead.

Burnside (9:15 p.m. ET): One of the worst jobs at the SuperSkills competition has to be the camera guy who has to lie on his back in one of the nets to get shots of the players as they come around the final turn.

Burnside (9:18 p.m. ET): We do not know the answer to this, but wonder why Alexander Ovechkin and Andy McDonald went clockwise around the rink while the first four skaters, Eric Staal, Brian Campbell, Bill Guerin and Marleau, went the other way. Later we will pose more pointless questions that cannot be answered, like why do they have the music so loud here?

Russo (9:19 p.m. ET): Pointless question: Why do hockey folks always add a "Y" at the end of everything? Huh, Scotty? Why?

Burnside (9:21 p.m. ET): We count at least 33 television people on the ice. Almost all are wearing skates and wearing green track suits that make them look like a moving stand of pine trees.

Burnside (9:22 p.m. ET): Simon Gagne scored on his shootout attempt, making us feel bad for suggesting he shouldn't have been named to the All-Star team. And Bill Guerin, too. What do we know?

Russo (9:26 p.m. ET): Hardest shot. Al Iafrate, where are you!?!?

Mmmmm ... beer.

Burnside (9:28 p.m. ET): The hardest shot competition is the NHL equivalent of the dunk competition. Which is to say, what is the point of watching a guy skate like the wind and drive the puck into an empty net? Which is to say, there really isn't one.

Russo (9:28 p.m. ET): You're just bitter because you haven't been able to find fried dill pickles in Dallas!

Burnside (9:29 p.m. ET): Zdeno Chara just topped the 100-mph mark, which makes him the Randy Johnson of the hardest shot competition.

Russo (9:30 p.m. ET): To quote Mr. Messier, could you imagine Bobby Hull in this kind of event?

Russo (9:34 p.m. ET): I don't know, this second shootout event kind of loses its luster now that shootouts are a regularity in NHL play. And no, Marek Malik is not here.

Burnside (9:36 p.m. ET): This has nothing to do with the skills competition, but at the media hotel, there is a perpetual smell of barbecue, and the rumor is that the hotel does this on purpose to entice guests to eat in their steakhouse. That doesn't seem right.

Russo (9:36 p.m. ET): I thought you were going to complain that there was no beer. Now THAT would be a travesty.

Burnside (9:37 p.m. ET): Martin Brodeur, who just made a sensational save on Teemu Selanne in the shootout, is truly one of the game's all-around greats. The guy's played all but a handful of minutes this season, but here he is at the All-Star event with that perpetual grin on his face, enjoying it like he was a first-timer (he's been here nine times).

Russo and Burnside (9:40 p.m. ET): OK, Sidney Crosby's goal on Miikka Kiprusoff was just sick.

Russo (9:43 p.m. ET): I think the accuracy shot event would be better if there were faces on the targets.

Burnside (9:43 p.m. ET): Someone should tell Joe Sakic those foam circles are there for a reason.

Russo (9:44 p.m. ET): He's no Ray Bourque! (But yes, we should have had him on our Top Line of All Time list.)

Big man shoots puck.

Burnside (9:47 p.m. ET): TV analyst Pierre McGuire just interviewed Garth Brooks, who said his benefit concert Monday night raised $300,000 for his children's charity. It pays to have friends in high places. Or was that low places? Oh, never mind.

Russo (9:48 p.m. ET): Random breakout of song during the commercial break: "Oh! The good old hockey game, is the best game you can name, and the best game you can name, is the good old Hockey game!"

Russo (9:53 p.m. ET): Look at that passing lineup of Ovechkin, Lecavalier and Bouwmeester. That would scare me if I was in the net.

Burnside (9:54 p.m. ET): The SuperSkills competition is more than half over and the East holds a 9-7 lead. We're not exactly sure what that means, but it looks like the West will have to pull their goalie for an extra attacker. Or something like that.

Russo (9:55 p.m. ET): Smilin' Bob and his little song scare me.

Burnside (9:57 p.m. ET): The "In The Zone" competition is on now. Here's the official description: "One goal awarded to the highest scoring team; goaltenders' goals-against records are combined with Events 3,5 and 8 (Shootouts) to determine winner of the goaltenders' competition." This was clearly designed by a former tax specialist. Still, it's pretty cool to watch three guys ripping pucks at one, undefended goalie. They could just shorten the title and call it "Duck!"

Burnside (10 p.m. ET): Joe Sakic just redeemed himself with a nice goal in the last round of the shootout. He's old school.

Russo (10:01 p.m. ET): Roberto Luongo is saving his conference right now.

Russo (10:02 p.m. ET): But he can't stop Sid the Kid.

Russo (10:02 p.m. ET): Selanne scores! Sudden death ... in the SuperSkills?!

Burnside (10:03 p.m. ET): Goal! Sidney Crosby just scored again. He cannot buy a beer in Texas, but man, can he play.

Russo (10:03 p.m. ET): See, there you go bringing up beer again. I think that's our cue.

Burnside (10:05 p.m. ET): The East ends up winning the SuperSkills competition, 15-11. Now, the real test of the players' talents, getting off the ice without falling on the television cables. Good night from Dallas. And get home safely.