2011 NHL All-Star Game

Semyon Varlamov,  Alex Ovechkin

NHL reports best-ever business for 2010-11, estimates $2.9B in revenue

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Today is one of the most exciting days of the hockey year for fans, but it also marks a celebration for the NHL itself. The 2010-11 season produced record-breaking business for the league for the fifth straight season, with estimates of about $2.9 billion in revenue by the end of the 2011 playoffs, according to the NHL’s press release.

There are plenty of reasons why the league keeps humming along at the bank. The 2011 Winter Classic was a slam dunk, with the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins captivating audiences even after a rain delay pushed the game into primetime. The 2011 NHL All-Star Game was a also a smash hit compared to previous years, thanks in some part to the ingenious fantasy draft.

Naturally, there were other big sponsorship deals, with the most notable moment coming with the league’s seven-year contract with Molson Coors. That mammoth contract is worth about $375 million during the span of those seven years.

It seems like the NHL achieved increases in almost every category, from sponsorships to TV ratings to merchandise and online categories. To get the lowdown regarding all the details, click here.

All-Star Game alternate captains named: Team Staal adds Mike Green and Ryan Kesler; Team Lidstrom gets Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis


The NHL announced the alternate captains for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game this morning, as Eric Staal’s squad added defenseman Mike Green and forward Ryan Kesler while Nick Lidstrom’s side added forwards Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis.

The four alternate captains will assist Staal and Lidstrom respectively, especially during the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft on Friday, January 28th. The league mandated that each group of three captains must include two forwards and one defenseman.

These additions might be especially valuable from an entertainment standpoint, as Kesler and Green should provide some personality for Staal’s side while Kane’s wise-cracking nature should spice things up for Lidstrom. Both Staal and Lidstrom can be a little dry, so the influx of quip ability will be great for a televised event.

Not that it is especially urgent, but Lidstrom’s side might end up getting the better of Staal from a pure puck perspective. Lidstrom’s a perennial Norris Trophy winner, Kane scored the 2010 Cup winning goal and St. Louis is a former Hart Trophy winner to boot.

It should be fascinating to watch the fantasy draft next Friday; these additions should make it that much more fun to see what happens.

More TV talk: Versus is all over the All-Star Game, NHL Network to air top prospects game at 2pm ET

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After getting you up to date regarding NBC’s plans for the 2011 edition of Hockey Day in America, we also thought you might want to know about some of the other news regarding puck coverage.

  • Versus announced today that the network will carry a substantial seven hours of coverage on the 2011 NHL All-Star Game during the weekend. The network’s coverage begins on Friday, January 28th with the Fantasy Draft, continues with the SuperSkills Competition on that Saturday (more on that later) and then the actual game on Sunday the 30th.

They also apparently plan to premiere their “Imovix replay system,” which reportedly slows down in-game action to 500 frames per second, offering replays that can “even show the rotation of a puck during a shot.”

Of course, the contest already happened as Team Orr earned a 7-1 win over Team Cherry (labeled Team “CHE” in the clips below, which is funny since Don Cherry probably isn’t a fan of a certain Che). You can read about the game here and watch highlights at the bottom of this post.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Brendan Shanahan answers questions, reflects on 2011 All-Star Game Fantasy Draft


In the simplest way, the selection process during the 2011 NHL All-Star Game’s Fantasy Draft will feature Team Eric Staal and Team Nicklas Lidstrom rattling off players in a fashion very similar to school kids choosing sides during gym class.

Of course, there are some things that complicate matters, which Brendan Shanahan discussed with Puck Daddy in a story that was published this morning. We’ll cover some of the highlights from that interview in a second, but it might be important to discuss some of the caveats first.

  • Each team will have three alternate captains which include two forwards and one defenseman.
  • There will be a 36-player pool to choose from during an 18-round draft.
  • Each sides’ three goalies must be taken by the 10th round.
  • All defensemen must be chosen by the 15th round.
  • There will be a “Mr. Irrelevant” in the draft, something Shanahan hopes will be treated in a “tongue-in-cheek” way.

OK, now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s get to some of the most interesting comments from Shanahan in that PD article.

After discussing how the restrictions will make the draft most interesting, Shanahan discussed the way goalie selections can leave you rattled in a mock draft:

SHANAHAN: Originally, we were going to tell them to draft who they wanted, when they wanted. But when we started doing mock drafts in the office, you realize [poop]: If I’m drafting against you, and you took your goalies in the first few rounds, because you’re a goalie freak, then the reality is that I’m not going to draft a goalie [until late] because you’ve essentially picked mine. I’m not going to waste a pick on a goalie because I can just wait until the end to draft them. The last six guys standing could have been predetermined; totally bad, dead TV.


That’s what was fun. It’s like that old saying in boxing: Everyone’s got a plan before they get hit. That’s how it was: Regardless of you many times you did the mock draft with a plan, the other guy would do something you weren’t expecting and you’d have to change it.

On how being picked last might motivate that guy to win the MVP:

Everyone keeps focusing on the guy going last, but the reality of it is that if you go 10th, then you think you should have gone 7th. If you go fifth, you think you’re better than the four guys who went in front of you. If you go second, you’re mad at the guy who didn’t take you first, and you want to beat him.

I ran it past some perennial all-stars, and Luc Robitaille told me that if he had been taken last, he’d go home, get some sleep and then win the MVP.


Click here to read more from Shanahan, including the fact that players might find some “perverse pleasure” in splitting up the Sedin twins.

Mike Milbury’s Hat Trick

Mike Milbury
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Each week here at ProHockeyTalk, NHL on NBC’s Mike Milbury gives us his take on three hot topics of discussion around the league. We’re happy to have Mike join us and give us his unique and fiery opinions on what’s going on in the NHL.

Who comes out ahead in the Wojtek Wolski-Michal Rozsival trade between New York and Phoenix?

I think both teams got things that they needed. Obviously it’s a positional trade, a winger for a defenseman. Phoenix has needs and a lack of depth at the position they opted for Rozsival despite his age and despite the fact that he’s got a contract that goes for another year. Because of the injuries that have occurred to the Rangers they opt for a one-time goal scorer who’s not playing great hockey right now but he’s young and he’s fitting a pattern the Rangers follow right now. He fills a need and serves their purposes for that and youth.

Skill players like Wolski seem to get a few more passes than then average Joe. A guy that can put the puck in the back of the net is a valuable resource. There are many people that will take a shot at a guy that might need to mature a little bit. It might be his last chance to prove himself but it would surprise me if it is. That all depends on Wolski and how he performs. The Rangers and John Tortorella are hoping that he can get hot once again and do it consistently.

With the teams being announced for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, what are your thoughts on the game itself?

I hate the All-Star Game. It sucks. I wish they’d just throw it away. I hate the Pro Bowl, I don’t like the NBA All-Star Game, I don’t even like what Major League Baseball does, although I will tune in for the home run hitting contest.

We’ve got a spectacular for the sport in the Winter Classic. I don’t like the All-Star Game and I wish we’d be the first sport to get rid of it. I know it’s a chance to shmooze some sponsors. It’s a business decision to show promote the identity of the players and sell it to big sponsors. There’s got to be a better way to do that though. Maybe a golf tournament in the middle of the summer when the guys are relaxed.

But to pull out a four-day weekend in the middle of an 82-game schedule to is nonsensical for me and from the players standpoint. You ask players and they’re honored to be selected whether it’s their first or their 50th time. But it becomes more of a burden than a pleasure to go to these things.

I’ve coached in an All-Star Game and you barely see these guys. Their itinerary is chock full of activities and social events and they barely get time for themselves. They do all this and then they’re back on a plane and back to join their teams for the re-start of the regular season. It doesn’t serve them well and it doesn’t serve the game well in that it tires players out. It adds something to the business side of things, I get that part of it, I just wish they’d find a better way to expose the players to the major sponsors and make them more sociable at that point.

There’s a handful of teams facing struggles right now. What’s out there for Ottawa and Los Angeles to do to change things up?

Ottawa’s missing some key offensive players despite Kovalev’s lack of production and they still believe he’s a bonafide offensive producer and they’re still without Jason Spezza. You take out two ice time eaters and major producers you’re going to suffer. It’s gone way past that.

Brian Elliott looked tough in goal, their defense was shoddy last night, Sergei Gonchar is not the Gonchar that we’ve come to expect, and Daniel Alfredsson is not having a banner year. They look like a team that’s lacking in focus and discipline and in desperate need of a change of some type or another. I’m not close enough to them to say the coach should go or the manager must go, but all in all last night (a 6-0 loss to Boston) was a real rough performance. This is a team that now trails Toronto in points in the Eastern Conference, that’s not a slam on Toronto just showing where they’re at and it’s not good.

As for Los Angeles, Terry Murray has been a good coach for a long time and maybe he’s changed his ways in recent years but he used to be a real stern taskmaster. I’m not there to watch his practices but you wonder if that’s the approach the Kings need at this point.

I don’t think that’s going to happen during the course of this season, but maybe he’s developed, the way Michel Therrien did in Pittsburgh, a work ethic and an identity and a defensive scheme and then that style may not be the right fit now.  I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon though. I’m not saying Terry Murry is a bad coach, he’s a very good coach. It’s just that sometimes the fit is off and you take a team as far as you can take them and then you hand them off. It might be coming to that time in L.A.


Got a question you’d like for us to ask Mike? Leave one for us in the comments or e-mail us at prohockeytalk@gmail.com to pass it along and share it with you in the future.