I was very fortunate to attend the Skills Competition last night/afternoon in LA and I also got to check out the surrounding area.
I took a lot of pictures just so I could share them all with you! They may not be the best, but they were taken with good intentions! So here's some pictures and stories from last night!
These were some the lovely outside decorations that made the whole arena look special. Hockey was everywhere you looked and it couldn't have been better.
The Introductions were definitely great because Snoop was there but also hearing fan reactions was great as well. Since it is LA, Sharks and Ducks players were not crowd favorites. Blackhawks also were not very welcome and same with Brad Marchand and Sidney Crosby, but they have that reputation will all NHL fans (even though I don't understand the Crosby part).
The East did have some cheers here and there but they were not popular because this is a West Coast city that cares about other things. Auston Matthews, of course, was popular being from the West. Wayne Simmonds also received a nice response after returning to where he played years before. Martin Jones on the other hand... not so much, but it was only because he went to San Jose. If he went to Boston, he would've gotten cheers.
The relay was fun to watch and to hear all the collective 'ah's made it even better. The goalie goals part had to have been one of the best parts because seeing the goalies whack away at the net was great. Carey Price definitely was good at that!
Feel free to try and peer into the photos because there are many scenes of the All Stars frozen in time. Also notice that evert picture is a different team.
The Four Lines Challenge was definitely hard for the players and you could tell. Very few could get it in and we hoped for more but there were many missed shots.
The highlight of this one, of course, was Mike Smith's goal. The entire place erupted because even though he plays for the Coyotes, he played for the Pacific that night and he meant more now! Before he made the shot, his mascot Howler was cheering from behind and tried to get the crowd to howl with him for Smith. I think it worked.
I also noticed during this competition that Carey Price was skating around with his daughter. I enjoy precious moments like that and it was wonderful to see them enjoying their time on the ice together.
I loved seeing the younger players in this competition do well, especially Auston Matthews. I was so excited to see him nearly win this competition in his first chance ever. But I also highly respect Crosby and he remains the best in the game. Seeing him do well was also great and it's fantastic that both young and more established players can dominate at the same time.
I only took one photo of this but I wanted to capture McDavid just in case he would beat Larkin's record. He won the competition, but he didn't beat it. I felt bad because he had to have been so tired to run another lap after crushing his first. Given more time, maybe he would've beaten it? It's up for debate!
Had to take a photo of Ovi and Weber because this was going to be a huge match up!! Weber once again still has it but he didn't break the record.. Oh well.. He was much closer than many others because they were not even close and some couldn't hit 100 mph. Not that I could but they seem more likely than me to hit it. As someone else there put it, '100 sure is faster than it sounds'. Maybe I was also too far up to hear the terrifying sound... Who knows... Oh wait, the goalies do!
Here's a picture of Price about to save another goal and make the Pacific look not as hot offensively. Let's just say that the East breeds snipers and the West thinks more defensively. I didn't capture the adorable Ryker Kesler fooling Price but it was a fun moment. I also could not believe that Burns' between-the-legs shot hit the post!! It looked like it went in but nope. Fantastic try though!
And here's me trying to take a picture up close but freaking out because security guarded every other entrance but this one. I tried but I was scared so this is all I got... Enjoy!
One century of this game and League is a wonderful milestone to celebrate. Let's hope to do this in the next century!