February 2, 2011
Despite being a huge football who’s dreading the drought inevitably comes from February-August (in layman’s terms, post-Super Bowl and pre-preseason), I just can’t get excited about the Pro Bowl. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I watched the whole thing — stretching it if I said I watched half. The Pro Bowl is always held the Sunday before the Super Bowl, with all Super Bowl players exempt. Players are voted to the Pro Bowl by coaches, fans and even other players; each group accounts for 1/3 of the vote. Being a pro-bowler is considered an honor, though the game itself isn’t taken seriously. And why should it? After all, if your season was over and you were playing in a game just to showcase the game’s All-Stars would you risk an injury? It is the only All-Star game in professional sports that is played after the regular season has ended, and is the only one that exempts players. Is there a better alternative? If it were placed in mid-season, nobody would want to risk getting hurt (Hell, they don’t even want to with six months until their next meaningful game). If they placed it after the Super Bowl, several players would be exhausted and perhaps fans would care even less. It seems a conundrum that doesn’t have an answer in sight. The players looked like players in slow motion, running at half-speed, avoiding collisions. The NFL didn’t even send their own reporters to cover the story. Yesterday, the NFC trampled all over the AFC, winning 55-41. The worst part of that score is that no one cares.
The National Hockey League advertised their All-Star game with an “All-Star weekend”, which included a fantasy draft and skills competition. The weekend culminated with the All-Star game Sunday night, when the All-Stars were split up into two teams—Team Lidstrom and Team Staal—both named for their respective captains (Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal). Like Pro Bowl football isn’t really football, All-Star hockey isn’t really hockey. The players don’t hit, avoid getting hit themselves, and goalies aren’t going to hit the ice for nothing. Team Lidstrom won, 11-10—proving there was plenty of offense–and zero defense.
Caps star Alex Ovechkin, who was voted an all star alongside teammate Mike Green, made history on Sunday night—just not in the form of scoring goals. Early in the third period, Ovechkin threw a stick at Colorado Avalanche center Mike Duchene. While he is quoted as saying he was trying to “make some play”, the move resulted in the first-ever penalty shot in an all-star game. Ovechkin joked about the incident afterwards saying “Well, I want to be in history, so now I’m in history.” Despite Ovechkin’s failed attempt at some action, the game was as exciting as a neighborhood game of pond hockey.
The Wizards play the Mavericks tonight, on the tails of a four-game losing streak (their last win was at home against the Celtics on January 22). Unfortunately, that’s not the worst part. Their glaringly dismal record going into this game is their road record, currently 0-23. No NBA team has ever been winless on the road for an entire season. Ironically, the Mavericks currently hold the record at 29 road losses during the 1992-1993 season. Obviously, being the first team to lose to the Wizards at home is not something the Mavs in particular are looking for. Washington plays the New Orleans Hornets tomorrow, before heading back home for a four-game stay. If they don’t win that game, they’ll face their best chance to win a road game on February 13, when they travel to Cleveland to face the Lebron-less Cavilers who have lost 20 in a row.