Luke Adam and Jason Pominville are vanilla. They’re good shooters and play a strong game, but neither aren’t the type of game breaker that you typically see in an NHL All-Star game.
However, both had pretty good showings at what turned out to be another great weekend for the NHL. Pominville had a goal and an assist to accompany his runner-up finish in the elimination breakaway challenge. Luke Adam hit 98 MPH in the hardest shot contest, beating Justin Faulk and likely earning the “shoot more” label from many a Sabres fan.
As I wrote previously, All-Star weekend comes with its ups and downs. From what I gather, the ancillary events throughout the host city are can’t miss entertainment just like the main attractions. The game remains a mere garnish on a weekend that has grown into a truly awesome party atmosphere.
The Fantasy Draft is a terrific way to kick off the weekend and create addition interest in a game that has typically been over looked. I have little doubt the fantasy draft/captains format will linger for years to come. After all, it trumps any conference or international format that had been used in the past.
The Skills Competition remains the marquee event for the weekend. The addition of a slam dunk contest wrinkle for breakaways is one of the NHL’s best ideas yet. Pat Kane took the cake with some additional pageantry, but Corey Perry and John Tavares each had an impressive repertoire of moves themselves. What shouldn’t be ignored is that Steven Stamkos’ three moves in the elimination shootout would have earned him high marks in the event won by Kane. It just goes to show the insane talent these players put on display, despite what Aaron Williams may think.
Personally, I could have watched the players stickhandle through those orange pucks for hours – so long as there was something more to the station than just stick handling. That alone was a terrific showcase of the skills on display this weekend.
As for the Sabres’ representatives, they had a good showing and didn’t look out of place. Pominville pretty much hung out in the weeds during the game and managed to pick up a pair of points – even if they weren’t the prettiest plays. Pominville probably surprised quite a few people by finishing second in the breakaway elimination. Of course, he used two plain shots to stay alive – high glove or five hole are really the only two arrows in his shootout quiver.
Adam only participated in one event and surely impressed many fans who are excited about his potential. His 98 MPH attempt was better than Justin Faulk and was at least five miles per hour faster than I expected him to hit.
Not having many players that can draw fans out of their seats makes it tough to lobby for additional Sabres to participate in the event. If the All-Star Game eventually finds its way to First Niagara Center, you could expect to see at least three players in the game. Otherwise, I’d say one or two will be par for the course until Buffalo manages to roster a few more superstars.