Patrick Sharp warming up before the Champs for Charity game. - Spencer Tylin
The reason that it has taken me all day to post my recap of the charity game last night is because I couldn’t decide how I felt about it. It would be easy for me to come out and blast the game for how hokey it was, with Jesse Rogers interviewing all his idols from the 2010 team on the bench during play. It would be easy for me to blast what was called a hockey game but in actuality there was less effort than during the all-star game. Even before the game started my dad and I put the over under on goals at 20. We were way under.
But if you took it for what it was, a player who wanted to get a game together with some of his buddies and raise a little money, it was a complete success.
As you heard, Jenny McCarthy came down with a case of something, probably un-diagnosable, so Robbie Gould filled in apparently just awoken from a nap and dressed in a hoodie and jeans. Ryan Dempster was behind the other bench, which I guess made sense because he’s Canadian. He was dressed in his best Don Cherry suit impersonation.
Again if you don’t know who was there, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Adam Burish, Brian Campbell, Andrew Ladd, Troy Brouwer, Jake Dowell, Craig Adams, James Wisniewski, Joe Corvo, Jim Vandermeer and Craig Anderson played for the Chicago team.
The World team featured Ville Leino, Jordan Staal, Mike Brown, Antti Miettinen, Jared Boll, Bobby Ryan, Jamal Mayers, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Carcillo, Shawn Thornton, David Gilbert, Alex Goligoski, Ryan Suter, Kimmo Timonen and Niklas Backstrom.
I ended up having really nice seats, about 4 rows back in the corner, if you haven’t checked out my pictures you can view them here.
The reason I mention where my seats were, is because I was close enough to see the facial expressions on the guys near the benches and on the ice. They were having a great time. It was them out there doing what they love, giving some fans a chance to watch it and giving some money to charity.
They did have a little pregame speech about how the players were out there for the fans, because they want to play and miss hockey. It definitely made me feel like they were pandering for support, which they ended up getting from most of the audience but that was about the only mention of the lockout. Oh, and I heard that Donald Fehr was in attendance.
Like I said, as an actual hockey game, it wasn’t anything that would make you happy, I didn’t see any slap shots and the one check came from Carcillo on Wiznewski and it was more of a bump than anything, if I remember correctly. But all of this is to be expected. I didn't expect these guys to come out and play like it was game 7. But at least it was something. Carcillo also got into a scrap with Dempster getting pulled into the bench, but Dempster’s assistant coaches, who happened to be security guards from the Jerry Springer show, got in the middle of it and wrestled around for a few minutes. People laughed and cheered but it all felt scripted.
There were no penalties in the game. Well, no penalties served, if a penalty was called, instead of getting a power play your team got a penalty shot. Niklas Backstrom was tripped in his net in the third period and took his penalty shot and scored on Craig Anderson with a decent move.
Again, did it feel contrived at times? Yes, but it was to be expected.
People want to be mad at the players during the lockout but it’s not them in the negotiating room, its Fehr and Bettman. The players at the end of the day do miss the game and you could see that yesterday.
At the end of the night, the World team had won in a shoot-out but no one seemed to mind. I think the final was 15-14 World.
So, while it wasn’t playoff hockey, or even preseason hockey, it was hockey, and it was a chance to see the players we all miss. It was fun watching them smile and laugh and try nifty moves. They put out their little song and dance to make the fans cheer and for the most part it worked. But it just ended up making me miss hockey even more, think that these guys won’t back down and are prepared to dig in for a long winter. But whoo hoo for $323,500 for charity.