Morning Skate 131: Good and Bad from Carolina

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Morning Skate 131: Good and Bad from Carolina

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

RALEIGH, N.C. Now that its over and in the books, we can take stock with a little whats good and whats bad about NHL All-Star weekend in its latest form down in Hurricanes country.

It was largely a successful weekend with the turnout of Carolina Hurricanes fans and the great southern tailgating atmosphere outside the RBC Center prior to the game a wrinkle that 'Canes fanes have brought with them from college football and inserted them into hockey, where many traditional markets dont have the space or setup for it.Heres a quick breakdown:The Good: The NHL fantasy draft was an unmitigated hit and is something many of the other sports could learn from with their own over-hyped exhibitions. The fastest skater competition and hardest shot competition continue to be the stalwarts of the SuperSkills Challenge portion of the weekend. The goalie race was six different flavors of awesome. Carolina proves that a Sun Belt southern team can host an All-Star weekend and do it with the same effectiveness as the traditional markets. The Fan Fair portion of the events hosted by Carolina was excellent.The Bad: Much of the SuperSkills competition dragged and didnt really captivate. The All-Star Game on Sunday continues to be a gigantic bore with no real effort or intensity the two things that normally define what good hockey is all about. The NHL completely botched the media access portion of the event by allowing only red carpet type access to the players, which means that outlets spent good money to get access ranging only slightly higher than what the paparazzi receives. That needs to never happen again unless the NHL is happy with nobody covering them. Two words: Clay Aiken. Two more words: Guardian Project.On to the links: An interesting NHL player poll done by CBC and the NHLPA which reveals, among other things, that Zdeno Chara has the most fearsome slap shot on the planet, and that players really, really dont want to play for the Islanders. A really sad story about Rhode Island native and Harvard hockey alumnus Tommy Cavanaugh, who seemed to have everything but was battling serious mental illness throughhis entire life to a tragic end. Suddenly Mike Felger has developed some remorse and pity for Phil Kessel? Interesting he does thiswhen his NHL peers didnt seem to extend that kind of empathy orunderstanding during the drafting process. Bill Meltzers take at hockeybuzz.com on potential second-half shake outs for some Eastern Conference teams. The AHL All-Star game is in Hershey, a great hockey stop and an excellent place for the minor league hockey world to convene for the week. Jamie Arniel will participate in the skills challenge and All-Star game while representingthe Providence Bruins. A few more All-Star thoughts from Friend of Haggs (FOH) Yahoo! Sports hockey blogger Puck Daddy now that the weekend has come to a close. The Daddy battled marvelously despite a head cold that plagued him throughout the events. Fellow FOH Craig Custance from the Sporting News says that some of the other Southern Fried hockey teams could learn a thing or two from the Carolina Hurricanes franchise.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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Friday, Feb. 24: 'Slap Shot' turns 40

Friday, Feb. 24: 'Slap Shot' turns 40

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while always holding a special place in my heart for Dickie Dunn as my favorite "Slap Shot" character. If Dickie Dunn wrote it, then it must be true.

*The ESPN hockey crew puts together some of their best scenes and favorite lines from "Slap Shot" as the movie hits 40 years old. I was first introduced to Slap Shot in my high school years and I liked it for the Hanson Brothers as much as for anything else, but that is a movie that just gets better and better every time I watch it. And I’ve watched it dozens and dozens of times. God bless Paul Newman for agreeing to lend his Hollywood star power to such a crazy, hilarious and raucous love letter to hockey.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Brian Wilde is recognizing the limitations of the Canadiens even under new coach Claude Julien.

*Bryan Bickell is stepping even closer to a return to the Carolina Hurricanes as he battles through his MS diagnosis.

*Kevin Shattenkirk apparently turned down a sign-and-trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, and also turned down a chance to get dealt to the Edmonton Oilers last summer as well. I think the Blues D-man has a short list of teams he wants to sign with as a free agent, and neither one of those teams is on the list.

*Darren Dreger weighs in on Shattenkirk as well, and the price tag of a top prospect, first-round pick and NHL player for the puck-moving rental D-man seems very excessive.

*Things are coming to a head with Evander Kane and the Buffalo Sabres as he takes his play to a high level in Buff over the last few months.

*Interesting piece on Ed Snider’s daughter becoming an advocate for medicinal marijuana after his father’s health battles.

*For something completely different: Looks like a new season of "The Voice" coming our way.