One of the beautiful things about this series is the number of rabbit holes it leads you down when you’re doing research (aka watching YouTube videos). One video leads to another, then a suggested video pops up that leads to another video, until before you know it, a couple of hours have passed, kind of like watching soccer.
A few posts ago, @waffleboardsave posted a video of Cabbie Richards interviewing Stamkos in regards to JT Brown’s dance moves. In the beginning of the video they mentioned Stamkos shooting at drones and how it should be part of an All-Star skills competition. First off, thank you Cabbie for jinxing the season by assuming number 91 was going to be at the All- Star game in Los Angeles. Second, how long did it take to find the video of the aforementioned drone shooting? Answer, roughly five seconds.
It’s part of an ad campaign featuring Stamkos for Sport Chek (for the Americans reading, that’s a sporting goods store along the lines of Modells or Dick’s Sporting Goods). Since Stamkos is one of their top endorsers, he appears in several different spots for them, most of which I’m sure we’ll get to over the next 61 days.
The commercial opens up with Stamkos clad in a generic white jersey with his trademark 91 on it. He starts busting up traditional targets in the four corners of the net. He hits all four in four shots (not sure how many takes that required) and then the drones show up.
Stamkos, with a stack of frozen rubber pucks, starts firing at the hovering but stationary drones. It doesn’t take long (at least in TV time) for him to find the range. The first one, just a few feet off the ice, he nails.
After missing the one well off the ground, he goes after the first target and hits it again. Two more shots at the higher target miss, but on the third one he drills, not the target, but the drone itself.
Congratulations. You have a 25-foot goaltender’s perspective of a Steven Stamkos wristshot.
The commercial ends with Stamkos holding onto his vanquished foe and expressing his contempt for them with a dismissive, “I hate drones.”*
Even though he made it look easy, it does beg the question whether drone shooting deserves a place in the All-Star skills competition. As the years have gone by, the NHL has drifted away from specifically game-related contests to a more broad type of competition.
The NFL incorporated drones in their Pro Bowl challenges this year, dropping footballs from over 100 feet in the air. As much fun as it was to watch football players stagger around and attempt to catch a football hurtling to them at 50 MPH, watching NHL players take pot shots at moving targets would be even more exciting.
What do you think, should drone target practice be part of the 2018 NHL All Star game (if they even have one)?
*Wonder if Stamkos is a Hawk Harrelson fan with his “She gone!” comment.