The Washington Times - January 26, 2008, 01:19PM
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\ Well, that is not totally true. Trying to get any work done at Philips Arena with a Jonas Brothers concert going on and about 5,000 young girls screaming every 30 seconds was not conducive, so I have moved to the media hotel. There was something resembling a morning skate this morning before some media availability with the all-stars. The Youngstars joined the big boys on the ice, and the “event” was emceed by Canadian hockey fan Taylor Kitsch, or Dillon Panthers fullback Tim Riggins to anyone who would recognize him.\ \ \ Nicklas Backstrom did not take part in the skate. A Caps spokesman said he has a sore foot and his skates were making it worse, so they sent him back to the hotel. Backstrom is expected to take part in the 3-on-3 YoungStars game tonight. It did seem suspicious that the only other player who missed the skate was fellow Swede Tobias Enstrom, who plays for the hometown Thrashers.\ \ \ There wasn’t much to the skate. It was mostly some light skating/shooting while Tim Riggins interviewed players and the mob of pre-teen girls warmed up their vocal chords. During the one drill I saw that looked like it had established lines, Alex Ovechkin was skating with Jason Spezza and Martin St. Louis. I hope John Paddock puts his five Russians (Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Markov and Gonchar) out there together at least once.\ \ \ After the Eastern Conference team was done it was interview time, which was done on the Atlanta Hawks prectice court. There was a big mob around almost every player, so it was hard to rank Ovechkin’s. This is one of those rare events where almost every famous member of the hockey media is present.\ \ \ Lastly, props to Usher for his New Look Foundation, which the proceeds from the morning skate/event will benefit. I saw him in a hallway doing an interview. Someone should have told him it is like 40 degrees and overcast today and he does not need those sunglasses (and I am not even factoring in the whole being indoors thing).\ \ \ Also, props to Alyssa Milano for well, being Alyssa Milano. She was helping Tim Riggins (who did not look like he had been beaten up by three meth dealers last night, by the way) emcee and was wondering around plugging her new hockey clothing line for women. It is hard to believe that Samantha Micelli is 35 years old. Alas, I fear she will never get the credit she truly deserves for her performance as Lily in Posion Ivy 2 (sorry, no links here, this is a family blog).\ \ \ UPDATE: There was some question about what events Alex Ovechkin would take part in during the SuperSkills competition. He will do the NBA dunk contest-style breakaway challenge and the hardest shot contest. He will not be doing the fastest skater contest like last year. Ovechkin joked the other day his big move in the breakaway contest would be a slapshot from the blueline.

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