MONTREAL -- Hey, would you look at that: collector's items!
The Sidney Crosby jerseys weren't really moving at the Lay's NHL All-Star Jamboree extravaganza, which managed to jam hockey nostalgia, crass commercialization and at least three different booze stations for fans of all ages seeking to escape the glacial age temperatures in balmy Montreal.
The jamboree was split into two different areas.
The first was a large structure that housed autograph sessions, the NHL trophies, a couple of merchandise huts and the huge collection of skills competition games that fans stood on line to participate in.
Another one located at the Windsor near Bell Centre that had memorabilia and card sales, along with the Stanley Cup.
From today's fun around Bell Centre.
Where, again, it's really, really, really cold.
An annual tradition whenever we see the NHL's collection of postseason hardware: finding Jacques Martin's name on the Jack Adams, giggling and then sighing. You may have the same tradition with Jim Carrey on the Vezina and Andrew Raycroft on the Calder.
These are feet, captured in plaster casts so fans can compare. On the left are the feet of the Tampa Bay Lightning's Vincent Lecavalier, which seriously look like the size of small yachts up close. On the right are Jonathan Toews' ... uh, toes.
Not pictured: Joni Pitkanen's hands of stone.
This is a protest from a group outside Bell Centre, targeting CCM and Reebok for outsourcing jobs for cheap labor. And for charging over $170 for jerseys that probably cost less than an extra value meal at McDonald's to make.
One of the skills competitions from inside the fan jamboree. If it hadn't been for the Junior B goalie they're using tonight in the breakaway challenge, this cardboard cutout was probably the next option, barring the availability of Dan Cloutier.
"Boy, I'm really worn out from carrying all these cans of free Chef Boyardee they gave out at the jamboree."
"Here, Tommy, have some of this free Gatorade they're handing out."
"Yum! This is delicious, and will replace water in my daily intake of fluids!"
"And it has electrolytes, which are what plants crave."
In an attempt to capture and maintain a critical demographic, all fans under the age of eight at the jamboree were facially branded by NHL public relations officials.
One of the Bud Light refreshment areas at the jamboree. Or the answer to the question, "Mommy, where did daddy go?"
This is a Saku Koivu limited edition McFarlane Toys figure, on sale exclusively here at the all-star game for $15. Pretty damn cool, and the McFarlane representation in the merchandise pavilion drew a crowd.
This is an enormous Stanley Cup on display in the jamboree facility, right in front of where beloved brawler and Puck Daddy interviewee Dave "The Hammer" Schultz was signing autographs.
The actual Stanley Cup was over in another facility, and damn if a bunch of parents didn't allow their kids to grope and hug the thing, forever preventing their children from ever winning it.
Finally, here's a reminder why it's really OK for the NHL to continue staging events like this in Canadian or northern U.S. cities.