NHL Admits Slam-Dunk-Contest Portion Of All-Star Skills Competition A Mistake
DALLAS—Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters Tuesday night that the addition of the first-ever slam-dunk contest to the NHL All-Star skills competition may have been "a big mistake." "Unfortunately, Jonathan Cheechoo severely injured his back and neck attempting his 360-degree, between-the-legs slam, and Sheldon Souray sliced Ryan Miller's back with his skate blade when he tried to hurdle over him to complete his dunk," said Bettman, who was initially angered when some of the biggest names in the NHL, notably Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, chose not to participate. "Joe Thornton is out for the season with multiple facial lacerations after his stick shattered the backboard, and Marian Hossa may have ended his career when he tried, and failed, to dunk from the blue line." According to Bettman, the most disappointing part of the dunk contest is that 5'10' Paul Kariya took 20 minutes to complete his rather marginal dunk and probably won the contest only because he was the shortest participant.