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Morning Skate: The Force is with these Star Wars picks

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Morning Skate: The Force is with these Star Wars picks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while giving my two cents on the Last Jedi. There were some things I really, really liked about it. The action was well-done, it looked beautiful and there were some very cool surprises along the way. That’s as good as Mark Hamill has ever been playing Luke Skywalker, and I bought everything involving him. Rey continues to be a very strong character at the heart of the new movies. I even liked the Porgs. It definitely felt like a Star Wars movie in a way that the prequels absolutely did not, and so that’s a very good thing to start.

But some of the explanations and non-answers to burning questions from Star Wars fans was midichlorian-level disappointing, and the character of Rose is bound to become one of the most disliked since Jar Jar Binks. I just didn’t see much of a reason for her being in the story. The parts with her and Finn felt pretty unnecessary in general. There were a lot of attempts at humor throughout with some hits and some misses, and it feels like they didn’t learn any lessons from the way they under-utilized Captain Phasma in the Force Awakens.

All in all, as I said I mostly liked it and I think it will age well as people get used to some of the really eccentric choices Rian Johnson made with his 2 1/2 hours of storytelling. But I also understand why so many people straight up didn’t like it, or feel like the people controlling Lucasfilm are taking Star Wars in a path that’s making the things they originally fell in love with much less recognizable. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Kathleen Kennedy really pushed for one scene with Princess Leia that people have very mixed feelings about. That doesn’t really speak to me about what’s best for the story or the fans as much as it does about self-indulgence. If they go too far away from what people love about these movies, the diehard fans will end up walking away.

Here are my new rankings of the Star Wars movies including the Last Jedi:

1) Empire Strikes Back (accept no imitations, the GOAT).

2) A New Hope (The original will always be where the magic started)

3) Return of the Jedi (I just wish the Ewoks would have been Wookiees)

4) The Force Awakens (This had to be letter-perfect and it was)

5) The Last Jedi (The great sections of this movie make it worthwhile)

6) Rogue One (Proof there is life outside the Skywalker saga)

7) Revenge of the Sith (They should have titled it ‘Best of the Prequels’)

8) Phantom Menace (Worth it for the Pod race scene & the duel with Darth Maul)

9) Attack of the Clones (Some of the worst acting/dialogue in Star Wars history)

 *Speaking of Star Wars and hockey, kudos to this fan-created Bruins and Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster, and an interview with the biggest Star Wars fan that I know of on the Bruins, Brad Marchand.

*Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk says that the Sens franchise “could look good somewhere else.” How is that not supposed to aggravate Senators fans that are already on the fence about this struggling team?

*A great speech from former BU standout Scott Young as he was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame this past week.

*Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant reflects on his “disappointing” end with the Florida Panthers when he was unceremoniously fired.

*Jordan Eberle is adjusting to New York life both on and off the ice, and it’s fair to say it’s quite a departure from Edmonton living.

*For something completely different: What a bizarre, sordid story with the wife of Lorenzen Wright reportedly mixed up in the death of the former NBA player.


 

Morning Skate: NHL ref McCauley's unique style wins fans around league

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Morning Skate: NHL ref McCauley's unique style wins fans around league

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, watching a "Rocky" movie marathon on in the background. Good times.

*A good piece from SI about colorful NHL referee Wes McCauley, who was seemingly made for his job on the ice in stripes.

*Boy it really feels like the Ottawa Senators are laying the groundwork for defenseman Erik Karlsson to be traded, doesn’t it? Clearly, Karlsson is a special kind of player, but it begs the question behind Ottawa doing all this. Do they merely not want to pay him, or do they feel like he’s a tad overrated based on the adoration he gets from the fancy stats crowd. The truth might also be that if he was that much of a game-changing force, the Senators would consistently be better than they’ve been over the course of his brilliant, Norris Trophy-winning career. So the Sens might be looking to cash out before the inevitable decline begins to happen in his game, or the foot injuries begin to catch up to him.

*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s a podcast I did a guest spot on with FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan talking about what’s behind such a stunningly good season from the Boston Bruins. Always a pleasure talking hockey with Wysh and Emily.  

*Taylor Hall has been very effective for the New Jersey Devils in his second season there, and there are some good reasons behind it.

*In a big blow to the New York Rangers, puck-moving defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has been lost indefinitely to knee surgery.

*For something completely different: These days they do trailers for the seasons of animated "Star Wars" shows as well. I’ve been in and out on "Star Wars Rebels", but I’ve also been entertained whenever I’ve actually watched it.

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