Proteau’s Blog: Alex the Great turns comedian

• Line of the entire All-Star break goes to Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin, who was asked by TSN whether he planned to hit anyone during the notoriously contact-free game:

“Probably (my) teammate (Daniel) Briere,” he said.

Hockey, golf, humorÂ…is there anything Ovechkin does that he doesn’t excel at?

• I thought it was a shame Michelle Branch’s microphone conked out early in her band’s rendition of the U.S. national anthem Wednesday night at the All-Star Game. Then I heard her and her Wreckers partner sing one of their songs during the second intermission. Now I don’t think the pre-game mic miscue was nearly as much of a shame.

• Ron MacLean’s proposal for NHL conference realignment and expansion had some positives to it, but awarding Halifax a franchise before Quebec City or even Kitchener-Waterloo was not one of them. For a variety of reasons, those two cities deserve to be ahead of the Maritime city.

• A boatload of kudos to Oilers chairman Cal Nicholls for calling out Gary Bettman over the league’s failure to revise its schedule for next season.

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Nicholls was absolutely correct in saying the commissioner should’ve pressed owners harder for a change. Bettman certainly had no problem demanding unity when the topic was removing Bob Goodenow from the NHLPA.

• Jason Blake’s stick has landed the Islanders winger in a lot of trouble lately. First, it jabbed its way into Sidney Crosby’s gut before the all-star break. Then, it removed Roberto Luongo’s goalie mask in the All-Star Game. Whether it was an accident or not, I’d expect Blake to keep it firmly on the ice for the next while.

• Headline seen on Wednesday:

Boy’s voice ‘kills 400 chickens’

The boy in question wasn’t named. But, tellingly, Dominik Hasek Jr. refused to comment.

K, myself being a Michelle Branch fan. I must agree that it was a shame her mike cut-out. But her partner is to blame for the awefullness of their performance. I was able to pick out Michelles voice from the poor-pathetic-just-a-pretty-face-singer-of-a-partner
– Locky