NHL “Mike Cammalleri”

It’s fun to get behind-the-scenes glimpses of sports stars, and new spots for the National Hockey League (via Young & Rubicam in New York) trade on that tendency as they show NHL players doing their off-season training. In an era of high-tech gym equipment, would you have guessed that a Montreal Canadiens player would keep in shape by tipping a huge tractor tire down the road over and over again? That’s what we see Mike Cammalleri doing here as the soundtrack has a radio commentator remarking on the Canadiens’ surprisingly good showing in last year’s playoffs and asking whether they were for real and can do more of the same this year. Because it departs from one’s expectations, the visual is more interesting than the soundtrack. But it’s the latter that builds up to the campaign’s theme line (displayed at the end in onscreen type), “Questions will become answers.” The phrase got my attention, I’ll admit, but at least in part since it seems like such an odd way of characterizing the way a fan looks forward to the resumption of a favorite sport. The statement is true, but it has an oddly clinical sound to it. I mean, you could say the same about your kid’s science-fair project, which isn’t necessarily something you’ve been looking forward to for months. –Mark Dolliver