| Of Mice and Men
Time to end the All-star game Rat Race
|11/23/15 - By Ryan Hall -
Well, the NHL is at it again. Recently, they
announced that the All-Star game format would be changing in order to inject
some life and entertainment value into what has basically become a hollow and
empty exercise. The current plan calls for three 20 minute 'mini-games' of
3-on-3 hockey, with each division assembling a squad to take part in a single
loss elimination tournament. Basically, the winners of games #1 and #2 will
meet in game #3 for all the bragging rights.
Consider me not
It's not the 3-on-3 that bothers me, but rather that we are
getting further away from the whole point of this weekend: namely to give the
fans access to the players. Under the new format all the best scorers will make
the game, but what about players that excel at other aspects of hockey - such
as keeping pucks OUT of the net.
Can you imagine being a goaltender in
the all-star game now? Why even bother having them in there? Let's just dress
some local high school or college players and let them get eaten alive for 20
minutes by the non-stop odd-man rushes and breakaways.
By switching to
this new format the league has basically stated that the only real stars are
players that put up points. No matter how talented a defender you might be, we
want to see goals. No matter how skilled a goalie you are, we want to see you
get beat, and often. In essence, this effectively excludes any other skill set
besides scoring, which is a disservice to the game of hockey.
were to ask the league brass though, they'd say it's all about entertainment
value, and in that they are correct. It's time to stop trying to make the
all-star game mean anything (like MLB attempts), and to realize the players
don't bear any pride in representing their continent, conference, or division.
You think anyone is really excited that they'll be wearing a Pacific Division
jersey at the all-star game?
So, maybe it's time to stop with the gimmicks and just
have a game of hockey. Long ago the all-star game pitted the defending Stanley
Cup Champions versus the league's best, so why not bring that back? It's a nice
treat for the players that otherwise would never get that kind of exposure, and
it might make for a few interesting moments of television.
even be kinda cool to see if the defending champs could beat a team of
all-stars. If you think back a couple years, the Blackhawks and Kings would
have been almost even money to win, especially since they would have been
playing for their teammates and club - two things in which hockey players DO
take pride. Add in possibility of the host city being the defending champs, and
all of a sudden the possibilities begin to take off.
The other option
is to just give up on the whole idea of an all-star game and accept that the
only thing the fans want to see is the skills competition. In that case, why
not make it part of the January 1st Winter Classic event by having the
all-stars compete in the events in the early afternoon, and end the day with
the outdoor game between two traditional rivals.
Everyone would have
fun, and the NHL could stop wasting time and energy on something no one really
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