One week from tonight the NHL will put on view for hockey fans in this country and Canada, its plan to make the All Star Game more exciting. However, this will probably convince more hockey fans they should just cancel the All Star Game entirely.
The biggest problem with the game is it isn’t hockey. It isn’t even a pickup game on a neighborhood frozen pond. There’s no hitting and there’s no defense and you wonder why any goalie would ever want to play in this game. Hockey fans know that and many of them, myself included, will either watch very little of the game or skip it entirely.
The league tried to come up with a new wrinkle to make it more exciting, a Fantasy Draft. Two captains have been selected, Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom, and their job will be to put together the rosters that will meet in the January 30thevent. The draft will be held on the night of the 28th and televised live by Versus. There’s an element of cuteness to the idea and I will watch at the start of the event out of curiosity. But at the end of the day, the NHL is still left with the same problem, the game itself. Sure, you might find it interesting if Patrick Kane and Alexander Ovechkin are on the same line since that couldn’t happen in the old East vs West format but that will only hold your interest for so long.
Honestly for me, the most interesting and entertaining part of All Star Weekend is the Skills contest.I like watching the breakaway challenge, elimination shootout, hardest shot and accuracy contests. In addition players are miked up and you can hear the give and take going on down on the ice during the competitions.
Its time the NHL realizes they should scrap the All Star weekend entirely. You can just let the season go on uninterrupted except in years where they take a break for participation in the Winter Olympics. That is a much better hockey experience and marketing tool for the league. Maybe they can try a mini Olympics instead of the All Star Game where you can pick 4 countries to play over the course of a week with the U.S. and Canada always 2 of the 4 countries involved and you can rotate the other 2. You would play the other 3 countries in the opening round and the 2 best meet for a 1 game championship. Anything is better than the All Star Game, even with the Fantasy Draft.