Thursday, January 12, 2012

On the Topic Of the All-Star Game

So we're at the time of year where the All-Star Game is the next big thing on the NHL schedule. For years, people have been clamoring to see the NHL stars of today on one big stage and for them to play a competitive game with nothing more than pride of their conference on the line.

It was hard to write that without breaking up laughing.

But the ASG is a time-honored tradition that really has no way to actually quit or have a big meaning to it all. The weekend has two gimmicks leading up to the game-- the "Fantasy Draft" and the Skills Competition-- which get a lot more heat than the actual game itself. In fact, the only good things in the past couple of years that the NHL has done with the game is to have fans only pick the top-six rather than 12 and then have the fantasy draft.

If this was a legitimate thing, you'd have to think that four Ottawa Senators-- who are hosting the event this year-- wouldn't be in the starting line-up, in fact; they may not even be starters at all. Hell, four Sens is a stretch when it comes to the game. This just shows how stupid fan voting is. The "starters" of the game are all Eastern Conference players and represent three teams.

Also, if you wanted a true ASG, you wouldn't have to have all 30 teams represented. That's a great idea to have every team recognized in the biggest major event in the NHL schedule, but if there's a team that doesn't warrant it (because there's a few); they don't deserve to be there.

Yet, the All-Star Game format is one that almost needs to happen for a league to have some kind of legitimacy, I suppose. However, I think the concepts that have the best way is MLB, who has the winner get home-field advantage in the World Series, and the MLS, who has their All-Stars play an elite European team and string up interest in their sport that way.

However, the NHL is a league that is going to get their sport out there by promoting the big name stars, even if they don't deserve to be there-- like an Alex Ovechkin type, who isn't having a great year, but is still a big name and will be needed to be used when it comes to hyping the game up because of his recognition in the mainstream. There's probably plenty of guys who are more deserving than Ovechkin, but he'll get their spot because of the fact he's more noticeable.

The game itself is just a glorified pond hockey game with little flow to it and little meaning to it all. There's really no way to fix the game itself and it's meaningless quality because it would be too much of a risk if they were to play in a game against a team from overseas or to make some kind of home-ice situation, because that would make the whole regular season achievements moot and take away from the real thing.

That said, it's not something you can just take out. It's something for the fans and allows another adventure for people to go to that's not the Draft and allows them to see a game, as well. Considering the game is in Ottawa, of course they'll vote four Senators into the starting line-up, because they want to see their guys in their building. Plus, it's a popularity contest, so whoever the fans want-- the fans will see. The NHL will cater to guys, even if it's not technically correct.

For the people bitching about it, I agree to an extent. However, it's a necessary evil for a "major" league to be considered relevant. If you don't like it, don't watch it. Because I know I won't most likely.

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