Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No More All Star Games Please!

1) There was a lot of hoopla over the All Star starting lineup/fans selections announced this past weekend. Many showed faux-surprise when the Canadiens placed 4 of the 6 East starters. Of course anyone who has followed the process knew this was inevitable/condoned by the league. There were shenanigans pulled off by a few clever Habs fans to ensure their guys were voted in regardless of the fact that none of the 4 deserve such an honor. The league could have prevented this, as they did 2 seasons ago with the rory-fitzpatrick debacle. As is noted in that post, the NHL 'massaged' the numbers to prevent the journeyman defender from getting selected. The same could have been done here, but the league(Bettman) was fine with so many players from the host city (Montreal) getting selected despite the less than fair manner it took place. We're told that the league was fine as long as Sidney Crosby's starting selection wasn't in jeopardy.

2) Our take on that is; Who cares! The All Star game has become increasingly irrelevant. With the on set of the success of the Winter Classic, the All Star game has become less and less of interest to fans. As for the picks; that's what you get when you combine allowing fans to vote as much/often as they want (Chicago politics) with the idiocy/incompetence that is the NHL. The "honor" of starting is not like it was years ago. The real honor of selection takes place at the end of the season when the true All Star selections are made. Sure its nice to be selected, but few players have (are allowed with the new CBA) to get contractual bonuses for selection, so many might prefer to have the 3 days off in the middle of a grueling season instead.

3) As for the game itself; we have long said its a snooze fest! There is little that resembles true NHL hockey. Offense is the only talent that is allowed to be displayed with regularity. Little to no hitting, defense is spotty at best, and goalies also don't generally appear to be too interested in playing to their abilities. Its usually a double digit game. Die hard fans (who are the only ones who tune in usually) lose interest after the player announcements and 10 minutes of God-awful hockey. The league has tried all sorts of variations over the years from a North America-vs Europe, the traditional East-vs-West, to the Cup winner playing the All Stars. None have captivated an audience/generated any sustainable excitement/buzz. We maintain the ONLY possible way to make the game have any possible excitement was to have player stats count in the regular season AND to give a boat load of cash to the winners. Right now there is NO enticement for players to give anything near 100%

4) Even the "skills competition" which initially was well received/got increased fan interest, has seen its shine dwindle in recent years. However that all said anyone who believes we will see the end of the game as we know it you can forget it! Like in the other team sports, both the league and Players' Association want the event to continue. Too much money is involved to change that fact (surprised that's all about cash?) In fact, we're told cities and teams are still lining up to host it. Despite the bore, it does generate revenue for the host team/city. So we can all save a trip to see our Dr. for an Ambien prescription because the NHL All Star game is here to stay.


Jibblescribbits said...

The biggest downfall of the all-star game, in all sports, is that the only way they can be successful is if they celebrate the roots of the sport.

Basketball's remains popular because it feels like a school-ground game of hoops. The dunk contest and 3-point contest both serve to remind people that Basketball is born in urban areas, which tend to gravitate towards showy plays like dunks, and Indiana farms, where kids spend hours in their driveway shooting 3's. They have played to their base.

Hockey would be well served to make it a back-to-back with the Winter Classic, celebrating the roots of hockey, which is pond/outdoor hockey. Hold the All-star game the morning of New Years Eve at the outdoor rink erected for the Winter Classic and the game the next day. (Of course anyone in the game would be exempt from the All-star game).

blaine said...

The NHL might not be complicet in the Montreal bullshit but i agree that they coulda done something about it after the fact. It makes the game look stupid to have so many guys who aren't the best playing in a game thats supposed to show the best players

La Grenouille said...

Much of the anti montreal talk is from many who do not like franco phone people. i hear this all the time from the english. all the time complaining about this and that. We might not have the best player but we have one of the best team so we can't be all that bad, no? i can tell for sure that if this were a vancouver it would not be looked as a bad thing like it is here

Jibblescribbits said...

@ La Grenouille:

Your suggestion that people are upset that 4 players who are not 4 of the best players in the Eastern Conference is based on francophone animosity is preposterous. If it were about putting the best team out there, we'd have a sharks vs Bruins starting lineups with the Wings and Capitals starting lineups on the bench.

DexTer said...

Hey Grenouille, you are full of shit! I can't stand it when jerks like you hide behind race when the shit hits the fan. It wouldn't matter where this stupid game is taking place.
Its all about the wrong guys being voted on and the way they got voted in. I agree with Blaine that the NHL should have stepped in and corrected this crap. I does make them look stupid.


1) Jibble: On the surface we like your idea. WE all know it'll never happen as both events separately garner too much income to unite them.
2) WE agree about the 'roots' reason for the winter classics success. Finally, Bettman got one right! Hopefully they don't go to the 'golden goose' too often by scheduling multiple games each year, thus diluting the event status.
3) Blaine: Agreed that the NHL should have done something to correct the nonsense. As we wrote, they did it with Rory Fitzpatrick so they could have done it again!
4) Grenouille: Man, you are always welcome to chime in buddy. We welcome all view points, but you are way off base here. Please supply one bit of evidence to support your claim.
5) We don't doubt there is anti Franco-phone sentiment among some, but this backlash here is not based upon race but NHL stupidity
6) Dexter: See above.

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