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.