All-Star Bust

Luongo All-Star

It’s an opportunity for fans across the hockey map to witness their favourite stars all compete in the same game, so how come it means nothing to many?

The All-Star game is a classic, a tradition as some might call it, but over the years, it’s value has been deteriorating. Whether it be the lack of excitement generated by the league around this contest or the boring, non-purpose actions by both teams, this annual event just doesn’t have anymore pizzazz. 

The inresult? Well, a lack of interest by players voted or chosen to play in this game.

Case and point came Wednesday when Vancouver Canucks’ goaltender Roberto Luongo decided to withdraw from the match in order to rest up and spend time with his wife, who is expecting a child in April. Good for Luongo for realizing what a waste of his time it would be to attend, even if fans did vote him in. There was no life or death need for Luongo to be at the event held in Atlanta because the game serves no purpose. 

If the NHL decides to go the Major League Baseball route and use the All-Star game to decide the host team in the Stanley Cup finals, then maybe there might be more hype and participation from its players.

Not only that, but it just might draw more viewers since the game will actually bring out competition from both sides.

Gary Bettman and friends have swung and miss so many times on issues since his reign in the league that simple tasks – such as attracting audiences to watch the All-Star game – seems so difficult for his unintelligent brain. With an already failed promise of higher scoring this season, it won’t be a surprise to see the late January exhibition match end in a 3-2 result.

All Star Game

Previous experiments and tinkerings with the classic have left fans groaning at the mere mention of this match. The changes of formats only added confusion, while the dreaded camera-moving-ontop-of-the-glass was a bust. 

Get it right, NHL, or else more players won’t hesitate to politely drop out of the meaningless tilt. Make it worth something, make it exciting, make it so the players actually compete to win.

It’s pretty sad to think that the most interest generated for this game in the past few years was Rorygate. Yes, and that was all due to fan involvement, when they decided to make the NHL the brunt of their joke by nearly voting in Rory Fitzpatrick. (Note: Fitzpatrick finished third in fan online selection, behind Neidermayer and Pronger, who both did not play in the All-Star game due to injury.)

Fans are getting sick and tired of watching a non-contact, ballet-reflecting game of shinny, when the possibility of Sidney Crosby making a spectacular pass to Alex Ovechkin, who dangles around Chris Pronger before getting drilled by Dion Phaneuf, is not so far-fetched. How about a drive to the net by Joe Thornton, where he gets pushed into Martin Brodeur by Zdeno Chara, only to have Jarome Iginla follow up to jam in the rebound. Dreams like this can come true, if only the NHL head office decides to stop tip-toeing around changes that would make the game better.

Give the All-Star game a purpose. And maybe the fans will give the NHL some respect during that long weekend.

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6 Responses

  1. I dunno. The entire idea of an All-Star game is kind of self-defeating to me. The fact is, the players can’t take it seriously. If they did, they would injure one another. Can you imagine if on a yearly basis, some $5 million wonder was sidelined because of a physical All-Star game? Instead of having the occasional player sit out the match, the entire league would flee in terror!

    No, the All-Star game is and always has been a bit of a sham. It’s simply putting together the “best” players — which is debatable even then since quality is so often decided by the offensive numbers instead of other characteristics. Point in case: Some people pulled to have the Sedins in the match, but I personally would much rather see Kesler out there, and it has nothing to do with points.

    So, though I respect baseball for trying to give it some significance, I can’t really feel for the game. Oh, I’ll watch it… it’s a little bout of entertainment. But for hardcore fans, I think there’s no way it’s going to be the same as game seven of the Stanley Cup finals — no matter how much freedom you give the players!

  2. But being sidelined at the All-Star game would be the same as being sidelined in a normal regular season game if you give it a purpose. If they played so the winning conference would host the Stanley Cup finals, then players, especially those on contender teams, will play harder to win it.

    It’s a shame if an injury does occur, but it’ll be like Zetterberg getting injured on game 80 of the season, even though Detroit has first place cliched. Something like that, it’s tough luck, it’s the game. If players pull out of the game, afraid to be injured, then they can’t complain when, and if, their team reaches the final but they can’t host it even if they were higher in the standings. It gives the game a purpose, and it brings out the competitiveness of these star players.

    Hosting a playoff series can make a big difference when it comes to winning and losing, especially if you have a great record playing at home. I dunno, I just think all the zing has been taken out of this supposed-spectacular event, and it’s frustrating to watch it falter in audience, just like the ratings on all American hockey television.

    Hosea C

  3. Bettman is ruining the NHL, not running it. It’s time the board of governors step up and get rid of him…

    http://www.FireBettman.com

  4. I agree 100% that the game is meaningless, but I understand that players should have the right to opt out. I also think we should follow baseball (I cannot believe I just said this outloud) and make the game more meaningful. Injuries are part of the game and if they happen, they happen. You cannot argue that a physical all-star game would also liven it up and appeal to more fans in the USA.

  5. It’s a shame if an injury does occur, but it’ll be like Zetterberg getting injured on game 80 of the season, even though Detroit has first place cliched. Something like that, it’s tough luck, it’s the game. If players pull out of the game, afraid to be injured, then they can’t complain when, and if, their team reaches the final but they can’t host it even if they were higher in the standings. It gives the game a purpose, and it brings out the competitiveness of these star players.

    I can buy it, perhaps, but the purpose would have to be a heck of a lot more than just hosting the finals. No team in their right mind would risk missing the playoffs just for the off-chance that their star risking injury would win them an extra home game in the finals. Unless you gave it importance beyond all reason — like saying that the winning conference hosts all seven games — then I can’t see any team risking their stars’ health for the sake of the conference.

  6. An extra home game can mean all the difference to some teams. Would you rather be playing game 7 at home or away? Plus NHL teams get to keep all the attendence profits in the playoffs.

    I mean it’ll only be beneficial to one team, but hey, if you’re that one team, it’ll be worth it. It’s not like the All-Star game will be full of cheap shot artists. It’ll be superstars hitting each other, and I’m sure they get worse hits in regular season game. Injuries are always part of the game, and making the All-Star game more competitive means getting more people to watch.

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