The “All-Star” Game: Is It Worth It?

For those who don’t know, the NHL has implemented a new format for this year’s festivities, which includes a 3 vs 3 tournament consisting of 4 teams made from the “best” players from each respective division. With this implementation, the fantasy draft format that has been in place since 2011 has been scrapped. The game has become a joke, and changes need to be made to the entire system, that includes the god awful fan vote.

Around this time of year, I prepare myself for the stupidity of the fan vote by thinking about the various players that get in that don’t particularly deserve the honour, *cough, cough* Justin Faulk, and the obvious forthcoming snubs, *cough, cough* Max Pacioretty. I was looking at yesterday’s polls for the voting, knowing that I’d regret it, and then I see this.

Latest polls of all star votes

Latest polls of all-star votes

John Scott. JOHN SCOTT. Before you say, “it’s a joke by the fans, have a sense of humour, Ben”. I do indeed realize it is a joke, personally, I love it when the fans screw with the league. My issue is that the fact this is occurring makes it quite clear that something needs to change when it comes to the voting.

The National Hockey League has been turning the already meaningless game from a sense of accomplishment into a burden. Look, it’s a game for the fans, I get it, that doesn’t change the fact that the All-Star game is supposed to represent the best hockey has to offer. Furthermore, people who do the fan vote often enough to make a difference are most often just doing so to get their favourite players into the game. That needs to stop, let the writers decide, or better yet, the coaches and general managers, that would put an end to this nonsense. I don’t care if they want a representative from every team, if you don’t deserve a spot, you shouldn’t get it.

Even though I hate comparing two different sports, let’s compare hockey’s All-Star game to baseball’s. Major League Baseball’s All-Star game is the only version in professional sports that has some sort of meaning, as the winning side, be it the American or National, gets home-field in the World Series. While I’m not suggesting that the winner of the game in hockey should get home ice for the Stanley Cup Finals, I am suggesting that the game be worth something (more than the new winner-take-all $1 million prize).

The point I’m trying to make here is, what is wrong with the best of the Eastern Conference vs the best of the Western Conference featuring the best of the best players? Isn’t that the point of an All-Star game? The last time we had a classic All-Star game was 2009 at the Bell Centre, and this guy was the MVP.

Photo: Getty Images

The NHL is already statistically speaking, the least popular major sport in the United States and unfortunately, Gary Bettman needs those media outlets to grow the game. I won’t get into “Americanizing” the game, but turning the game into a sideshow won’t grow the game, no matter how much Bettman says it will.

Point is, keep it classic or you may lose the audience that actually watches the game every year. I don’t want the game done away with, but on its current path, that may be a reality.


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