Some thoughts on the NHL’s All-Star game

The All-Star game in recent years has become somewhat of a sideshow.

By Zachary Cormier

Remember when the National Hockey League’s All-Star Game used to be fun? When it used to feature the best players from the Eastern and Western Conferences battling it out on a Saturday afternoon?

The NHL doesn’t.

The All-Star game in recent years has become somewhat of a sideshow. The teams are picked in a sort of fantasy draft format like kids pick teams on a school yard. Goalies do interviews during play, there’s some sort of bizarre set piece every single whistle. It’s just a mess.

Basically the game itself has become little more than a pickup game of hockey played by the best players on earth, which sounds like a lot of fun and yet the game’s TV ratings have been plummeting in recent years.

The problem is that the players treat it like a pick up game. They simply do not care about the outcome, meaning they don’t put any effort in at all, making the game basically unwatchable.

But fear not, the NHL has a solution!

About a month ago, the league announced they would be replacing the traditional All-Star game with a three on three All-Star tournament.

So now, instead of the players just choosing teams like kids, which was kind of fun, they’ll be playing hockey like kids, which is somewhat less fun.

This is one of those decisions that just makes no sense to me.

The game’s ratings are falling because both the players and fans consider it to be too gimmicky. So what’s the solution?

Apparently doubling down and changing the rules of hockey completely to make it even more gimmicky.

I mean, I had my issues with the fantasy draft system. The fact the players are randomly mixed left me kind of puzzled as to who I should be cheering for.

But at least it was hockey.

For me, the All-Star game is supposed to be the best players going mono a mono in a real hockey game to see who is the best of the best.

It is not to watch Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Taylor Hall pretend to be enjoying themselves while playing 3-on-3.

For me, the NHL should have back-tracked. Bring back the old east-west games. The NBA and MLB both have very successful All-Star weekends and both run on an inter-conference or inter-league format because it gives the players something to identify with.

And make the game mean something.

The winning league of the MLB’s All-Star game gets the prize of home field advantage during the World Series. That’s a big deal, so the best baseball players in the world put everything they have into the game. It’s fantastic to watch.

If the NHL did something like that, I can’t help but think the players would actually want to show up without the NHL having to threaten them with suspension if they don’t.

It’s an idea that’s been put forward time and again and the response is always the same.

‘It’s a contact sport and we don’t want to risk injuring the star players,’ the critics say.

Hockey is a contact sport. Always has been and, hopefully, always will be.

Take the risk, or put it in the rules that the All-Star game is non contact.

But something’s gotta give because if I see one more All-Star game end 17-12 because the goalies checked out five minutes in I think I might burst.

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Most Read