All Star games – no need to actually play them!
With the NHL season in a precarious position due to negotiations and a looming lock-out one of the casualties of even a fairly short lock-out could be the annual All Star game slated for Columbus this time round. While I feel for the people of Columbus and the potential loss of revenue I can’t say I’ll be shedding too many tears.
The NHL should not play the all star game ever.
By all means name the top players in the league, preferably selected by a blue ribbon panel of knowledgeable hockey people and not by ballot stuffing fans, give them a bonus and have them spend a weekend in the selected city. Put on all the usual fun events that showcase in a light way the skills and talents of the players; races, slap shot power and accuracy contests, goaltending challenges, etc. But just don’t bother to play the game itself.
Some sports lend themselves well to exhibition games (which, after all is what the All Star game is) and others, not so much. Baseball for instance, notwithstanding the Pete Rose/Bob Fosse incident of 1970, is ideal for an All Star game as the level of body contact is lower than other sports (assuming we can rule out brush-back pitches and breaking up double-plays). So MLB should keep on with the midsummer Classic.
The NHL All Star game, with double-digit scores and essentially no body contact, does not represent the game as it is played during the regular season and play-offs
The NFL, NBA and NHL should all consider All Star events that illustrate these athletes, but don’t play the game.
However if the NHL feels it must play an All Star game then for God’s sake please don’t use it as a marketing tool. Showcasing hockey by broadcasting the All Star game on US television in an effort to gain new fans and therefore increase television revenues is like showing an NFL flag football game and saying it represents the actual “product”.