Photo credit:Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
The league needs to add more pride to being an All-Star
1 month ago
The NHL’s decision to allow nobodies into the All-Star game dampens what involvement in that event should genuinely mean.
This year’s All-Star game is in Toronto, the biggest market in the league, and the NHL is again sending a representative from each team. Enough is enough. Many argue that the All-Star game is pointless and that you shouldn’t watch it. That may be because the best players don’t go to the event.
The NBA has the best All-Star weekend because they don’t hesitate to put their best on display. The dunk contest makes headlines every year, no matter who is involved. Mac McClung won the dunk contest last season, and you probably have no idea who that is because he’s played four NBA games. While McClung is a nobody in the NBA, he was entered to demonstrate his unique skillset because he’s one of the best at it.
The full competition on the official NBA YouTube channel now has 10 million views. The NHL’s entire skills competition didn’t even hit a million views on the same platform, headlined by Connor McDavid, Cale Makar and Alex Ovechkin – future Hall of Famers.
On Thursday, the NHL announced its “All Stars,” headlined by your typical faces: Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Sidney Crosby, etc. However, the number of players not listed because of the one-player-per-team rule must be revised.
Artemi Panarin, William Nylander, JT Miller, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, Elias Petersson, Jesper Bratt, Jake Guentzel, and Leon Draisaitl are all top 20 in league scoring and are currently not All-Stars. Of course, the fan vote could lead to many of those stars heading to Toronto. However, Boone Jenner, who is 202nd in league scoring, is packing his bags and heading to Toronto with his 13 goals and 18 points — All-Star calibre stuff from him.
Being an NHL All-Star should mean something. Of course, it shouldn’t mean as much as the All-Star teams announced at the end of the season, but there should be some pride in being selected for the weekend mid-season.
When the teams are announced, the message on social media is that people shouldn’t care about who is on the team and that it doesn’t matter. Well, it doesn’t matter because the NHL has made it that way by not investing the proper measures into what could be a standout weekend.
The league can only do so much with the game itself, but to give credit, the new skills competition format is likeable, and everyone loves the draft. Highlights will come from the weekend, but the best players should be there without the fan vote.
The NHL needs help understanding what a best on best means at the All-Star level and internationally. One day, the league can reach a point where they put their best players on display.
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