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  • All-Star Game's 'Fantasy draft' a winner Print
    Columns
    Written by Justin Bourne   
    Wednesday, 10 November 2010 16:26

    Anyone who plays fantasy hockey knows that when captains pick the teams, the possibilities are almost endless. One possibility the NHL eliminated: Pretending that an All-Star Game should 'count.'

    Justin Bourne NHL scores The NHL All-Star Game is headed in the right direction.

    Spearheaded by Brendan Shannahan, the league has made some nice tweaks to this year's event, with the most crucial piece of information being this: The players are going to be picking their own teams, old-school style.

    It's a step away from throwing everyone's sticks in the middle, only more compelling.

    MIDWEEK MUSINGS
    Can't you just see Sidney Crosby standing at a podium, looking over the crew of remaining players while trying to find his fifth-round pick like it's fantasy hockey?

    As NHL.com's Dave Lozo suggested, how funny will it be when a captain makes his pick and someone chucks out a sarcastic "nice pick" and everybody snickers?

    The league is apparently trying to avoid a way to make anyone be the last pick, which is a touch too PC for my taste, but whatever. I love the concept.

    The NHL has made the smart decision to go the opposite way of Major League Baseball, where their All-Star game determines home field advantage in the World Series. Remember, the game is supposed to be a celebration of the league's finest talents, a way to honor what they've achieved up to that point in the season, and to entertain the fans by putting them all together for a good ‘ol game of puck.

    There are those who disagree, and would like to see the game have more of a competitive spirit. But the effort to force the game to "matter" – to make the NHL's most valuable members put on their serious face and pretend to care about a game while the league's lesser-thans get to rest and heal – is unnecessary and unfair.

    The effort to force the All-Star Game to "matter" is both unnecessary and unfair.

    When you've put in the hard work necessary to get voted in, you deserve the chance to enjoy a weekend of recognition without being asked to get back into the trenches.

    I was a part of the 2007 ECHL all-star game in Stockton, California where they attempted to make us really try. They sent a coach or a scout or someone into the dressing room, who called for everyone's attention.

    "Look guys, this isn't a lollygag-around game of shinny. There are NHL scouts here, and they want to see what you can do. If you're a physical player, play physical. If you're a defender, defend."

    The concept there is fine, but when he left the room everybody chuckled.

    The only thing you can showcase in a non-serious game is skill. If you took a serious run at someone, you'd immediately lose the respect of the other 40 best players in the league. Again, it's worth noting: It's an All-Star game.

    It's not playoffs, it's not the regular season. Hell, it's not even the preseason.

    We don't need to fabricate excuses to make these guys care. They put their health on the line enough times a year and everyone else has their feet up for those couple days.

    The NHL has recognized that they can have some fun with this game. By incorporating the televised captains' draft, they've embraced it and are showing some personality and a penchant for fun. I'm more excited for that event than I am the game.

    Well played, NHL.

    Photo by Getty Images

    Comments (2)

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    So is it still going to be the public picking the Captains or will it be all "inside"?
    Deirdre , November 11, 2010
    avoiding making someone be the last pick
    Does the league think that these guys (who were selected as the best of the NHL) really can't handle being the last pick? There are a ton of players who don't get picked for the all star game at all so is it really that embarassing/insulting to be the last pick from an elite group of players? It would really be hilarious if the captains agreed to leave someone like Crosby til the last pick.
    Minnesotagirl71 , November 11, 2010

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    Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 17:46