Thursday, January 04, 2007

Let's Get Ready to (Somewhat Sorta Kinda) Rumble!

I'll admit it, I'm actually a huge fan of the All-Star Game.

I know that as a real hockey fan I should hate it - there's no hitting, no fighting, no goalie duels. To call it a hockey game is a gross exaggeration. And it's true, I rarely remember anything specific about the game once it's complete.

But still, there's something so entertaining about the whole thing to me. I love watching the players just relax and be themselves. They may bitch and moan about how they'd rather be resting with their families, but I dare you to find a sour face on the ice once the festivities get underway. I just love the spectacle of it all, mic'ed up players trash-talking, sticks being thrown in the way of goals, a skills competition pitting the best against the's all fun.

I know the voting is a joke and the players most deserving of a trip to the game sometimes don't get in, at least not by virtue of a fan vote. Jaromir Jagr will be selected every year because he's Jaromir Jagr, regardless of whether he scores 5 goals or 50. Let's face it, though, does it really matter? It is after all just an exhibition game, an opportunity for the fans to see their favorite players skate with the greatest players in the game.

I find it strange when players turn down the opportunity to go or when they say they hope not to get voted in. I get that it's a long hard season and you have to take advantage of every break you can get. But this should be considered an honor, to get to do something just for the fans. And aren't these the same guys who fly halfway around the world to play in the Olympics for two weeks? National pride or not, it's a competition (for amateur athletes, might I add) that means nothing in regards to their actual career - in fact, it's even worse than the All-Star Game because in the Olympics they're playing 100% and are risking injury with every shift.

These guys get paid exorbitant amounts of money to play a game, and most of them are retired by age 40. What's the harm in taking a few days to put on a show for the fans, no matter how little it may reflect the game itself? It's all in good fun...

Admit it - anytime you've got Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Daniel Briere skating on the same line, it's worth tuning in for. :)


Jordi said...

I think hockey players have a certain extent of selfishness that fans sometimes forget. Like how certain players flee from autographs, some actually don't want to do charity unless it's for PR purposes. With the All-Star game, it kind of reminds me of how in one forum, a guy was working with the cameras for the Cup finals and chatting around. One person asked why couldn't they make an enjoyable intermission with activities or appearances with players. The cameraguy mentioned that there used to be a time where a team would put on skills shows of sorts for the crowd - but then stopped after the players started demanding too much money.

And then fans are starting interpret the reluctance to participate in the All-Star game as a need to rest up for "more important games". I'm pretty sure the players wont be training then.

Heather B. said...

Jordi: In fairness to the players, they probably won't be training during those 5 days because they want to rest i.e. do nothing but hang out and sleep. And it's a long season so I certainly can't blame them for that.

But I hear what you're saying and I agree. Most of the guys don't play that much time in the game and it's not like anyone is skating as hard as they can or hitting at all. Seems like fun and relaxation to me.

Did not know players used to do skill shows. That's awesome! My favorite part about going to training camp/open practices is watching the guys just goof around and try to do stupid things like shoot from one end to the other or flip the puck up with their stick and bat it into the net. Good fun!