Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Mom Thinks I'm Cool!

I think it's more or less become the general consensus that the NHL All-Star Game is a joke. The truth is, everybody already knows the players would rather be taking the week off to chill at a beach or something rather than play on a team with people that they probably dislike. There's not as much physicality, not as much finesse because nobody cares. You're not going to go out and give it your all in a game that doesn't mean diddly-squad and risk getting an injury that might sideline you.

But I suppose we can look at it from a different perspective. The League will tell you that they're doing it for the fans because really, what's wrong with the concept of putting some of the best players together in the league and seeing what they can do? It really is a double-edged sword with the whole concept though. In Major League Baseball, the winning League of the All-Star game is guaranteed home field advantage during the playoffs but I don't think anybody likes the idea of losing out on home stadium advantage in the playoffs all because of one game, thereby discounting anything they did in the regular season. It's a shame that the product you see during the All-Star game from the players is never at the standard that you would expect from your super-star players, but you can't blame them when they really don't have any reason to give 110%.

Really, in the end, it's a way for the League to make some extra cash and for that I'm not going to blame them because we all know maintaining a professional sports team costs money and the National Hockey League is floundering in the States. However, this method only works if people actually show up and watch the All-Star Game or buy their paraphernalia or whatever. The thing is, the All-Star gear is incredibly ugly this year and the game is held in Dallas.

I will say this though, I think this year's All-Star Game will be a success all because of one, Rory Fitzpatrick. The fans discovered a flaw in the system and they exposed it, instead of the League or mediots getting all up-in-arms about the whole thing, they should learn from this and make the necessary changes. However, considering how much publicity this whole campaign got, the League couldn't have bought better publicity. Fitzpatrick was on ESPN talking about the campaign for crying out loud, and ESPN usually hates hockey like it's the red-headed stepchild of major sports.

The whole campaign is a little bit unfair to Fitzpatrick. He never wanted any of this attention and he was faced with the difficult decision of whether or not he should actually go or not. He knows that he's not up to the calibre of a Lidstrom or Niedermayer but if it's what the fans want, how can he say no? Frankly, Niedermayer or Lidstrom would hardly give a rats-arse if they make it or not. The players enjoy the honour of being named an All-Star but when it comes to actually wanting to play in the game, do they actually want to play in this thing?

To be honest, I hope Fitzpatrick goes. He can skate on the ice during the warm-up, line up for the anthems or the league should pay for his ticket and he can sit in a nice cushy press box. He deserves to be there as a thanks for all of the coverage he brought the whole thing and for his sake he shouldn't play because his deficiencies will just become all the more obvious compared to the high calibre players that are there.

Critics of this campaign need to chill the heck out about the fans making the All-Star game seem like a joke when everybody already knows it's a joke. Mediots like to claim that being chosen an All-Star is a badge of honour but not even the players wear it like it is when they show up for the game.

There are some aspects of the game I enjoy though. I love the Superskills competition simply because it's alot less informal and it gives the players more of a chance to showcase their individual talents. I love the interactions between the players in the All-Star game itself because it's rare to see some of these players play together. It showcases old and new talent so while the concept is good, the execution is flawed. One thing is for sure, you won't be seeing unlimited online fan voting come next season.

But if you can, who do you think we should push next year?


Objectionable Conduct said...

Corey Perry. He's a future All-Star according to talent scouts, and he really doesn't need to spend that week in London boozing with Danny.

Jordi said...

A bag of pucks.