All Star Ballot Makes No Sense, Neither Does Actual Game

Let the popularity contest begin, and the rest of us will continue to talk about things that matter like the actual NHL season. Because you know what time it is? It's time for the 2012 ALL STAR FAN BALLOTING presented by Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

You know what? Who even cares? Does anyone really care about the ASG? Probably Ottawa does because of the publicity, but you, as a hockey fan; is it worth it?

We've went over this before, with the NHL trying these dumb gimmicks to make more fans. Last year they made a superhero for every NHL franchise. Remember? I even analyzed every one of them because it was more fun than watching the game! Remember the Leafs' tree man

Almost as amusing as I find this year's all star ballot. First and foremost, I think we need to rename the All Star Game the "Most Popular Players the League Chooses" Game. Gone are the days where the best players in the game took stage, and now we have a bland, uninteresting corporate sponsored mess of a 'game'. We can't even call it a game; there's nothing to play for, it means nothing, and now everyone is going to be alright with being picked last because Phil Kessel got a car last year.

In a perfect world, the best players would play. And if there was no one from a particular team because they weren't good enough; too bad. None of this 'every-player-from-the-Habs-and-Pens-starts' crap.

The All Star Game is a popularity contest, there's no doubt about that. So, for the sake of caring about the game of hockey, I'm going to pretend like I'm trying to pick the best players in the game to be in Ottawa. Look at this ballot:


Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs
Nikolai Khabibulin, Edmonton Oilers Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars Tomas Vokoun, Washington Capitals
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes

Jay Bouwmeester, Calgary Flames Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks John-Michael Liles, Toronto Maple Leafs
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs
Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins Chris Pronger, Philadelphia Flyers
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks
Alexander Edler, Vancouver Canucks Sheldon Souray, Dallas Stars
Tobias Enstrom, Winnipeg Jets Marc Staal, New York Rangers
Sergei Gonchar, Ottawa Senators Mark Streit, New York Islanders
Mike Green, Washington Capitals P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators
Jack Johnson, Los Angeles Kings Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers
Ed Jovanovski, Florida Panthers Lubomir Visnovsky, Anaheim Ducks
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks Ryan Whitney, Edmonton Oilers
Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins Marek Zidlicky, Minnesota Wild

Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs
David Backes, St. Louis Blues Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars Milan Michalek, Ottawa Senators
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets
Danny Briere, Philadelphia Flyers James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins
Mike Cammalleri, Montreal Canadiens Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Jeff Carter, Columbus Blue Jackets Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens
Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres
Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers Mike Ribeiro, Dallas Stars
Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils Brad Richards, New York Rangers
Loui Eriksson, Dallas Stars Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings
Tomas Fleischmann, Florida Panthers Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks
Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks
Michael Grabner, New York Islanders Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals
Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks
Dany Heatley, Minnesota Wild Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
Milan Hejduk, Colorado Avalanche Ryan Smyth, Edmonton Oilers
Nathan Horton, Boston Bruins Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators
Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins
Jaromir Jagr, Philadelphia Flyers Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks Paul Stastny, Colorado Avalanche
Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs John Tavares, New York Islanders
Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils R.J. Umberger, Columbus Blue Jackets
David Krejci, Boston Bruins Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres
Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg Jets Ray Whitney, Phoenix Coyotes
Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings
Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins

Ok, what? First of all, Sidney Crosby? For serious? He hasn't even played a game yet! That's really all I need to prove this game is a farce, but I'm having too much fun. R.J Umberger from the two win Blue Jackets, does that make sense? How about Eric Staal, who's struggling mightly. Jeff Carter? Hurt the whole year. Henrik Zetterberg? Five points all year. Tomas Fleischmann.... who? I actually laughed when I saw Martin Brodeur and Jaroslav Halak on there over goalies like Jimmy Howard and Josh Harding. What do you have to do to play in this game?

This ballot thing really takes away from the game. There needs to be a different way of doing it, but do I care? I don't care. I missed the game last year and I probably will again this year. It's a waste of time and it's for the NHL, who need their fix of commercialism/gimmick to try and get new fans to watch. That'll work; here, current NBA fan, watch this exciting game of the Most Popular NHL players skate at 25% speed and do absolutely nothing exciting. Watch the skills competition, you might see some really crazy goals, because that's what it's all about. Who can pick the puck up, bat it out of the air and into the net, that's what hockey is about. Not about smooth skating, hard hits and grind-it-out goals. Not the thrill and adrenaline of playoff hockey.

Just the stupid, dull, monotonous tone of crickets inside Scotiabank Place. Tell me when it's over.

Kyle Busch 


George Prax's picture

Every year, the All Star Ballot comes out, and every year, we go through this. For someone who couldn't care less about the ASG you sure seem to be complaining about it a lot. I don't know what's so hard to understand. First of all, the ballot isn't for just the first 15 games of the season, it clearly goes back to last season. It would make no sense to base it on hot October starts and nothing else, considering a lot of those players end up cooling off by the time the game rolls around.

Secondly, it's a showcase of the league's best talent. Even if Eric Staal is struggling, he's still one of the best players in the game and fully merits balloting based on his track record, same for the injured Sidney Crosby. How do you think casual fans might feel if they didn't see Crosby on the list, or worse, fans in Carolina if their best player wasn't on the list, regardless of whatever kind of October he had?

Thirdly, YES, there should be a representative from every team. You seem to have the point of the all star game confused with something that doesn't exist. The point of the ASG is to push the product to casual fans and to have a showcase for people who might not watch games very often. If someone from Columbus, Ohio tunes into the game or checks out the ballot online and doesn't see anyone from his team there, he's a little less likely to tune into a Jackets game, regardless of how they're playing. Moreover it's a little hypocritical for you to say you'd rather see the flatout best players play, but then also say that you don't want to see the starting rosters filled with players from just two teams. What if the best players are from those teams?

Hockey, as a sport, definitely is about hard working, good hockey, speed, and playoffs. Why does the All Star Game need to be about that, when it would benefit everyone involved for it to be something else?

It really grinds my gears when people complain about the all star game. No one's forcing you to like it or even watch it. It serves a purpose and it's a fun weekend for everyone involved and for the people watching who aren't spending every waking moment focusing their hate on it.

Isles4fornow's picture

Even when that b1tch Crosby is selected he is too good to attent the all-star game!! Its all bull.....throw a pile of sticks into the middle of the ice and lets draw the players and teams that way!!

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

That's what got me riled up! And it seems I hit a nerve with George lol. I did say we go through this every year. My point is that people don't watch the All Star Game no matter what they do, so why not put all the best players together and make a game? I want to see the players in there that deserve it. The fact that Harding isn't in there is stupid. Just because he's technically a backup shouldn't mean anything.

George Prax's picture

The problem is that you're asking for the best players to go in, but what's the consensus on who the best players are? No matter who they pick there's always going to be people who are going to be upset. It's a ridiculous standard and its hypocritical.

It's also hypocritical that you demand that Josh Harding be there, then say that they should go with the best players. Do you sincerely think that Josh Harding is as good as his stats (OVER FIVE GAMES)? Harding always has good stats, but he's a back-up. He fills a role. It doesn't make him the best goalie in the league, and it doesn't make him deserve a spot in the All Star Game.

But hey, let's have an All Star Game based on stats for only one month of the season. THAT WOULD MAKE SO MUCH MORE SENSE.

People don't watch the All Star Game Kyle? The ratings were up 33% last year.

And bitching about Crosby? Are you serious? The guy's coming off a year-long concussion injury, if he refuses to play in the all-star game, he has every right to, but it doesn't mean he doesn't deserve to be considered, he's still the league's biggest star.

Rob McGowan's picture

My argument is that the majority of the time the "popular" players in the ASG are popular because they ARE the most talented ones. Sean Avery is pretty popular amongst the league and it's fans (and even non-fans) not because of his skill but because he's a punk who commits dumb stunts on the ice or says stupid things to the press. Trust me...he's not going to be in any all-star game anytime soon. So you can't just say the players in the ASG are there based on popularity alone.

Crosby won't be in it this year. He'll be on the ballot, but there's no way he will get there unless he starts kicking ass when he starts playing and only if that is in the near future (that's just my guess by the way, but I could be wrong, he could still be thrown in because the average person thinks of Crosby when they think of the NHL).

But all in all, it's just a weekend for fun. I don't see the reason in getting all worked up about it. It's meant for marketing and attracting fans, and in a year where the NBA is in a lockout, marketing and gaining new fans should be something the NHL hits hard this year.

George Prax's picture

You're wrong, Josh Harding playing in a meaningless all-star game clearly trumps promoting the NHL as a whole.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

Listen, I didn't mean to ruffle any feathers, but seriously, it should be the best players from THIS YEAR. Just because Martin Brodeur is a legend shouldn't mean he gets a free pass. I'm saying Harding has stats worthy of being in the game because he deserves it. And just because Crosby is the best player in the game (I can admit that), he hasn't played and shouldn't be on there.

George Prax's picture

But what gives you the right to qualify the best players as the ones who had good Octobers? Think for a second. The maximum number of games any of these players played by the time the ballot came out was, what, 15 games? How is that indicative of how any of these players are going to play for the rest of the season, or frankly even leading up to the All Star game in January?

Harding DOES NOT DESERVE TO PLAY IN AN ALL STAR GAME. That's like saying a 4th liner deserves to be in the game because he leads the league in hits. He's a relief goaltender who's played well in the games he's been in. Like I said, he's not going to have those kinds of stats in January. Five wins does not make you a top six goalie in the league, which is exactly what you're suggesting.

And IT SHOULD NOT BE THE BEST PLAYERS THIS YEAR. Again, what gives you the right to decide that? What about the players who played well in February through April, and then in the playoffs? Why shouldn't they have a chance to play in the game, just because they possibly didn't have the best starts to the season? Just because Josh Harding had 5 good games?

I'm willing to agree to disagree on Crosby because it's a special case, but the fact that you're arguing that a back-up goalie with a hot start should play in a fucking all-star game is completely mind-boggling.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

I don't have a right to an opinion? I'm saying how I would like it. How about Howard. Does he deserve to be there? He's been lights out for a while now; not on the ballot. I think the problem is there isn't a clear cut point of the game. Would you like to see something like how the MLB does it? Because I like how that game means something.

George Prax's picture

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, just not when that opinion is to essentially put a back-up among the top 6 goalies in the league Tongue

As for Howard, you got me there, they made a mistake. I didn't say it was perfect but there are a lot of factors to consider, not just who had a good October.

And the point is to celebrate hockey and promote it to non-fans and the like. Maybe it would be better if there was a point, and i like the way the MLB does it, deciding who hosts the World Series, but there would be a lot of teams against that I think. They're on the right track though, last year's was the best ASG weekend in a long time.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

Maybe I'm basing my judgements on other all star games. Like I said, I missed last year's, so to be fair I'll take your word for it. I think they've tried some cool things (Young Stars, Skills Comp, Shootout Judges, North America VS World). If anything, I'd like to see something completely different every year. I'd love to see NA vs World because they have a little bit more to play for.