The NHL All-Star Joke

This year, the NHL put the perennially boring All-Star game on the defibrillator in an attempt to bring the once interesting contest back from the dead. The result is a weird format in which "captains" get to choose their teams from a pool of players selected by the NHL and the fans.

While I applaud the NHL's effort to change things around, their solution doesn't fix my biggest beef with the All-Star game: the players selection.

The All-Star game should feature the NHL's best player RIGHT NOW. Not players who were good 5 years ago or who are picked by reputation alone.

Here are players who were selected by the NHL this year and who should be replaced by someone more deserving:

- Vincent Lecavalier (No way 3 lightning forwards should be on the ballot... and he's injured!)
- Patrice Bergeron (Horton has been better)
- Ryan Smyth (At least 3 Kings forwards deserve it more)
- Marian Gaborik (He's a star but Callahan and Dubinsky have been carrying this team... Should be there ahead of Gabo who has been injured anyway!)
- Phil Kessel (Grabovski has been better, more consistent)
- Ilya Kovalchuk (Has done nothing for the Devils this year. Elias or hard-working Jason Arnott should be there instead)
- Zach Parise (out long-term... what are they even thinking? And he's had a terrible start!)
- Danny Briere (Giroux should be there instead)
- Brendan Morrow (No Loui Eriksson.. are you kidding me?)
- Jarome Iginla (Has done nothing so far this season... Bourque's spot!)
- Brian Gionta (Hasn't had a good start... No Plekanec?)

- Jay Bouwmeester (No explanation required)
- Dion Phaneuf (Has been awful)
- Dan Hamhuis (What? And Edler isn't there?)
- Mark Streit (Is out for the year or so... and Wiz isn't there... The NHL is on drugs)
- Paul Martin (Kris Letang leads all defensemen in points...)

- Antti Niemi (.878 sv %, 3.73GAA - Carey Price should be there)
- MA Fleury (^ about the same stats - Bobrovsky should be there)
- JS Giguere (please.. he's not an all-star - Mathieu Garon should be there)

The problem with the All-Star game is that instead of rewarding players who are having a good year, the NHL keeps picking the players with the most star power and we get the same game every year, with about the same players.



George Prax's picture

People who complain about this stuff piss me off. You can't select an all-star team based on 15 games (around when the ballots are decided). The stats are based in large part on the prior's season's stats. It has almost nothing to do with the starts. You can't choose an all-star team based on October hockey, because most of the streaks and paces don't last much longer than when the calendar rolls over to November.

Just look at some of the stats from the first few weeks when players were putting up numbers that had them on 200 point paces and 90 goal seasons. It would make no sense to choose it based on that.

I could literally argue almost every player you mentioned above based on what they did last season. Niemi won the cup in June, he shouldn't be rewarded for that just because he's had a slow start? Kessel was the Leafs best player last year. Just because Grabovski has played 15 games better than him so far he should be in an all-star game?

Think about it for a second maybe, and you'll see why things are chosen the way they are. If anything, you should be whining about the timing of the All-Star game, not the Ballot process, which won't even matter in the end because you can write in players and not everyone will be there anyway.

Phil T's picture

Forgot to include it in my blog but all star selections should be made closer to the All-star game, possibly in mid-December. That way we can avoid making selections too early like you said.

Phil T's picture

Also yes this is the 2010-2011 all star game... not the 2009-2010 season all stars. If Grabo has played better this year, he should be there. The past should be the past.

Alex Mueller's picture

I agree the voting should be closer to the All-Star game. The Captains thing is a joke. Most of the names on the ballot are like George said based on the previous year. It's no different than the NBA or MLB all-star games. It's a popularity contest, not always about who has been the best. While I think those who have been the best should get to go to the game, it adds to the dynamic and interactivity of the game that the fans can vote and decide. What's dumb is that only one player from each team can be selected unless they are starters. Maybe we should add more lines or something. Personally the skills competition is my favorite part.

George Prax's picture

Even December I'm not sure is fair. What about the players that pick up their play when it matters, later in the year and the playoffs? Do we ignore them just because a few others might have had strong starts? Briere led the playoffs in scoring, Niemi won the cup, Fleury had a great year despite starting slow now. Even with an extra month and a half, if Fleury rebounds his stats might not be where they're supposed to be, but they might be in March or April. Conversely, Price did nothing last year, so how do you justify rewarding him simply on 15 starts?

As for your second reply, if it's the 2010-11 all star game (and not really, no one ever said it had any bearing on a particular season), then how can you justify selecting players on not even half a season (by the time it's done)? It's the 2010-11 ASG, not the "first three months of the 2010-11 ASG".

Like I said, if you want to whine about something, whine about the timing of the game, not who's on the ballot because CLEARLY you have to base it on more than 15 games.