Before I jump into the all-star game thoughts and preview. I absolutely have to steal a line to mention this situation involving the Islanders and Evgeni Nabokov.
It has simply one of the funniest things to ever happen in the NHL. To see Nabokov rather not play or play in Russia than play for the Islanders is too funny. Nabokov summed this whole situation up with now one of my favourite quotes of all-time.
“I was surprised they picked me up,” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow, what’s the point?”‘
What’s the point? Exactly, the entire NHL knows Nabokov wouldn’t re-sign at the end of the year with the Islanders so what is the point in a last place team picking him up for 40 games?
Now, I apologize to Islander fans for being a bit harsh but you have to take the good with the bad and just laugh this one off.
Enough of the laughs let’s get to the question of the night, is the all-star game the equivalent of putting a new motor on an already sinking ship? This is a question being asked by fans all around the league. It’s time to look at the answer.
Pre-lockout, the all-star game was an exciting aspect of the NHL season. It was a chance to see your favourite players battle their hearts out in a fast paced, high octane game headlined by some of the best hockey players in the world. Before the game you even got to see these players challenge each other to see who’s mastered the vital skills necessary to play the game.
Post-lockout I’m afraid to say, we now have an over commercialized game of backyard shinny with a skills competition featuring a ridiculously boring day of events. I said it last year and I’ll say it again: the last All-Star game in 2009 was the first game I didn’t watch in over 10 years. This All-Star game is in danger of becoming number two in a new tradition of not watching.
Before I run rampant with faults on last year’s game I really do have to give the NHL credit. They saw that fans were disappointed with the game and therefore, tried to change it. Now I felt I phrased this perfectly in my first sentence, is this fantasy draft just like putting a new motor on an already sinking ship? To answer this I am going to break it down very simply:
Problem: The all-star game and skills competition was boring. Fans felt the players exerted no more effort than they would playing a fun game with children.
Recommended solution: Revamp format in which the game is played
Solution put in place: Revamp way in which all-star players are put on teams.
Now I’m no genius but it seem Brendan Shanahan’s amazing innovation on the game doesn’t necessarily hit the nail on the head.
To end this on a nice note the fantasy draft might be fun to watch. It will be interesting to see why and when certain players are picked by their colleagues. However, changing the way players are picked just does not fix the way the game is played which was and is the problem the game is having.
The NHL gave it a shot, wasn’t a good one in my mind but I recognize it’s the thought that counts so yes to all fans and readers I will be watching this game, I will give it a chance.
For live blog coverage on the all-star fantasy draft, January 28th at 7:30 p.m. I will be co-hosting a CoveritLive blog at IH to provide analysis on the picks.
Writer for The Reed Review, The Checking Line, Hockey Independent and Inside Hockey