Ah yes, the annual ritual is upon us today, complaining about the NHL All-Star Game selections…
Well, at least we don’t have any worries about John Scott showing up and, you know, having fun this year.
But, as usual, we have complaints, lots of them. Mostly about who got snubbed, but also about Johnathan Toews, probably rightfully so.
Here’s the thing about the picks. By the time the NHL switched around the format, put more teams in some division than others, and tried to get one representative from each team, there’s not much they can do.
Take, for example, the division I follow most closely, The Metropolitan.
There are 8 teams in the division. Each team has to have one players selected. There are 11 spots on the roster. So, really, there are 3 spots that are up for grabs. Three….
There are over 160 “other” players in the division after you take one from each team, so yeah, go ahead and pick three.
Seriously, think about it, especially if you’re a forward in the division. Fans are going to want to see Crosby, Ovechkin and Malkin, so that’s three spots. John Tavares was always going to be the Islanders representative. So there’s really only 2 forward spots open. If your team has a legit defensemen or goalie who could be entered instead, or already has a forward spot taken, you have almost zero chance of being named an All-Star. I’m looking at you Phil Kessel, Nicklas Backstrom, Cam Atkinson, Michael Grabner (Seriously, Michael Grabner?), Nick Foligno, Chris Kreider, Jeff Skinner, and so on. There’s simply no way for any of those guys to get squeezed onto the team. This year, the get squeezed out by Taylor Hall and Wayne Simmonds. Not because those guys are having demonstrably better seasons, but because the Devils and Flyers have to have someone, and their own teams already have someone else in.
It’s that simple. In the current format, the NHL isn’t being mean, it just doesn’t have a choice. It’s not rewarding the best players of the first half of the season, it’s giving the fans they “big names” they want to see, and making sure every fan base as someone to root for.
If you’re looking for fair, this is not the place.