Fixing the All Star Selections – the Process is Broken
By Bob Haynes (@BobHaynesJr)
First let me say that the All Star Game is a honor and privilege to play and be selected.
This is not a serious competitive arena and is really about promoting the sport of hockey. This is also a special treat for the players to play alongside the best the game has to offer each year. That being said the first thing the NHL needs at this game are truly the best players in the game at the moment. This should not be a “stuff the ballot box” campaign to get as many members of the host city on the team.
Last year the Hurricanes and their fans got their players to the game. This year the Ottawa Senators have 4 of 6 of the starting players on the team. Really? Quick without looking name the starting six as voted by the fans (answer to appear later).
The starting six as elected by the fans are Tim Thomas, Dion Phanuef, and Ottawa Senators. While I can easily agree with the selection of Thomas all and one of the Senators, the other four picks are quite frankly bad by the fans. I know this game “is one for the fans”, but it is for all the fans of ALL the teams, not just the host city. Picking Karlsson to the defense is a solid selection as he is leading the NHL in scoring from the blue line and is a force on the ice. That being said there is no way he should be the leading vote getter in the NHL. Most NHL fans have never heard of him as he is emerging as a star now.
By the fans naming Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, and Milan Michalek to the team the entire all star experience is diminished. Alfredsson is aging and past his prime. Spezza has been a long time underachiever and really is not dominating the game this year either. Michalek got off to a great start and was injured, but a case for him to be selected by the league can be made.
A Correct Starting Six
So who should have been the starting 6? Forwards should have been Henrik Sedin, Evgeni Malkin, and Claude Giroux. The defense should have been Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber. The goalie pick in my opinion is correct with Tim Thomas.
I have read some articles that the Sedins, Malkin, Giroux, and others will be named anyway by the league and while that is true, it also means that players that really deserve to be at the game like Scott Hartnell and Patrice Bergeron. These players are having great seasons and deserve to be rewarded with a weekend of fun with the other greats of the game.
So my solution is the following. The GMs of the league would select 6 forwards, 4 defensemen, and 2 goalies. These players would be the “starters” of the game. The NHL would then designate 2 captains from these 12 players and allow the draft to start from there. This would guarantee that the best players right now get into the game. The NHL would then fill in the remaining players to account for representation from each team in either the all star game or young star game. Through an internet voting campaign, allow the fans to add 4 additional players to the team after the others have been selected. This would allow the local fans to put their guys on the team instead of bumping other more deserving players from the roster.
Answer: The fans chose Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, and Milan Michalek as forwards, Erik Karlsson and Doin Pheneuf on defense, and Tim Thomas in goal for the starting six in the NHL All Star Game for 2012 in Ottawa.
Good Night and Good Hockey!