Monday, January 17, 2011

NHL All-Star Game: An A For Effort

What do you think of All-Star Games?  If you are nine out of ten people, you just don't care.  I am part of that ten percent that does care, but that may because of my obsessive nature with sports.  I know, despite what Bud Selig shoves down my throat, that they do not mean anything. 

Of course, when my Grandpa was a kid, these games meant something.  Players made little money, and the All-Star game provided a supplement to an income.  Back in the day, Ted Williams broke his elbow in an extra inning game.  In my childhood, they stopped playing because they ran out of pitchers. 

The NBA All-Star game is laid back and fun.  All the best players play, the game is high scoring, and the skills competition is always fairly entertaining.  Stern has really influenced this game, making it a spectacle most people can buy into.  The Pro Bowl is incredibly boring.  Guys going at half speed, not hitting, giving up on tackles early, and nobody plays.  David Garrard played for the AFC last year.  That should make you throw up a little.  Making it during the break before the Super Bowl is a nice step, but not enough to save it.  I watched it in its entirety last year, and may again this year, but for the lamest, the NFL (surprisingly) takes the cake. 

MLB started the whole, "lets make an exhibition game matter" trend.  Home field advantage in the World Series can be significant, but the system is flawed.  Why should a game come down to a Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher closing the game because the Little League system of where everybody plays?  What does he care, his team was 20 games out of first in early May.  The Home Run Derby was cool for about three years, when steroids were prevalent and these guys could absolutely kill the ball.  Now, I can't muster the ability to care at all.  Sorry Bud, you lost me.  I'll watch the game, but not go all out about it like you think I will.

We come to the NHL.  The most progressive All-Star game in sports.  East vs West is fun, but they played with North America vs The World, a concept that should be revisited after the success of the Winter Olympics.  But now, they are going back to the school yard, and have captain's picks from a pool of players voted on from the fans.  What a concept, just imagine the possibilities!  Rivals not picking each other, who gets picked last, teammates get snubbed, when to take a goalie?  In the age of fantasy sports, this game will be a dream match up.  Let me be clear, I am not a supporter of fan voting.  But at least this makes the teams and games a little more fun.  And besides, NHL fans know their stuff better than anybody else.  Add that with a good skills competition and you got a fun weekend celebrating Hockey's return.  And while we are at it, please please please sign with ESPN for you next TV contract.  I should end every hockey post with that, its crucial to the future of the game.  Also move teams from Florida to Canada.  That is all.

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