The Homer Simpson Award goes to the trend/phenomenon that has most made me say "D'oh!" while following up with an enormous facepalm this season, and believe me this season has been far from short on controversies and other problems that I hope the league finds a way to work out within the next year or so.
However, unlike any other award, I couldn't pick a winner for this one, so guess what... we have a three-way tie! So congratulations, or I guess a lack thereof, to the following:
Realignment: This is more of a boo on the Players union for failing to approve the realignment plan that would have radically changed the NHL's structure, and double-boo on them because it was for in all honesty a pretty stupid reason.
While I'll admit I hated the new playoff format and increased reliance on divisions (or what would have been known as "Conferences" in the new structure), I loved the idea of going to every building in the league every year and also seeing every team in ours as well. Now that plan is more or less scrapped and the NHL gets to deal with another year of haphazard travel and awkward divisional structure.
Winter Classic: I know that everyone loves to make a big deal out of it, but to me it feels like the annual outdoor game has lost its appeal. For one thing, it only features a select few teams, dubbed "big market" squads and leaves out about half the NHL (who would love to get in on one of the biggest league-wide events of the year, no question).
Or maybe it's the fact that its just lost a little bit of its allure as a spectacle. To me, it just doesn't seem all that special when its just one regular season game and there's going to be another one next season. It's getting repetitive.
I know it's popular among fans, but with it consistently competing with college football bowl games for viewership, I honestly wonder how long the idea will last.
All-Star Fan Balloting: Okay, seriously... if this isn't living proof that fan-voting is nothing but ballot-stuffing by fans of the hosting organization, I really don't know what is.
Out of the top-six vote-getters for the NHL All-Star game, four were Ottawa Senators, all of which I would also argue don't deserve to be labeled a starter.
I'll admit I do actually kind of like the fantasy-draft idea they implemented last season. It changes the game up and honestly until the day of the fantasy draft you really have no idea what to expect going into the weekend. It makes it fun.
But the league desperately needs to find a new and more fair way of selecting starters. Fan balloting clearly doesn't work.