If being an NHL All-Star is going to continue being an honor, then the NHL needs to make some changes to the way in which the teams are selected.
Let’s start with the fan-balloting; the fans should no longer be able to select the entire starting roster. The fans should be limited to one forward, one defenceman, and maybe even the starting goalie. I understand that the NHL wants its fans to be able to participate, and by allowing the fans to vote for their favorite players, the NHL will only gain more fans.
Let’s look at an example of the fan-balloting from this season. There has been a hockey revival in Chicago, so it is no surprise that a player like Jonathan Toews was voted in as a starter. But there are easily six or seven players that should be on the team instead of him, let alone starting, including two other players from the Blackhawks.
Another rule that needs to be changed is that each team is represented in the All-Star game. Not every team necessarily deserves to be represented in an event that is supposed to honor the best players. If the best players aren’t there, then what is the point? Again, I understand the NHL is looking to gain more fans in more cities, but true fans want to see the best players on each team.
A good example of this is St. Louis’ Keith Tkachuk and Dallas’ Mike Modano making this year’s roster. Both are crafty veterans, but neither deserved a spot on the team. They both made it because each teams needs to be represented.
I am more disappointed this year with the selections than I have been in previous years, just because of the amount of talent left out of the game. There are obviously a couple more players that should not be on the Eastern team this year because of the amount of votes going to Montreal players, Alexei Kovalev and Mike Komisarek come to mind
Among the players that I do not feel should be playing in the All-Star game are Tkachuk, Modano, Kovalev, Komisarek, Jay Bouwmeester (Florida), Dustin Brown (Los Angeles), Milan Hejduk (Colorado), Eric Staal (Carolina), Scott Niedermayer (Anaheim), Tomas Kaberle (Toronto), Jean-Sebastian Giguere (Anaheim), and Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers).
You may be asking right now, well if those 12 players don’t deserve to be at the All-Star game, then who does? So here is a list of players who should be playing instead:
Nicklas Backstrom (Washington), Daniel Sedin (Vancouver), Patrick Marleau (San Jose), Patrik Elias (New Jersey), Phil Kessel (Boston), Marian Hossa (Detroit), Simon Gagne (Philadelphia), Derek Roy (Buffalo), Alexander Semin (Washington), Mike Green (Washington), Dennis Wideman (Boston), Duncan Keith (Chicago), Jonas Hiller (Anaheim), Manny Fernandez (Boston), Ryan Miller (Buffalo), Scott Clemmensen (New Jersey), and Steve Mason (Columbus).
There are 17 players on the list of players who should be playing, so I understand that not every one of them would have been on the team anyway, but if fan were not allowed to vote and each team did not have to be represented, then most of those players would be spending All-Star weekend in Montreal.
The biggest snub in my eyes is Mike Green. He has 26 points in just 28 games and if he stays healthy, he will be taking home the Norris Trophy at the ends of the season as the league’s best defenceman.
If the All-Star game is going to continue to be considered an honor, then it’s time for the best players to be on each team. Hopefully sometime in the near future, the NHL will change its policy in regards the All-Star game.