Datsyuk and Lidstrom Turn Down All Star Skills Compettition: Is This a Protest?

David McClureCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2009

A recent report on the local radio station stated that Niklaus Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk have declined to compete in the NHL skills competition. This comes on the heels of the announcement that no Redwings will be in the starting in the All Star game.

While it is a great injustice that Marian Hossa, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklaus Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, and other top Redwings are not in the playoffs, is this move by Nik and Pavel a sort of protest? I understand the desire to not get hurt and to get some rest and maybe there are other excuses to be heard, but I cannot help but think this is two team players voicing their discontent.

Detroit has become the Yankees of hockey in many ways, albeit unfairly. They operate under the same salary cap and same rules as the rest of the league. They have done an incredible job of finding talent and cultivating talent. Detroit has become a place that all-stars want to play at and, as evidenced by Marian Hossa, are willing to take pay cuts to be here.

This should be applauded. To me Detroit has earned the title "Hockey Town." It has become a team that is more about winning than stardom, more about Stanley Cups than a paycheck. They play hard and precise. There are no teammate conflicts. No whining to the media. Just hockey. Just a collection of all world talent playing hard together for the love of the game and to compete for a championship.

I do not understand why they are then disrespected with the all star game. Why fans around the world would not agree that they have deserving all stars. NHL fans should be ashamed of themselves and ultimately they will be the ones who miss out. They will miss stellar play from some of the best players in the game.

Detroit fans get the final laugh though. We are the lucky ones. We will get to watch a rested and motivated all star team of our own for the rest of the season, right through the playoffs.