2011 NHL All Star Draft: Chill Out Hockey Fans, The NHL Catered To You

Alan Zlotorzynski@@zlotsportsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 29, 2011

I cannot believe some of the articles I am reading about the National Hockey League fantasy draft.  Relax people.  Stop being hockey snobs and realize that what the NHL did last night was for you.

Do you really think the players cared about the way the rosters turned out or how they were picked, except for Phil Kessel maybe?  The NHL should be given kudos for catering to all of you and trying something new.  Instead, here are a few quotes from articles that have appeared right here on the Bleacher Report. 

In an article written by Mark Ritter he says,"Maybe that's why the draft sucked. There is no hate between players these days, few rivalries, few storylines that would have influenced which players team captains Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal made.” 

Mr. Ritter was writing about the smugness of Alex Ovechkin taking pictures with Phil Kessel being the last player chosen.  Ovechkin has never been accused of having too much class but still a nit picking job by a Maple Leaf fan to say the least.

Now I should say that I enjoy reading Mr. Ritter's articles and follow his web site regularly but he is way off base here and I hope I can change his mind.  Otherwise, we will just have to agree to disagree.

My question is, when has the NHL All-Star game ever been a physical game?  Hate?  Save the drama for the last 30 plus games that remains.  There are plenty of rivalries in the game today and Mark is correct in saying not like in the days of Bobby Orr. 

The rivalries today are more skilled based with a few punches thrown here and there. Even as an old time hockey fan, I have come to accept that. 

Another article called for fans to boycott the All-Star game, how ridiculous is that? This is not a conference for world peace being held at the United Nations.  It is a hockey game being played in Raleigh, NC. 

It always kills me how hockey snobs will cry and whine for what their rights are as money paying fans of the game.  They somehow feel they always have the answer, which is why they are exactly where I am, sitting here complaining about the fact that they are complaining. 

These are the same fans that whine back and forth whether Sidney Crosby is a cry baby or not. And while he is, how many times are they going to whine about it.  These are also the same fans that will complain that they were tired of the format of East vs. West in the traditional style of All-Star games. But when a change is made like holding a fantasy draft, you guessed it, they complain about it. 

How many All-Star games have any of you ever watched where you could tell me what difference it made in what player played on which team once the puck was dropped? 

Who was the MVP of the last All-Star game?  That's what I thought.  Does any real hockey fan even consider this a game? It's fun to watch and the real fun is tonight with the skills competition. 

SHUT UP ALREADY, sit back, watch the game, and enjoy the talent on the ice.  This is the best collection of NHL players since the late 80's and early 90's, and in some respects a much deeper talent pool.  If you do not think so then just think about an All-Star game without Gretzky in his prime. 

Nobody would have watched and yet without Sidney Crosby, viewership is not expected to drop. Even if it was not going to be very high to begin with. Before you go complaining and whining that I am comparing Crosby to Gretzky, hold your britches, I am not, I am just saying that right now Crosby is the poster boy for the NHL. 

He's not the only face of the game and to the credit of the NHL, events like last night insure that doesn't happen.

Other than in Pittsburgh, Crosby really does not seem to be missed. Though I am sure the game would be better with him (I am a Caps fan) the other 36 players will hold their own.  Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos are not exactly mincemeat. 

While Mr. Ritter's article is biased about the draft from the standpoint of being a Maple Leafs fan (Phil Kessel last player taken), his take with his background and knowledge of how the draft turned out is disappointing.

Mr. Ritter,  it is our job to be advocates of the league and game we love and there was not really anything "sucky" about last night.  There are times to be critical of the NHL, but a fantasy draft for an All-Star game is not one of those times.

Are we being hypocritical when we criticize the league for doing something like this and getting the national attention we complain they never receive?  Many old-timers like me do remember the good old days of a more physical game. Those days started to disappear with the arrival of the first Stastny brother. 

The game is more upscale and "sexy" than it is tough these days and I commend the NHL for being the only major sport to cater to the fans in an All-Star game with a fantasy draft.  If the NFL did this for the Pro-Bowl, it would be considered ingenious and groundbreaking. 

It should be noted that I am nothing more than a wanna be writer voicing an opinion, but it should also be noted that as an old time hockey fan I do recognize what the NHL tried to do here and so should many of you. 

So stop whining and watch as teammates and brothers play with and against each other in a game that is meant to be nothing more than it is, a good time for the fans. 

Thank you NHL for at least trying to give me exactly what I thought the night would be, a good time.