Counterpoint: NHL All-Star Voting is No Laughing Matter

Bobby RussellCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2009

Having stumbled upon another article about the NHL's all-star voting, you might be wondering how many words will pass before the word "joke" is mentioned. In this case, the answer is 22. But I'm not here to write chapter 433 of Epic NHL Failures; I'm here to tell you that the purpose of the voting process has been wildly misunderstood by most members of the online hockey community.

There are two dominant opinions regarding the all-star game. The first states that the NHL's voting system is broken; that it's a disgrace to hockey that Montreal fans would have the gall to vote for their hometown heroes instead of Craig Anderson.

The second states that the all-star game is itself a farce—a meaningless exhibition of had-beens and fan favorites, who are invited to the game based on name recognition and popularity.

Some of the most vocal grumblings have come from the Boston and Washington camps, because Zdeno Chara and Alexander Ovechkin were not voted into the starting lineup. Nevermind the fact that both players are virtually guaranteed to be named to the Eastern team in the coming days.

Which is why the voting system served it's intended purpose—to allow the fans to select their favorite players to the game, independent of statistical merit. The obvious players like Ovechkin, Iginla, and Chara are going to the game no matter what, and they will probably receive more ice time than some of the starters.

Many people seem to be willing to use statistics from half a season to determine who in the league is considered an "all-star." This is not the NFL Pro Bowl—the Pro Bowl selections are made with more than three-quarters of the season taken into consideration. While it may not be the best year for J.S. Giguere or Alexei Kovalev to be named to an all-star team, it's just as ludicrous to suggest that Steve Mason or Jonas Hiller deserve to be named to the team based on their performances over one-half of one season.

If you'd be fine with attending an all-star game featuring David Krejci, Loui Eriksson, Bryan Little, and Scott Clemmenson, more power to you. But the fact of the matter is that the all-star game attracts a dismal television audience, and it's main success is in creating a major event for the hockey fans of the host city.

Accordingly, an NHL all-star game will be most successful if it features a mix of hometown players and renowned stars. That's exactly what will happen this year.

There's nothing easier than to point out that something human has imperfections. I'm amazed at how many people devote themselves to that task—the catchphrase of today's society might even be "that's not fair!" But while the voting process for the all-star game may not be completely fair, it's setting up a whale of an event for Montreal natives.

Bobby Russell is the Community Leader for the Anaheim Ducks on Bleacher Report. You can contact him, make fun of him for living in a warm climate, or add him to your lineup by going to his profile.

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