First of all, does anyone watch All-Star weekend? Yes, fans cram into arena’s to celebrate the skill of the league’s finest. However, does anyone really love it anymore? Due to the All-Star break, hockey fans lose out on a total of four days action. Is all this worth it? This weekend is little more than a half-hearted friendly game nowadays. Even more criminally, 4th Line Podcast writer Gwen De Young misses hockey each year on her birthday due to this clash.
Last year viewing numbers were high thanks to the John Scott saga. What exactly does the 2017 All-Star game in LA provide? Answer another game of players just going through the motions. Playing in this game has become less of an honour and more of a formality. Last season both Alex Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews opted to skip it. Gary Bettman handed them each a game ban for this decision. John Tortorella has decided that his dog’s health is more important than coaching All-Star weekend.
When a coach ditches you for his canine friend, clearly this game’s credibility has sunk. The All-Star game is very a package experience. While the skills competition is always a lark, this event needs more. Having Wayne Gretzky coach is a very good start. Here are some events that could make this whole thing a more watchable affair.
Gary Bettman’s Whack-O-Rama
Does any fan actually like this goofy little worm? Why don’t players take out their frustrations in a creative yet deserved fashion? Forced to play in net, Bettmann must survive a barrage of shots from players. All pucks will be hit at once creating a fast and furious feel. This will not be a one-time thing because there will be three rounds. Each player must make a certain percentage of shots to make the cut. There should also be capacity for fans to participate- Gwen by rights should take the ceremonial first shot.
Shot By Shot
Often at 4th Line Podcast, we urge ourselves to create out own All-Star drinking games. Why don’t encourage the league to do the same? Each player who scores during the game will have to take a shot of something (spirit to be determined by sponsors). For each goal scored, the number of shots will increase. I understand this could be potentially dangerous to their safety. But for the sake of fan entertainment- this could be special.
Being a coach at All-Star weekend is a little like being a spectator. There is nothing to win so they just stand there shouting the occasional instruction. How about we bring them into this game? For one period each must face off against each other in a 2-on-2 battle. No penalties shall be given and absolutely everything counts. Coaches should also be eligible for MVP award at the end of the game. Also whatever goals scored should count towards final score total!
The John Scott Vote
Who didn’t enjoy John Scott last year? That shake up made All-Star weekend worthwhile. Of course, the league has prevented guys like him from ever doing this again. I say that Scott should be able to cast his own vote each year. Under him, one unlikely player will be introduced as a surprise on game day! Imagine the shock and awe at the prospect of guys like Jordin Tootoo or Raffi Torres playing on the same ice as the elite. This game needs more players like Scott, if only for fan reaction.
All-Star weekend is another way for a company is make money off expensive package deals. They need to find another selling point rather than just showcasing talent. In conclusion, begin to listen to your fans and we will steer this game where it needs to go.