Ok, maybe “like” is a little strong, but I don’t mind it. I certainly don’t hate it or think that it should be abolished (unlike a lot of members of the media). The reason I’m making these statements is because every year for about the last ten years or so, it has become fashionable to say the All-Star Game is a waste of time and should not be held anymore. In about the last three years, this movement has gained even more steam with the increasing popularity of the Winter Classic, making it the new marquee mid-season showcase.
But what’s with all the negativity? Yes I know it’s not a great game to watch, but the All-Star Weekend is much more than the 60 minute game of shinny on Sunday. It’s about the lead-up, the speculation of who will named to the game and subsequently the list of guys who were snubbed. The first thing I do whenever the All-Stars rosters are named is look at the leading scorers to find out who was omitted. It’s also about everything around the game on All-Star Weekend. It’s about seeing the game’s best players joking around with each other, seeing the interviews that are out of the norm.
Stuff like this:
Most years they throw a new wrinkle in to spice things up, like switching the format (East-West, North America-World). This year will feature a player draft. Will it be the most riveting television? Probably not, but I’ll be watching.
Also, just think about it. Without the All Star game we would have never been treated to the “Vote For Rory” campaign of 2007.
Perhaps the best event on All-Star Weekend is the Skills Competition. I want to know who has the hardest shot, who the fastest skater is and all the rest. It’s fun and interesting to watch… at least to me it is. It was pretty cool when Al Iafrate, with his skullet waving in the wind, won the hardest shot competition in 1993 (105.2 MPH with a wooden stick!). Remember when JR went 4-for-4 in the accuracy shootout in 2004?
Want to know another reason the All-Star Game exists? Kids love it. I know when I was growing up in the 90s, I really wanted to see whatever Canuck had qualified for the game score a goal and/or steal the show. I can only imagine what young fans in 1982 thought when Canuck goalie John Garrett almost won the All-Star Game MVP.
It’s also not like the All-Star Game itself never produces good moments. The John Garrett story in 1982 is a real good one. Ray Bourque scored the winning goal with 37 seconds to go in front of his hometown fans in the 1996 game in Boston, which also featured the debut of the glowing FoxTrax puck. How about the Sharks Owen Nolan calling his shot to beat Dominik Hasek in the 1997 game in San Jose?
For the love of money
Ok, I’m not naive. The only reason the All-Star Game exists is because it makes money for the league. It’s a corporate shmooze, and it gets them on national TV in the US. You know what though? That’s ok. I still want to see how the Sedins and Kesler do on the big stage.
Just enjoy the game for what it is and don’t hate it for what it isn’t. If you do that, you’ll find it isn’t so bad!