blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: NHL All-Star Joke - Why Bother

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

NHL All-Star Joke - Why Bother

This weekend, the best hockey players in the world will descend upon the holiest of cities to battle for interstellar conference domination. Players will skate together for the first and last time, yielding some of the most talented line combinations the game will ever know.

So why does nobody care about this year's NHL All-Star Game? Because there's nothing at stake. If you're going to bring the thoroughbreds to the track, for god's sake let them run. Hell, make 'em run.

In 2003, Major League Baseball did just that awarding the pennant winner of the league winning the All-Star Game with home field advantage for the upcoming World Series. Since then, the game has become a competitive affair with intra-conference rivals bonding over a mutually advantage prize. In short, it made the event relevant.

If you're going to ask NHL fans to top up a pension fund for workers who make a minimum of $475,000 each year, and on average almost $2,000,000 per year, the least you can do is bait the players with a meaningful prize. History as our witness, it takes more than a free car to get these horses out of the barn.

When the NHL's Article 22 Competition Committee convenes this weekend in Montreal, let's hope they see the wisdom of MLB's ways and follow suit awarding home ice advantage for the Stanley Cup finals to the winning conference of future NHL All-Star Games. Now that's something worth watching. Until then, why bother.