The guys over at the Pensblog are celebrating how they have helped get both Cindy and Gina to the top of the voting for East forwards. Good for them. Woo hoo!
This is the All Star Game we are talking about though, so it is a little ridiculous. Where the Winter Classic was a celebration of everything that was good about hockey, the ASG is a celebration of most things that are bad. It is a droll, lifeless, corporate event that barely gets notice ... Especially when in Atlanta. On a Tuesday. On Versus.
This season's waste of time will be in Montreal so it will at least garner interest above the border but unless you make some kind of drinking game out of it, it really isn't worth watching on TV. No hitting? Check. No defense? Check. Soft shots? Check. Aside from Owen Nolan's called shot, can you remember anything remarkable in the ASG in the last 15, 20 years? There were some neat moments, but at the end of the day, who cares?
Well, unless you are the Islanders. They learned to care with that incident (DP, what a potty mouth!). Why should players risk injury in a game (or skills competition) for nothing? Let's face it, the ASG isn't selling the game to new fans, it a treat for the sponsors. They receive a get-away weekend on the league's tab while the real hockey fans would rather watch real hockey.
Everyone may mock the hell out of Bud Selig for his ASG debacles, but he has made baseball's summer classic worth watching since the dreadful tie because the players have something to play for - even if they aren't happy about it. And let's face it, home ice in hockey is every bit as important as home field, if not moreso because arenas are enclosed and the fans are right on top of the ice. You need to have something to play for, something more than the keys to a new truck. Baseball fans may loathe it and call it a circus (and worse), it really isn't a bad idea compared to giving the team with the better record it automatically. How can you say that a Western team is more deserving than an Eastern when they don't play the same teams the same amount of times? Whoever comes out of the East will have had the chance to beat up on what is sure to be three of the four worse teams in the league more often than whoever comes out of the West.
You don't like that argument and are vehemently opposed to the home ice idea? Fine. Make the motivation be a million bucks to the victors. Yeah these guys are already loaded, but that still makes for one heckuva bonus in this salary cap day and age.
And until there is something worthwhile added to the game, there is no reason for us to get all excited. Why should we, as Ranger fans, get hyped up that Hank or Z will head to Montreal in a month? They are risking injury for absolutely no return whatsoever, during time they could use to collect themselves for what will need to be a big playoff push in the second half of the season. You saw what happened to DP last year. You remember what happened to Hank (and the Rangers) when he played the extra games of the Olympics two years ago. It just isn't worth it.
The guys at the Pensblog can keep their celebrating to themselves.