The new draft formula introduced this year was a great success. The Super-Skills event were also fantastic. The problem, like every year, lies with the game itself. The players don’t hit, don’t back-check and barely put any effort into the game. I understand the no hitting, after-all, who wants to get injured during an all-star game? However, the league needs to figure out a way to make the players want to win this game. Everyone seems to suggest some kind of outcome for the winner. Kind of like the MLB’s All-Star game, some suggest that giving the winning team home-ice advantage during the finals could help. I doubt it. Plus it wouldn’t work with the new formula as players are no longer separated into conferences during the game.
I do have some solutions however. My problem with these games is that I don’t really care who wins and who loses. One of the cool aspects about this year’s edition was that the crowd was cheering for Staal’s team. The NHL should have capitalized on this. Why in the hell would they put that stupid horn when the visiting team scored? They should try to create some ambiance by making the crowd cheer for a team. That way, the players might get some energy out of it and give a good show for the crowd. It’s a start, but I doubt this would solve everything. Again, we need to get the players involved here. Which brings me to my final solution. Make an NHL All-Star team versus a regular NHL team. For example, if the game’s in Caroline, make the all-stars battle it out against the Hurricanes. That way, the crowd will totally be into it and maybe even the players. The host town should always play against the league’s best. Heck, in 2009, Montreal was the host city. They could have even form and all-star habs team and include such legends like Patrick Roy and Guy Lafleur with the rest of the regular lineup. Since this is an exhibition game anyway, these guys wouldn’t get hurt and could play limited minutes at the worst.
Next year’s edition is in Ottawa. I don’t expect any changes at all to the formula. Still, I would really like to see the Sens host the game and play against the All-Stars. Heck, this could be a truly intense game. The fact that the All-Stars would be superior would force the Senators to play like it was a real game (minus checking). This would have a domino effect and would force the All-Stars to play too. Now this would be a game I would watch. No matter what sport you play, an athlete usually doesn’t like losing. This format would give them an excuse to try and win the game. Heck, the league used to do something similar back in the day when it had the Stanley Cup Champions host the game. I believe this format would make for an exciting 60 minutes, not just the final 2 like this year proved.