By now, most everyone has heard about the recent changes in the NHL All Star Game format. The West will no longer be playing against the East. And for those of you who were hoping for a possible North America versus the rest of the World showdown, that idea died on the operating table.
What the league decided upon instead was a good old fashioned school yard pick'em format, which they are touting as being the equivalent of fantasy hockey. Who will be the Team Captains, you ask? That will be decided upon by the pool of players selected by NHL Hockey Operations.
Does it seemed rigged yet? Maybe it should.
For those of you who can not get enough of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, get ready to purchase your official Team Crosby and Team Ovechkin All Star jerseys! For others who feel like they can not get away from hearing constantly about the two players, one of whom has an almost guaranteed spot on Versus or NBC every week, prepare yourselves to be spoon fed some more of them by the NHL.
The worst part about these changes? The people who are paying the bills, the season ticket holders of the Carolina Hurricanes, had no say and no knowledge of what was going on, until after they paid or committed to pay hundreds of dollars for tickets. (from $200 to $260 each for the weekend) What about the fans who might not like the new format, or who do not want to cheer for a Team Ovechkin or Team Crosby, (if indeed they do turn out to be team captains?)
Another set back: While fans can still vote for their favorites, it will be doubly hard now to get an underdog into the game. Instead of voting for both starting lineups, fans will be voting for the top player per position. And depending upon where that player is selected in the "backyard draft", some might be playing against each other at the opening puck drop.
The "Vote for Chad" and "Jussi Jokinen for All Star Game" campaigns took a major hit because they have Eastern and Western fans to beat out now.
Also, there will be no Young Stars game, as in the past. Twelve rookies will be selected, again by NHL Hockey Operations, to participate in a skills competition.
Eric Staal thinks the changes are "cool". Brendan Shanahan, the mastermind who is instituting the changes thinks they add intrigue to the game.
Since no one bothered to ask Caniacs what they felt about the changes beforehand, here is your chance to speak up now. Do the changes make the game more appealing or less? Is the cost of admission worth it?