Rosters Set For NHL Fan-Star Game

In 1971, a man by the name of John Lennon wrote a song titled “Power to the People”. The title of the song can be found littered throughout the lyrics as Lennon chants these words in hopes of igniting a revolution. At first glance, this song may have a direct connection to the NHL All-Star Game that is held every year. And while we aren’t asking our comrades and brothers for social or government changes, we are asking the high body of the National League to hear our wants and needs during the All-Star festivities.

The full rosters for the 2012 NHL All-Star game were announced earlier today after the fans had an opportunity to vote for the first six players in. As the names poured in, every fan out there most likely scoured the list to find their team’s representative and to see who was left out. Once people became familiar with the full list of players, the outcries began to sound off like a fire alarm in the middle of the night.

How can they leave Nick Lidstrom off this list? No Teemu, are you serious? Not having James Neal on this list is completely bogus. It was sure nice of them to exclude any offensive power the Devils have in Kovalchuck and Parise. Don’t tell me that Hartnell will have days off during the break.

The more complaints I read, the more comical this situation became. To be clear, I’m not finding humor in the fact that some deserving players were left off the list or that some surprises snuck in. What makes this situation so amusing is the intensity that fans, bloggers, and team beat writers put into this game. If they would only pause before voicing their opinion, they might have the sense to change their heated outlook. Do they realize that the NHL All-Star game means absolutely nothing?

By definition, an All-Star game is an exhibition game played by the best players in the league during the season in which the game is held.

Stop. I want you to read the previous sentence again. Did you find anything specific? If you didn’t, let me point out two word that stood out above the rest: exhibition game. Yes, that means that the game you will see in Ottawa or on your television screens has absolutely no significant value to the regular season. If it did, do you really believe that the league would allow the fans to choose the first six players?

Like any other sports league out there, the National Hockey League would not survive without the undying love from its fans. Because of that love (and the opportunity to make a profit), the league continually grants their fans the gift of an All-Star game every year. The bright lights, the superstar players, and the allure of what could be brings together millions of fans that want to witness this anomaly of an event. And since this game is a gift to the fans, the notion of it being an “All-Star” game changes it to a “Fan-Star” game.

Changing the “name” of it isn’t the only thing that occurs. You also have to consider the entertainers who will be putting on this showcase – more specifically, the players. If they find themselves injured or wishing to cash a rain check, they will do so. An extra few days of rest in the middle of the season will do wonders to those who want to gear up for the second half and a post season run. Therefore, legends like Lidstrom and Selanne will secretly walk out of a commitment that they’ve already participated in multiple times before. In their place will walk players who might have made it on past body of work such as Alexander Ovechkin. Everyone knows that the great 8 can make things exciting despite his lackluster numbers.

It makes no sense to me as to why emotions run wild when discussing the NHL All-Star game. Sure, we all like to see our team’s best players a chance to play with some of the best talent, but when it boils down to it, the game isn’t important at all. I might even go as far as saying it is a nuisance to the top teams in the league. Why would anyone want the Bruins, Rangers, or the Canucks to send their players considering that all three of those teams have legitimate shot at making a deep playoff run? Would you rather see them in an All-Star game or lifting up the Stanley Cup? Not a hard choice if you think about it.

So as we all decide to climb the highest mountain to shout our own beliefs, maybe we should take in the view instead of giving our lungs a workout. In the big picture, the All-Star game is for the community of fans and most importantly – it is just an exhibition game. If your favorite player did not make it, it isn’t the end of the world. Who knows – it might actually be beneficial. After all, a skewed pool of players is what happens when you reward the fans.

Oh well, power to the people.