Why The All-Star Game, Captains Don’t Matter

Admit it. This was the most memorable moment of last year’s All-Star Game.

I hate being contrarian, or show Buzz Killington levels of pooping on parties, but I just can’t muster up much caring for the NHL All-Star game this year. I couldn’t muster up much for it last year, either. Or in 2009. Or even in 2008 when it was in my backyard. It’s just not something that means a lot to me, and I’m beginning to see how it doesn’t mean a lot to others as well.

When the two captains, Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara, were announced today, my first thought was about the obvious height disparity, then of the comedy of having one of the ghosts of Ottawa past as a captain, and then to nothingness. I didn’t dwell on who would pick who — on if Chara’d pick one of the Sedins or if he’d let bias let Team Alfie get both of the brothers. Would Alfredsson choose former Senator Brian Elliott as one of his goaltenders? Um, sure? But be honest – is the drama of Brian Elliott really weighing in on your mind right now?

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The voting itself was a joke (though a great show of fan support), with the Senators taking five spots (Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michlalek, Erik Karlsson, and rookie representative Colin Greening). I’m not going to argue that none of these guys are all-stars, because they’re all very excellent players. I’m also not going to be part of the “Senators suck derpa huurrrrr” group that’s basing their opinion of them on last year’s team. But honestly. Put together an all-star team in your mind. Dwell on that. How many Senators make your roster?

The NHL filled out the rest of the spots, making sure that all teams had at least one representative. Great job, seeing as how the Florida Panthers have exactly one despite being in a playoff spot, as well as the St. Louis Blues. You have the Capitals with Alex Ovechkin, of course… and Dennis Wideman? Dustin Byfuglien’s the Jets’ representative over Evander Kane or Blake Wheeler? Kane’s leading the team in goals right now and Wheeler in points, and when the filler for the rosters was named, Buff was injured anyway and probably a no-go. Does the league actively pay attention to the IR?

They’ve done some things right, especially by showcasing Nashville’s top defensive pairing of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. Getting all nine of the top scorers in was pretty impressive, too. But all you have to do is look at the roster and the teams that have the most players to understand that it’s a popularity and ratings contest. The Blackhawks, Canucks, and Bruins each have three guys going, and the Hawks wound up without their top guy, Patrick Sharp, anywhere near recognition (not that it matters, because he’ll probably be out).

You can quibble over the roster as much as you want to — I only mentioned the more obvious slights — but really, does it matter who’s on there? No one tries on-ice because no one wants to be the schmuck who gets injured during the All Star Game. Quick – close your eyes and remember the best play from last year’s game in Raleigh.

Waiting…

Exactly. You remember poor Phil Kessel sitting there being picked last while Ovechkin laughed and snapped photos with his phone. You remember thinking “Oh, wow, a Chevy. Appropriate,” when his consolation prize was unveiled. I’m pretty sure that the fans who were lucky enough to attend remembered the phenominal job that the Hurricanes did in hosting the event. But the game?

Quick — who won, team Staal or team Lidstrom?

Exactly.

About Laura Astorian

Laura Astorian is the head editor for the SB Nation blog St. Louis Game Time and has been a Blues fan from childhood. She promises that any anti-Blackhawks bias will be left at the door. Maybe.

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