Players like the Blue Jackets' Geoff Sanderson should represent their team during the weekend festivities. Elsa Hasch/Allsport.
Each team deserves to enjoy All-Star weekend
By Jamie MacDonald, CNNSI.com
Talk about a lie of omission.
Letís get this straight. A professional sports league has invited four new teams to sit at the big table
within the past four years, but now decides to cut some fat off its own bloated
product for the occasion of its regular-season showcase event? So much for an
unconditional invitation to the big table.
Messrs. Calgary, Columbus, Minnesota, Montreal, Long Island and Nashville, No
soup for you.
Yes, there are probably too many teams in the NHL these days, but omitting a
handful of them from the ceremony of the All-Star game sends an unseemly message
to the constituency: That representation by the orphaned is unnecessary or a
source of shame. Either, We canít squeeze you in this year, fellas, or,
worse, Weíre afraid you donít photograph from our best side. The state of
Florida had a rough year, too, but there are no plans to strip Old Glory of a
Maybe this is a shot across the bow of the teams among the eighty-sixed that
if only a single All-Star caliber player was on the roster, they, too, could
achieve readmission to the union. Get some decent players and weíll look at
you next year. But this ignores the exigencies of sound business and a
future product, to say nothing of the sportís sense of itself.
This is hockey weíre talking about, a team-oriented sport that naturally
disseminates and thereby suppresses the contributions of individuals. Hockey
canít help but preach "the game is bigger than the individual," which makes
regrettable the fact its worldwide spokesman, the NHL, has taken such bold steps
not to echo that sentiment.
Weeding teams out and pubbing up favorite sons is for the playoffs, not a fluffy, feel-good celebration of the league and its players.
The message is of conditional membership. And thatís wrong. Hereís what the
NHL would be much better off saying: Weíre a big family, maybe too big, and not
always the prettiest bunch, but when we get together we do so without shame, en
Everyone should be sitting here around the big table when the world is
Deserving players like Edmonton's Doug Weight could get snubbed if all teams were represented. Ian Tomlinson/Allsport.
It's an All-Star game, not an All-Team checklist
By Robert Rodriguez, CNNSI.com
No offense to the Islandersí Marius Czerkawski, Montrealís Saku Koivu and any other players from the six teams not represented at the All-Star Game.
You all are not Sergei Federov, Rob Blake or Scott Stevens. Nor are you all deserving of taking their All-Star spot because your team has to be represented at the All-Star Game.
The Blue Jackets, Canadiens, Flames, Islanders, Predators and Wild are crying foul because of this. Sounds like Nancy Kerrigan are bellowing from those teams -- "Why? Why?"
Here's why. Last time I checked, the All-Star Game honored All-Stars, not All-teams. There are only 42 roster spots for the All-Star teams. To kill off 30 spots just so each team can be acknowledged is ridiculous.
Hockey, like other sports with All-Star Games, has problems with deserving players being left off the All-Star rosters. Allowing each team to have a player in the All-Star Game would only create a longer list of those who were snubbed.
This season alone, Washington's Peter Bondra, St. Louis' Pierre Turgeon and Toronto's Curtis Joseph, to name a few, were robbed of being a part of the All-Star festivities. Let's not increase that list because we need a Blue Jacket or Flame in there.
Baseball institutes the rule of having every team represented at their All-Star Game. Every year though, there always are at least a dozen deserving players left off the rosters, not a handful like in hockey and basketball.
Imagine this scenario. Picture Mario Lemieux not being able to use his special All-Star exemption to play because a Nashville Predator has to be selected in. Or Columbusí Ron Tugnutt, not Sean Burke, in goal at the All-Star Game. Many fans would want the commishís head.
If the NHL wants to include a player from each franchise on the All-Star teams, expand the rosters. Invite more players to enjoy the festivities. Grow the roster size for each new team in the league.
But donít leave a 50-point player from a contender off the All-Star roster in favor of a 20-point scorer on a last place team. Thatís a big slap in the face.