Monday, January 28, 2008
Rich Chere is Wrong
None of those formats [East vs. West, World vs. North America, etc.] has been very good. Most of them have been awful and the reason is simple: If a game doesn't count for something, virtually no one cares. The players don't care and hockey fans above the age of 12 don't care.
- The East going up 5-1 on the West to start the game.
- Evgeni Nabokov stopping them all in the second as the West surged back.
- The West tying up the deficit.
- The East and West trading blows, with the East holding out for the 8-7 win.
- Rick DiPietro giving up his only goal to Rick Nash while answering a question to Doc Emerick less than 20 seconds into the game.
- Rick Nash's hat trick and Alexander Ovechkin's brace.
- Ilya Kovalchuk getting robbed twice in front of his home town fans.
- Marc Savard, former Atlanta Thrasher, getting the winning goal.
- Manny Legace cussing on TV.
The stars of the NHL may not be as established as the stars in other sports; but the people know of Ovechkin, Staal, Nash, Kopitar, DiPietro, Lecavalier, Getzlaf, and many others. It's not their fault they aren't household names across the world - the NHL can do only so much as it is, what with hockey still remaining as a niche sport. Nevertheless, as James Mirtle points out, the game did sell out and got plenty of sponsorships out of it. Clearly, somebody recognizes the players as stars.
What if they get hurt? What, we're supposed to wrap up players in bubble wrap now and hold their hands as they could get hurt doing something as simple as going for a jog or driving a car? They enjoy it, the fans enjoy it, so what's the big deal? As far as I'm concerned James Mirtle summed it up perfectly as to why it's not going away: it makes the league money and gets them publicity. That's why it won't go away and that's why Chere is wrong to suggest scrapping the whole event entirely.
UPDATE: Of course, someone beats me to it and frames it in a much more complete way than I do. Well played, Schnookie, well played. But seriously, it's a good read - even though I disagree about the accuracy shootout being better than the standard one.
I agree with your argument against what Chere says, but what about what Marty said:
"Before, we had more older players who had been around. They'd try to make the nice play. People would complain that they weren't trying hard, so now you have young guys coming in just firing 100 mile-per-hour top shelf. With the deflections in front, I'm thinking, 'Guys, take it easy. We all have to go back to our teams. No one needs to get hurt here.'"
So do you think there is a generational aspect to the game? So when you mentioned the idea that "Old Time Hockey" is just that, a thing of the past, (and I agree with you)are you also disagreeing with what Marty said? Or do you think he's got a point here?
I watched the All-Star game and enjoyed it, but I did think to myself, "This would be so much better if they were actually playing defense and putting bodies on guys." So, with Marty's thoughts in mind I guess I would expect the players to play the game that they always do. I think he's right by saying they should try to set up good plays, but I haven't exactly seen shooters go after garbage goals.