Top 10 Ways to Improve the NHL All-Star Weekend
10. Make it an All-Star Week
The NHL already takes a 6 day break to accommodate the All-Star Game, why not turn it into a week long All-Star Tournament? Maybe instead of two teams, let’s have six teams, one for each division, compete in a round robin, single elimination tournament. May the best division win! Don’t like that idea? How about we have three separate games? One game in the standard format, one game that is East vs West and one final game that is North America vs The World.
9. Change the skills competition
I don’t care about the faster skater or an obstacle course. How about seeing which players have the most accurate shot with only one hand? I want to see a player go coast-to-coast through 5 defenders and deke the goalie, don’t you? So lets have a 6 v 1 drill starting from the opposite end of the rink and lets see who can do it. Forget the regular old breakaway contest, why not play a game of pig? One players performs a deke and scores, then the next players has to copy that move, if they fail they are eliminated.
8. Let the players vote
The NHLPA already votes for the Ted Lindsay Award winner and they even take part in stupid Sports Illustrated polls about over-rated and under-rated players. Why not have the NHLPA fill out ballots for which players go to the NHL All-Star game? Doesn’t the game instantly gain more appeal because NHL players are voting for who they want to see in the game?
7. Let the fans vote
No, I don’t mean let them vote for who goes to the All-Star game let the fans vote for on the specific teams and lineup combinations. After the NHL or NHLPA has announced the players going to the All-Star game, let fans create teams and line combinations and submit them for voting and use those lineups during the game. How awesome would it be to see the lineup you created play on the ice and it would be just as great to see the different line combinations people would have liked to see. NHL Network would do a week long segment on all the proposed combos.
6. Have fans behind the bench
Why make NHL coaches coach a mean nothing game? Instead let a lucky fan or two get behind the All-Star bench and coach their favorite players in a for fun game. What kid wouldn’t absolutely love the chance to do that?
5. Embrace the social movement
Do we really need real sports reporters covering the NHL All-Star game? Let some bloggers cover the game! How awesome would it have been to see @twolinepass interviewing Phil Kessel after he was picked last in last years All-Star Draft? What about @thestanchion asking all the All-Stars who they think is a vampire? What about having @mlse asking Iginla if he’d like to come to play for the Maple Leafs for a deep playoff run? The result would be some infinitely more entertaining TV than what is available during the All-Star game.
4. Change the rules
If it’s a mean nothing game, why not change up the rules and confuse the players AND fans a bit? Remove the trapezoid and allow goalies to play the puck anywhere. Remove the rule that states a goalie can’t cross the opposing blue line. Allow for 5-on- 2 power plays and 4-on-1 power plays. How about some random 3-on-3 hockey? What about all third period goals count as double? Force goalies to play forward and and vice versa. To keep it entertaining every year, keep changing the rules every year.
3. Add some international flare
NHL vs KHL. Clash of the All-Stars. Alternate between having the game in Europe and North America every year.
2. Take it outside
If the NHL wants to market the ASG as an event, what better way to do it then take it outside? The Winter Classic has become such an event over the last few years, it’ll definitely make the ASG an event on the same level. Heck take the skills competition outdoors too. We all know Zdeno Chara can slap the puck over 100 mph BUT can he do it while in a storm? We also know that Henrik Sedin can thread a pass through 100 different obstacles but can he do it while the wind is blowing in his face?
1. Involve the All-Star Alumni
Why make it just about the current NHL players? Why not have an All-Star Alumni game like we do in the Winter Classic? You can even involve the Alumni in the regular ASG, how awesome would it be to see current NHL stars skating with the stars of the past? Who doesn’t want to see Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky taking shifts together in a game.