The NHL All-Star Game is one of those events that's mocked and maligned by everyone who isn't actually in the city at the time of the event.
On site, it's a fun opportunity for fans to gather and celebrate the game; and it's a chance for those fans to show their city can put on a hell of a party. (See: Raleigh, North Carolina.)
It was Columbus's turn to have the spotlight this season, and they could have used it. The downtown area has been hit hard during the lockout. Apathy has washed over the fans. Alas, the game was cancelled on Friday.
The Columbus Dispatch estimates that the city "will lose $12 million in revenue and as much as $50 million in media exposure that the weeklong All-Star festivities were projected to create."
The expectation is that Columbus will get the game again in 2015, the next available All-Star Game date after the 2014 Sochi Games.
That said, losing this year's game is a bummer.
Or is it? Are there positives for the Jackets in seeing the All-Star Game postponed?
By not playing, the Blue Jackets assure themselves of being in prime lottery position to draft Nathan MacKinnon, a potential franchise player. There are other points to be made in this case but, in sum, idle time is to the Jackets' benefit.
So, too, is postponing the Columbus All-Star Game. Who wants to be the host in the middle of a shortened season, coming off a labor dispute? Also, do the Blue Jackets even have an All-Star?
The Blue Jackets and their associates can now plan with greater care and throw a better party in, say, 2015. It is one thing they know how to do, as evidenced by the 2007 NHL draft — which was an unmitigated success.
Mike MacLean of The Cannon also believes that the timing might be better for the franchise in two years:
[Another issue is] lack of a true star currently on the roster to serve as the face of the event. Under the current format, a representative from the host team has been named captain of the "home team" during the live team selection. Additionally, that same player serves as ambassador for the event, pulling triple duty with the media, and acting as the host city's number one cheerleader.
That isn't to say that one of the players currently on the roster wouldn't do a fantastic job in those roles, but the fact remains Columbus doesn't have a marquee star player on the roster since the big guy was traded to New York. The hope is, that when Columbus gets another crack at hosting the event they will have a star player on the roster. A player that wouldn't seem like a stretch leading an All Star roster.
Poor Jack Johnson … no love as an All-Star.
It was impossible to hold an All-Star Game in a locked-out season. Players are putting on false smiles as it is during the annual event — they no doubt couldn't hold down the bile for the owners and Gary Bettman for a three-day sponsorship lap dance.
As for 2015 … will there still be an All-Star Game? We only ask because there are forces inside the NHL that rather loathe the event. Will we ever see an NHL without an All-Star Game?