January 30, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. -- As soon as Patrick Sharp(notes) was handed the NHL All-Star Game MVP trophy and Team Lidstrom and Team Staal exchanged handshakes, the revamped weekend came to an end and the hockey world began shifting its focus to the re-start of regular hockey on Tuesday night.
With the inaugural Fantasy Draft format in the books, now begins the time to look forward to Ottawa next year; and we'll begin hearing what changes should be made to the events -- or if you're Nick Kypreos, why no more Toronto Maple Leafs should be subjected to the "humiliation" heaped upon the franchise and Phil Kessel(notes) after he was Friday's "Mr. Irrelevant."
But should the East/West format be brought back? Absolutely not. Are some tweaks in order? Perhaps.
Every year we hear the calls for certain changes in the NHL, whether it's for rules or operationally. All-Star Weekend is not going anywhere. It won't be merged with the Winter Classic, so let's allow the current format to stay as is.
Every player said that they enjoyed the new format and hope to see it again next year. And why wouldn't they? Friday's Draft brought some personality out of guys and gave the team captains the opportunity to have some fun and make things uneasy for their fellow players -- or teammates and brothers in the cases of Patrick Kane(notes) and Eric Staal(notes). It let fans in on what they crave from players: personality.
There'll always be All-Star Weekend detractors, but there's no denying that Brendan Shanahan's(notes) idea of the Draft certainly changed some minds this weekend between the intrigue of the selections and entertainment value the players were getting out of it.
Sundary afternoon's game was what it typically is: a high-scoring affair with little to no defense; but with the added wrinkle of the teams being put together by the players, it wasn't a surprise to see some taking things a bit more seriously than in the past.
Shanahan's idea worked, and the NHL would be wise to continue the Team X versus Team Y theme in the future. All-Star Weekend may have been on a decline for some time, but consider it revived -- for now.