It should go without saying that the NHL All-Star Game's voting system is broken, but since it's the point on which this entire blog post is based, I'll say it again: the NHL All-Star game voting system is broken.
That said, it's not broken insomuch as the guys who get voted in aren't always deserving to be there. I don't care about that. It's the job of the league, not the fans, to select the deserving players.
Plus, it's a democratic system, so it's bound to reward stupidity and invite subversion.
Rather, it's broken because, now that NHL's gone to the draft format, the fan votes hardly mean anything. They used to vote for starters. Now they're just voting in six guys. It's boring. Yes, the nearly 24 million votes for this year's game were over 9 million more than last year, but that's what happens when the game is held in Ottawa, not Raleigh. Fact is, far too many fans abstain from the process because there's nothing about it that interests them.
This is a fixable problem.
Here's what I suggest: as long as we're going with this new draft format, which I quite like, rather than simply voting in six guys, let the fans vote for the two team captains.
To clarify: I'm not suggesting that the fans vote once the NHL names the All-Stars. Let them name the two captains, then let the league select the pool from which they'll draft their two teams.
There's so much we could do with this. Sure, we run the risk of seeing Crosby vs. Ovechkin every damn year, but there are many more interesting combinations. How about Daniel vs. Henrik Sedin? Tim Thomas vs. Roberto Luongo? Ilya Bryzgalov vs. BizNasty?
That last one is silly, since neither guy is even remotely deserving of an All-Star nod, but as I said, I don't care about merit when it comes to fan voting, and it would be a far more marketable draft than, say, Jarome Iginla vs. Daniel Alfredsson. If I wanted poise and dignity at the podium, I'd watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
It's an exhibition Game. Bring the fun guys.
The great thing about embracing the silliness of the event is that the subversive fan campaigns like Vote For Rory and Project Mayhem could be part of the festivities rather than in opposition to them. Heck, players can run their own campaigns on Twitter. That would rock.
And best of all, the voting system will once again be fun and involving for everybody, rather than just fans in the city hosting the game.