With the NHL’s annual all star game coming up later this month, I just wanted to give some of my thoughts on it.
First off, let me talk about the snubbing of Leaf players Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly. For those who don’t know, Auston Matthews and John Tavares have been named all stars this year, while Marner and Rielly are deserving players left off the all star rosters. As of press time, Marner leads the Leafs with 58 points. He has 41 assists and is third on the team in goals at 17. Defenceman Morgan Rielly is third on the team in points with 46, and is the second highest scoring defender in the league.
While these two are deserving, I think this actually might be the best thing for them. Instead of having to compete in this annual event, they can rest up and get prepared for the last portion of the regular season and the playoffs. I don’t think I need to remind Leaf fans that Toronto has been ousted in the first round of the playoffs the last couple seasons, so more rest this far into the season may be beneficial to two of the Leafs’ top contributors. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals was voted into the all star game, but has decided to pull out for that exact reason, to get ready for the tougher stretch of games.
But, Leafs nation, isn’t it great the Leafs are so good now that there is controversy over a couple of their better players not going to an all star game? I think it really speaks to the depth the Leafs have built.
Now, about the All Star game itself, I know fans have been conflicted about it's format over the years. Some have liked it and found it fun to see these superstars taking part in this, while others have found it to be a bit boring.
Personally, I agree with the latter, so I am going to propose an idea to make this special event fun again. I think, for future all star games, the league should do what they used to do back in the early days of this event and have current Stanley Cup champions face a team of NHL all stars from around the league.
Yes, this was done before, but you can’t beat the classics. I think it would be interesting to see the defending cup champions, looking to hold onto the dignity that comes with it, playing against a team of the league’s true elite. I would be interested to see who would be victorious.
It could solve the NHL's problem of making the all star game competitive and appealing again to both fans and players.
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Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy