The KHL All-Star Game: A Good Idea that Doesn't Go Far Enough
I think the KHL deserves some credit for trying something a little different, even if the ultimate format looks a whole lot like the North America vs. the World format the NHL All-Star Game adopted, and subsequently junked, a number of years back. But while putting Jagr and Yashin in charge of the respective squads was a nice first step, I think both the KHL and the NHL ought to take it to the next level by naming a pair of team captains and then asking them to name the rest of the All-Star teams.
Can you imagine the intrigue that would develop if the All-Star Game pitted Team Crosby against Ovie Style? Here's how I would see it working.
First off, I'd keep the voting the same way it is now, with fans voting five skaters and a goalie from both the Eastern and Western Conference. But once you get those results, all other bets are off. Next, you match your two designated team captains with the coaches who have won the honor of coaching a team based on the best record in each conference.
What comes next is a live draft aired between periods of the NHL Winter Classic. Working together with the designated coaches -- for sake of example, we'll say Claude Julien is matched with Ovechkin and Todd McLellan is paired with Crosby -- the team captains will draft their All-Star teammates, with the only proviso being that the first six selections must come from the player pool elected to start the game by the votes of the fans. Each team will select three players -- alternating one at a time -- during each between periods break.
Can you imagine the tension? What happens if Ovechkin wins the coin toss and gets to draft #1? Will he submarine Crosby and select his countryman, Evgeni Malkin, or will he snub Malkin in favor of snagging Pavel Datsyuk? The possibilities are endless!
Once you get past the televised draft, the two teams will continue to alternate picks one at a time until the traditional rosters are complete. Then, to rachet up the tension even higher, leak out the selections one or two at a time over the course of a week or two, and then watch as fans and the media either praise or pan the picks.
Crazy? Sure it is, but at this point, a crazy idea may be just what the NHL All-Star Game needs to generate some additional attention for the league and its sponsors. I say the league rolls the dice and makes it happen.
(HT: Jeff Klein)