Nathan MacKinnon has been selected to represent the Colorado Avalanche in the 2017 NHL All-Star game.
What a joke.
The NHL All-Star game has undergone many changes over the years. It used to be North America vs. World, then they went back to East vs. West, then they went to a fantasy draft format and now it’s a three-on-three division tournament. These changes show that the league is willing to adapt and evolve, which they should be applauded for.
However, the rule of “each team must have an All-Star” is absurd and shows a league that is still struggling to hook fans.
Not every team deserves an All-Star. The Colorado Avalanche certainly don’t deserve an All-Star. MacKinnon’s 27 points leads Colorado, but puts him 17th in Central scoring. Of the top-20 Central scorers, his -12 on-ice scoring differential is four points worse than Kevin Shattenkirk’s -8. The Avs are the worst team in the league by three points and haven’t won in regulation since December 11th.
Selecting Nathan MacKinnon to the All-Star game cheapens the title of “All-Star.” And while being an All-Star has already been cheapened over the years thanks to fan voting and players pulling out, it’s basically become a participatory trophy with the inclusion of the “every team is represented” rule.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see MacKinnon play in a three-on-three setting. Line him up with Patrick Kane or Patrick Laine and we’re going to see some magical moments. But if the league truly wants to show off the best players in the game and find out which division rules the league, why are they forcing every team to be represented?
The league will argue that fans won’t tune in if their team isn’t represented. I disagree.
I watch most Avalanche games. This year has been a struggle, but I still tune in. Avs fans see MacKinnon every night. We see this boring and bad hockey team every night. You really think we’re not tuning in to see the best players in the league in an arcade style tournament when we’ve been watching this team all year?
MacKinnon being in the game isn’t getting me to tune in. Having the chance to see Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin on the same line is good enough for me. I don’t want to see players from my team, especially when my team is really bad. I’m pretty sick of watching the Avs and MacKinnon try at hockey every night. I want to see what real and fun hockey looks like, if only for a weekend.
You think Arizona fans are tuning in to see Mike Smith for half a game? No way. They can watch him give up 5+ goals a game any week of the season.
MacKinnon may score a hat trick in each game. The ice is that wide open, and he is that fast and talented. It’s not going to make anyone an Avs fan. They’ll tune in, question whether they are actually watching hockey, and then quickly tune in.
Fans want to see the best. Sorry, MacKinnon isn’t one of the top six forward in the division. I’m not even sure he’s the best forward on his own team. He’s talented enough to be included, but he hasn’t produced like an All-Star. And until he does, he doesn’t deserve to be at the game.