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Posted By Travis Currie On Jan 27 2011 @ 11:20 pm In NHL | 10 Comments

Most of us consider the Holy Grail of hockey to be the Stanley Cup. But really, it’s attainable, we all know where it is, we’ve all seen it wether live or in person, and we know by exactly what day on the hockey calendar it’s going to appear. So really, wouldn’t the REAL Holy Grail be this: How do we make the NHL All Star Game more exciting ?

After all, nobody has figured it out yet, and nobody really knows if an answer even exists at all. It’s something that’s baffled the great minds of the hockey world for years.¬†Until now.

I know that it’s one of those subjects that a lot of us adult hockey fans don’t really care too much about. Lots of us moan and groan when late January comes around and that little break in the schedule approaches. But doesn’t that say something ? Doesn’t that say that there’s room for improvement ?

So here’s my thinking.

Every year there’s ideas thrown around on how to change the format. The league has even tried to go Team Euro vs Team North America, to no avail. Currently, the league is experimenting with two team captains being named and having them choose their teams like we all did back in gym class. Can you not hear the sigh of relief by Keith Tkachuk that this format is being used AFTER his retirement ? If you follow me. Anyways, not to be negative NHL but the build up to the draft will be the talk, and then most of us will tune out for the game.

But my idea is a little outside the box. Maybe it’s not about the format. Maybe it’s all in the timing. Consider this: It’s September 30th, fall is in the air, it’s the most exciting time of year for most sports fans, you’re dying for some NHL hockey and you’re thinking, ” Please God. Give me hockey. I’ll even watch the Leafs vs Sens. I mean Leafs vs Flames. And I promise I won’t swear anymore. Amen.” You would watch the All Star Game then wouldn’t you ? You would be more likely to anyways.

If you’re following me, I’m talking about having the All Star Game kick off the NHL season. Hold it on either October 1st or during the first weekend in October, and the season will officially be underway.

Let’s face it, the game is always going to be what it is: an exhibition game with not a lot of passion. The players will never take it more seriously, it’s always going to be just for fun, but hit us fans when we’re desperate for hockey ! Not when we just want the season to play on so our teams can hurry up and do their deadline buying or selling and fulfil their annual destinies.

The game itself is mostly for the kids. That’s not to say us adults can’t enjoy it, but most of us just don’t. I remember my Dad taking my brother and I to the All Star practice back in 1989 when it was in Edmonton. What an amazing experience. Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Ray Bourque, Steve Yzerman, Dino Ciccarelli, Brett Hull, Mark Messier, etc etc, all on one ice surface. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Plus we got to skip school for the day. So thanks Dad. ( In case you read this )

So for that reason, we need to keep the game around. It’s great. But trying to change the format just isn’t working. Let’s have it in the fall, have the two coaches from both Stanley Cup finalists the previous season pluck players from their own conferences, and let’s get it on. It would still be the annual extravaganza for the host city, and I’m betting a lot more of us boring, pessimistic adult fans would tune in.

Problem solved.

And I’m a jersey guy so for the love of God do Dennis Maruk and his healthy porn ‘stache a favor and go back to the old uniforms modeled in his picture above, please ?

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