I have wrote about this topic briefly before, but I thought it would be a good time to bring it up again. As you all know, the 2013 NHL All-Star Game was scheduled to be played in January of this past season in Columbus at Nationwide Arena. Again, as you all know, the lockout shortened season ruined the chances of the best of the best coming to Columbus. Now, looking at this upcoming season, it is a Winter Olympics year, so an all-star game will not be played.
But wait, what if something could be in place of the all-star game, and it could be scheduled in Columbus, maybe as an “I’m sorry Columbus for ruining all your fun that you planned to have in 2013.” Now, I am not saying that I don’t want the all-star game in 2015 to be in Columbus, I am saying that the NHL should come up with a new tradition, a tradition that is scheduled every four years when the Winter Olympics is occurring.
I have a couple of thoughts as to what the NHL could do during the Olympic break that is scheduled from February 9th to February 25th, which in my eyes, is plenty of time to have one event, maybe even two. I am sure that if the NHL put some effort into this, they could find out the schedule of the Olympic Hockey and make sure to not interfere with any games that could potentially be playing at the same time. Which I doubt would be occurring because of the time difference, but could be an issue with replays on television. So yeah, there are some kinks in my plan, but if the NHL can put together a shortened season schedule in the matter of days after signing a new CBA, then they can plan one event.
I am well aware that the major flaw of this idea is that the aforementioned best of the best will be in Russia, so why not give the players who have never played in an all-star game the shot at some of the fun. Every year there are probably five to ten players who were on the edge of making the all-star game but didn’t make the cut. Maybe players like Brandon Dubinsky or Artem Anisimov (could possible be playing in Russia I suppose), each team has one or even two players who are just a slight step down from being an all-star every year. Plus, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like the all-star game involves all the same players, and it makes it repetitive and boring.
The NHL did a great job of mixing the game up with adding in the “draft” aspect, this could also be included in the event during the Olympic break, as well as a skills competition. Maybe the “draft” format could change, not make it to much of a spectacle/TV event, instead have two captains choose right on the ice, like it was being played on the backyard pond. Again, lots of kinks (I think of them more as options), the NHL just needs to sit down and hash out the details.
The second idea I have for this event during the Olympic break is a play off of what the NBA already does, a rookies versus sophomores games. I believe the NHL used to, and maybe still does, have a rookie game during the skills competition. Why not build on this game and showcase the best rookies against the already experienced sophomores. Oddly enough, the Blue Jackets could have two of their own possibly play in this game, Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner. Same idea for the event as always done, a skills competition a day or two before the actual main event.
I understand that these may not be the best ideas in the world, and some of you may even think it is a horrible idea. We will never know though if the NHL never tries. The NHL is attempting to “give back” to the fans by playing several outdoor games this year, why not add in one more event, especially for the city of Columbus, who lost out on a huge extravaganza, and not to mention a large sum of revenue.
As a fan of hockey, I would be thrilled if an event like this was scheduled, because during the Olympic break it could be cheaper and more accessible to the fans, and therefore could be a huge success.