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Friday, January 23, 2009

The NHL Wants to Suspend Players Who Skip the All-Star Game

In a desperate attempt to make the NHL All-Star Game legitimate after doing so much that has made it a joke the NHL has decided that "it will enforce an understanding that all players who decline to show after being named to the All-Star teams must miss at least one game before or one game after the All-Star weekend." [TSN]

Maybe the NHL should have spent some time trying to legitimize the game BEFORE it became a huge joke.

The game was a joke before a few players decided to skip it. In fact, the players are skipping the game BECAUSE it's a joke.

The game is a joke because the ballot included injured players who were not going to play regardless of how many votes they got. The game is a joke because the NHL implemented a weak voting system that was easily exploited by numerous fans. The game is a joke because they allowed - and encouraged - ballot box stuff via electronic means. The game is a joke because it's on Versus (at 6PM on a Sunday - no one is watching TV then unless football is on.)

The NHL knows the All-Star game is a joke but instead of fixing any of those very obvious problems they are instead going to punish players who would rather take a week off to rest and help their teams than attend a useless exhibition game.

This morning I mentioned that Sidney Crosby made the right decision by skipping the game. Now instead of resting his injury he is "is en route to Montreal and will arrive early this afternoon to fully participate in all off-ice All-Star activities." [TSN]

My suggestion to the NHL is this: If you don't want your All-Star Game to be a joke you need to actually fix what's wrong with it. Forcing players to attend just looks pathetic and ruins the reputation of the game even further.

Friday, January 9, 2009

All-Star Selection Issues Cost Players Money

This is from the Bruins Blog:

No bonus for Kessel
Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff January 8, 2009 12:28 PM

Phil Kessel, who was certainly deserving of an All-Star selection, will miss out on a $212,500 bonus because he didn't make the roster.

Because this is Kessel's final season of his entry-level contract, he will not be eligible for All-Star bonuses on his next deal.

Boycott the NHL All-Star Game

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau says All-Star voting is "Dumb."

From TSN:

WASHINGTON - Alex Ovechkin is the NHL's reigning MVP and scoring champion, and he entered Saturday second in the league in goals and points.

So how is it possible, Ovechkin's coach with the Washington Capitals wants to know, that the left wing was not voted in as a starter for the all-star game?

"It's dumb," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said before Washington hosted the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

Ovechkin finished sixth among Eastern Conference forwards, trailing two players from the Pittsburgh Penguins - Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin - and three from the Montreal Canadiens - Alexei Kovalev, Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay.

Each of those five players received more than 1.2 million votes; Ovechkin got fewer than 500,000.

"It's not right the best player in the game is not a starter," Boudreau said. "But it is what it is. We want to get the fans involved, and they've got the right to vote for whoever they want."

Ovechkin entered Saturday with 26 goals, one fewer than league leader Jeff Carter of Philadelphia, and 52 points, eight behind Malkin.

"Everybody that knows hockey knows that .. Alex would be in the starting lineup if it went on merit," Boudreau said.

Join the "Boycott the NHL All-Star Game" Facebook Group and voice your opinions.

Some Deserving Players Who Will Not Be In The NHL All-Star Game's Starting Line-up

The Top Nine Goaltenders by Save Percentage
Craig Anderson - FLA
Steve Mason - CBJ
Tim Thomas - BOS
Manny Fernandez - BOS
Jonas Hiller - ANA
Roberto Luongo - VAN
Scott Clemmensen - NJD
Niklas Backstrom - MIN
Nikolai Khabibulin - CHI

The Top Six Goaltenders by Wins
Miikka Kiprusoff - CGY
Evgeni Nabokov - SJS
Henrik Lundqvist - NYR
Ryan Miller - BUF
Niklas Backstrom - MIN
Tim Thomas - BOS

The Top Eight Goaltenders by Goals Against Average
Steve Mason - CBJ
Manny Fernandez - BOS
Tim Thomas - BOS
Scott Clemmensen - NJD
Roberto Luongo - VAN
Craig Anderson - FLA
Jonas Hiller - ANA
Niklas Backstrom - MIN

The Top 21 Goal Scorers
Alexander Ovechkin - WSH
Jeff Carter - PHI
Thomas Vanek - BUF
Phil Kessel - BOS
Zach Parise - NJD
Loui Eriksson - DAL
Daniel Sedin - VAN
Patrick Marleau - SJS
Bryan Little - ATL
Patrick Sharp - CHI
Jarome Iginla - CGY
Simon Gagne - PHI
Shane Doan - PHX
Devin Setoguchi - SJS
Brad Boyes - STL
Eric Staal - CAR
Johan Franzen - DET
Patrik Elias - NJD
Rick Nash - CBJ
Marian Hossa - DET
Pavel Datsyuk - DET

Obviously all of those players could not be voted in and obviously many of them will ultimately be in the game, but the point is that, due to the way the NHL has handled fan voting, many legitimate stars will not be appearing in the game.

Join The Boycott.

Monday, December 29, 2008

All-Star Game Voting is "a total joke"

From Puck Daddy on Yahoo! Sports today:

"As of 6:42 p.m. EST on Monday night, the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings are under 10,000 votes for Scott Niedermayer away from not having a single representative in a starting position in the NHL All-Star Game. Not that this would make the ASG voting a total joke or anything, being that it already is. Help them Nicklas Lidstrom ... you're their only hope"

There are a few things I noticed while looking at the voting results today:

- Jean-Sebastien Giguere is now the leading goaltender in the Western Conference. Miikka Kiprusoff, Evgeni Nabokov and Niklas Backstrom all have better goaltender statistics than him in the west. Nabokov is currently third in votes among Western Conference goaltenders. Backstrom is a distant fifth. Kiprusoff currently has about 76,000 votes, more than 400,000 less than Giguere.

- Alexander Ovechkin, who is currently third in league scoring and second in goal scoring, is almost 580,000 votes away from being voted into the game. Jeff Carter and Thomas Vanek, who are currently competing with Ovechkin for the goal scoring lead, are nowhere near the top ten in Eastern Conference forwards.

- Sergei Gonchar, who has not played a game all season, is currently in second place amongst Eastern Conference defensemen. He is about 45,000 votes away from leading that group. Ryan Whitney, who has played three games this year, has a commanding grip on fourth place.

- The San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins, who are currently leading the Western and Eastern Conferences respectively, do not have any players close to being voted into the game.

Boycott the NHL All-Star Game.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NHL Players Agree: NHL All-Star Voting is Ridiculous

The NHL has put up "Decision '09," a blog that details the NHL All-Star Game Balloting.

The site is meant to draw enthusiasm and bring interest to the NHL All-Star voting.

However, all it does is show the fans exactly how ridiculous the voting is.

The blog has several posts that include interviews with NHL players. The players talk about the game and then each of them list who they think deserves to be on the team. Of course, who deserves to be on the team and who is actually making the team are different things.

All the NHL's All-Star Game blog succeeds at doing is showing the world that deserving players are not making the team.

For example:

"Right away, I think you have to have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin on that team...They're the three best young forwards in the NHL right now and Crosby won the Art Ross and Hart Trophies the year before last. Ovechkin won the Art Ross and Hart Trophies last year. Malkin has been playing great all year." - Phil Kessel

The problem is that, due to fan voting, Ovechkin is no where close to making the starting line-up. He currently sits in sixth place, over 40,000 votes away from starting the game.

"Obviously, you've got to put Alexander Ovechkin on your first team. Put him at the left wing because I want to put the Philadelphia Flyers Jeff Carter on the right wing. He's leading the NHL in goals so I guess you have to pick him." - Ian White

Again, Ovechkin is far from being selected to the starting line-up and Jeff Carter is not even in the top ten. Carter has just over 30,000 votes. He is over 100,000 votes behind Thomas Vanek for tenth place in voting among Eastern Conference forwards.

"Shea Weber has done a nice job over there in Nashville, so maybe he deserves to go." - Dan Boyle

We're sorry, but Shea Weber is almost 40,000 votes away from being voted in. Dan Boyle himself needs almost 20,000 votes to make the Western Conference starting line-up.

The NHL's own blog points out that the best players, players who would be chosen by their peers to start the game, will not be in the starting line-up due to the ridiculousness of fan voting.

Of course, the blog also picks up on one of the most bizarre aspects of the voting.

"Amazingly, Pittsburgh's Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whiney sit at No. 3 and No. 4 in Eastern Conference voting despite not playing yet this year. Gonchar, injured in the exhibition season and out until after the All-Star Game, is just 150,000 votes behind second-place Mike Komisarek of Montreal.

Whitney, who has been out since before training camp, is again skating with the team in preparation of his return. He is 30,000 votes behind Gonchar.

Even Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, currently on IR, has closed within 155,000 votes of Montreal's Carey Price, the positional leader."

Why the NHL would choose to spotlight the fact that injured players are gaining in votes is incredibly confusing.

The fact that the league seems to be promoting the selection of injured players as a good thing undermines the entire game.

Again, through its own blog, the NHL is showing the world that its voting procedure is ridiculous and that, due to the policy that fans can vote as often as they want through electronic means, the best players in the league will not be in the starting line-up.

The NHL All-Star Game should be boycotted.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The General Public Agrees: NHL All-Star Voting is Ridiculous

Here are a few of the best comments posted thus far on the wall of our boycott Facebook group and in the comments section of the original post proposing a boycott.

"You honestly cant sit there and vote in Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar when they have been injured all season and havent played at all." - Jim Johnston, December 8th

"voting an unlimited amount of times is ridiculous." - Adam Bowman, December 1st

"The NHL needs to wake up... after last year's Fitzpatrick fiasco they would've learned their lesson, right? Right???" - Chris Cirne, December 13th

"how does cary price get on the ballot and not Tim Thomas? What a sham" - Shawn Williamson, November 26th

"They players, coaches, and general managers should vote on who should play. Then the deserving will actually make the team. I love the Penguins, but why the hell is Gonchar and Whitney even on the ballot? They haven't even played yet! If you want the fans to vote on something, let them vote on who participates in the skills competition" Adam Bowman, November 27th

"If Gonchar and Whitney are among the vote leaders, us Penguins fans would not agree with that either" - Anonymous, November 26th

"we're pissed in boston about tim thomas is getting the shaft" - Cameron Frye, November 26th

"Guys, I HAVE voted for a Habs player!!!! and I'm still insulted by this. It has NOTHING to do with the Canadians winning the spots, It has to do with the irresponsible way the NHL has acted about the whole thing." - Life_As_A_Redhead, November 26th

"The NHL should be ashamed of themselves. The whole thing is a joke.Their statement that Montreal fans are showing us how its done was condescending." - Anonymous, November 26th

"Let's vote in guys who don't deserve it because of performance or injury but still get starting spots because of their name alone.... it makes the all star celebration a joke no matter who makes the team." - Anonymous, November 29th

"We are not complaining that the leaders are Montreal Canadiens, we are complaining that the fan ballot box is easily spoofed/stuffed and that maybe an alternative method of voting should be used." - MattC, December 2nd

The NHL is giving itself major PR problems with how they have been handling the voting.

This situation makes the NHL as a whole look amateur and third-rate.