The 2011 All Star game MVP should go to Brendan Shanahan.
Shanny is the man behind this year's exciting All Star game make over. Somehow he accomplished the impossible. There is a genuine buzz, a captured fan interest revolving around this All Star weekend. Not since Wayne Gretzky's return to Edmonton at the All Star game in 1989 and to co-starring Gretzky vs. the emerging Mario Lemieux narrative have my interest been this piqued by an All Star game.
The road-hockey style draft is an intriguing novelty. I'd rather have seen Crosby vs. Ovechkin or Henrik vs. Daniel as the two captains. Or even two players from the host city as captains. Regardless, the various story lines - teammates vs teammates, countrymen vs countrymen and even brother vs brother - should get the players competitive juices flowing.
All of the anticipation for the event revolves around tonight's draft rather than Sunday's game itself. How can the NHL ensure more interest and ultimately a better competition on Sunday? Here's a few ideas:
- Each player on the winning team receives $5,000 for a team victory. All winning money would be donated to a charity of the player's choice on their behalf.
- Mix the All Stars with a few celebrities. Or use women goaltenders from the Canadian and USA national teams.
- A radical game change: Instead of a structured league game, how about a mini games of shinny. Maybe break the All Stars into four teams and have a shinny tournament.