x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

A different kind of All-Star Game in offing

The NHL is making some drastic changes — by NHL standards, at least — to the All-Star Game.

The NHL is making some drastic changes - by NHL standards, at least - to the All-Star Game.

The annual mid-season classic, which is derided more than it is praised, is getting a fan-friendly makeover in the hopes it can become a more relevant event in the league's schedule.

Voting by fans will determine six NHL All-Stars - one goalie, two defenders and three forwards. The league office will then select 36 more players, and the players will vote on two team captains.

The captains will then draft the teams, fantasy-style, on the Friday night of All-Star weekend. The teams will mix together players from the East and West, North Americans and Europeans, young and old.

It's a fun idea that should appeal to fans, and many players seemed excited at the prospect of a different kind of All-Star Game, too.

For starters, there's some pride involved - NHL players, more than most people, are a competitive bunch. Especially the stars. Has Patrick Kane ever had to wait to be selected in a hockey draft? Or Martin Brodeur? Not a chance. But someone has to be the last player picked.

Will the captains select their friends and guys they have played with, or really try to choose the best? Will the teams play with some passion?

Regardless of the answers, it's refreshing that the game is generating some buzz. It is, after all, a best-on-best event worthy of anticipation, especially if the best give their best. The changes all but promise an injection of passion.

sports@thenational.ae