The National Hockey League's All Star Game has become a huge topic of debate in the hockey community in recent years with both players and fans seemingly having had enough of what is at the end of the day nothing more than a exhibition. Although the event is an important one for the NHL itself the criticism surrounding the event has only grown, and with the recent trend of star level players skipping out on the event there is now a real debate about the future of the game itself.
One player who recently made comments regarding the game was Detroit Red Wings star forward Dylan Larkin. The former first round pick had some rather scathing comments regarding the game, effectively telling fans in Detroit not to vote for him in the hopes that he would not be selected. Larkin let it be known that he would much prefer the additional time off and also added towards the end of his comments that he felt others might be more deserving.
"Please don't vote." said Larkin. "I like the days off more... we have great fans but I am sure there are guys more deserving to go and I am fine with that."
The comments rubbed some the wrong way and included among those is former NHL general manager and team president Brian Burke. The veteran NHL executive was asked about Larkin's comments during an intermission segment on the broadcast and there was no doubt about how Burke feels in this situation. Burke unloaded on Larkin with some rather harsh comments that you do not hear directed at players all that often.
"Well I think it's stupid," said Burke. "This kid is a good kid and he is a good player but it is a honor to be part of the all Star weekend, it is a very important weekend for the NHL and their sponsors and broadcast partners. You should get a speeding ticket on your way to the airport to fly to this game Dylan Larkin, and you shouldn't scoff at it like that."
The comments were somewhat surprising given the stance that Burke had taken earlier regarding Alex Ovechkin's decision to sit out of the very same All Star Game. Burke however made it clear that he felt Ovechkin had earned the right to sit out the event, while a player like Larkin should simply shut up.
"A player acquires the right to turn this down, like Alexander Ovechkin, but that is after he played in about 12 or 15 of these, international hockey, all the other stuff he's done, all the playoffs. Once you have done that you can say no to this game, otherwise if you are voted in get on a plane or keep your mouth shut."
Burke was then asked how he would have dealt with the situation if he were in the shoes of Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman, and needless to say he continued to give Larkin a piece of his mind.
"I would have ripped his face off if that were one of my players. I would have said 'How can you be that dumb in front of a camera, if you are gonna be that stupid do it off camera."