The National Hockey League holds its annual All Star Game each and every year around this time and I must admit I am starting to get the sense that there is an overwhelming amount of negativity surrounding the game itself. Now that may be my own bias talking, viewing, things from the lens of someone who follows hockey media every single day, however there does seem to be some growing concern surrounding the game as an entertainment product.
To be clear the event as a whole continues to be pretty well received and in fact you could argue that leading up to the All STar Game proper the NHL was having itself a rather successful weekend. Not only did the league and its fans have a ton of fun with the NHL All STar Skills Competition but this time around the women of hockey got the chance to showcase their skills in a way that they never had before at an NHL event. All of the talking leading up the game proper was positive, if a bit tempered by the fact that this was all just for fun, but when the game itself arrived all of that changed. Some of the most recognizable journalists in the game took to social media on Saturday during the All Star Game to express just how disappointed they were with the whole thing, and I would be lying if I didn't add that their opinions here largely reflect the way I feel as well.
"I love hockey. This is not hockey," wrote Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times. "I wish the NHL could figure out a better way to showcase the sport because this no-hit, no-try exhibition isn't it."
"In just over three minutes, the first game of the All-Star Game has already produced more goals than the women's game last night. I'd rather watch the women play than this gong show," wrote Ken Campell of The Hockey News.
"All-Star weekend is always really fun. There's a great energy to it, all the events and the Fan Fair are great for hometown fans and fans who make the trip, the skills comp is good fun... then the actual All-Star Game starts and it's death," wrote Mark Lazerus of The Athletic. "I don't know what the solution is."
Of course these are just a few examples among many. Do you agree with the general sentiment here? Does the All Star Game need to undergo a drastic change in format? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.