Today the NHL announced that Zdeno Chara and Daniel Alfredsson will be the captains at this year’s All-Star Game, meaning they’ll be the two dudes in charge of drafting the teams. I both approve and disapprove of their selections. Let’s discuss.
I approve of Daniel Alfredsson being one of the captains for the obvious reason: he’s the captain of the team that plays out of the city that’s hosting the all-star game. I shouldn’t have to use more words than that to get you to agree there.
I approve of Zdeno Chara being a captain because A) he spent four years as an Ottawa Senator, B) he’s one of the best players in the NHL and C) because he’s senior enough to be worthy of selection.
So yes: kudos, NHL.
But on the other hand… this draft could be so much more exciting if we picked the captains differently.
The League was bold and aggressive when it switched to the draft-your-team format, and I liked that. But I think in order to make bold-and-aggressive work, you can’t half-ass it.
The fun in this style of team selection (for me anyway) was the possibility of locker room-esque hijinks. I though guys would chirp other players, have some fun with it, and maybe throw a few digs at players from opposing teams.
But by selecting the captains that they did last year – Nick Lidstrom in particular – you eliminate the potential for that stuff from the proceedings. I don’t think picking our All-Star captains needs to be looked at like we’re giving lifetime achievement awards, and Lidstrom, like Chara, is too much of a pro to take a shot at anyone (and frankly, they aren’t the most outgoing/outspoken guys).
If you picked some more controversial, interesting characters (like Dion Phaneuf), you leave the door open on that stuff. Maybe there’d be only one player left and Dion would still refuse to pick him. Maybe he wouldn’t draft anyone from the Bruins/Habs, or whoever he considers a rival. Maybe he’d say something that would require a little on-ice vengeance down the road. Now that’s good TV.
I have to believe if the fans voted for who the captains were going to be, we’d have a better chance to make it more entertaining.
I understand why the League made the picks they did. Chara and Alfredsson are the “right” ones. For my money though, they’re not the fun ones, and that’s what the draft should be about.