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.

Comments (11)

  1. Phaneuf an “interesting character”, ok? The only guy outside of Chara and Alfredsson even worthy of consideration is Iginla. Phaneuf’s having himself a nice bounce back season, but he’s not deserving of ASG captaincy.

    • What does it even require to be ‘deserving of ASG captaincy?’ This makes no sense. The first six players picked are winners of a popularity contest and the rest of the rosters are filled out by the league whose decisions are very subjective.

      The game has no meaning except for contract negotiations and bonuses. Why does the captaincy need to be earned through point-production?

      You want some excitement, how about pitting former teammates and Stanley Cup Champions Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien against each other. Why not split up the Sedin twins and have them each captain a team. How about Shea Weber vs Ryan Suter (and the loser has to leave Nashville). Why does it have to be ‘nice guys’ who are put in charge of what could be a much more entertaining event.

      Phil Kessel as a captain making a backhanded comment about not picking Alex Ovechkin every round, and taking a picture of him every round, would be worth every moment of watching whatever commercials NBC ends up airing.

  2. As a Sens fan, I wish it had been Phaneuf or Kessel. Totally agree with you that the NHL needs to go whole-hog and stir the pot. Chara would be perfect if say you make the other captain one of the Sedins.

    I’d love to have seen Phaneuf v Alfie. It’d be awesome. I can kinda see why the NHL would shy away from it though. As large an audience as they serve with that, they probably want the ASG to be broader than Ottawa v Toronto.

  3. It’s the all-stars themselves who vote for the captains, right? Aren’t those the same guys who voted Phaneuf “most overrated” player in the NHL? Despite perceived entertainment value, I doubt they’d vote for him or guys like Kessel or Bufgylien as their captains. Unless maybe you had a big party and got them all drunk before the vote.

  4. Well, lets hope Kessel is not picked last, due to the Ottawa-Toronto Rivalry and being traded from Boston thing

  5. I wanted to see Kessel pick OV last (after taking his picture, of course).

  6. Justin Bourne?
    Who is this Leafs sports-nerd clown?

    • He uses Phaneuf as AN EXAMPLE and now he’s a “Leafs sports-nerd clown’? Clearly you don’t listen to The Backhand Shelf Podcast on iTunes or you’d know he’s no a Leafs fan.

  7. At least Chara as captain guarantees the Sedins playing together on one team, accompanied by Edler. What’s the likelihood of Chara picking a Canucks player?

  8. This is suppose to be an All-Star game. A game that showcases the talents of the players. Plus it gives the players a chance to try things that they would not normally try in a regular season game. If you want to see comedy, then you should rent the movie “Slapshot”.

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