Since the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, AKA John Scott Day, AKA the only All-Star Game anyone over 14 years old has ever enjoyed, the NHL has restricted the voting to those that the league designates as “bona fide players.”
Because of the massive campaign to get the former enforcer Scott to the game in Nashville, the NHL came out the next year determined to not let any fun occur in what is supposed to be a for-fun game. Fans would still be allowed to search for players on the league site that weren’t on the NHL’s original list, but players like Scott (fringe NHLers) were excluded altogether. In all, the new rule was crafted to cater towards the league’s intent – to ensure a John Scott situation never happens again. It was all very NHL.
Surprise, surprise, the non-Scott 2017 All-Star game was a complete bore. The 2018 installment is similarly doomed. Not only will it most likely be devoid of anything fun or meaningful, but it’ll already be a punching bag for fans that would much rather watch NHLers play in the Winter Olympics.
Veteran stars never want to go to the All-Star Game (the NHL had to institute a rule a few years back to stop players from faking injuries to avoid going, forcing them to miss a regular season game if they didn’t go), and now that the league is robbing them of the chance to play for their country, the desire will be even less.
So it’s even more disappointing to find the NHL screwing up yet aspect of the All-Star Game. As per NHL rules, fans vote for four captains (one from each division). The highest vote-getter for each division is guaranteed a spot on the team. The rest of the selecting is done by league brass.
Most teams have at least three players on the league’s nomination form, put out on December 1. All but three actually: the Carolina Hurricanes, the Vegas Golden Knights and your Vancouver Canucks.
Now, the other teams should be at varying degrees of outrage (William Karlsson of the Knights has certainly played well enough to garner consideration, for instance, while Justin Faulk of Carolina got the nod but really hasn’t been all that good), but we’re going to focus on Vancouver here.
Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi got the nod for the Canucks, with rookie sensation Brock Boeser being left in the dust. Other rookies, like Nico Hischier of the New Jersey Devils and Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes, made the cut despite having fewer points than Boeser. The Canucks’ rookie is 28th in the league in points. Horvat is 70th; Baertschi isn’t in the top 100. And that’s not a slight against those two; tons of players on the list have fewer points than both Canucks who made it. Heck, Matt Duchene has two points in his 10 games with Ottawa, but apparently his star status is enough.
It’s hard to see it as anything but a slight against the Canucks, who have put together a decent 12-10-4 record. It’s double the amount of wins the sad sack Coyotes have put up.
In a perfect world, the league would realize that the three Canucks who deserve to be on that list (whether they make the final team or not) are Boeser, Horvat and Chris Tanev. Yes, Tanev’s game isn’t the type that typically generates All-Star talk, but it should. Don’t look now, but he has one less point than Faulk in five fewer games played, and two fewer than Mark Giordano of the Flames in six fewer games. He’s also the defensive backbone of the Canucks.
Boeser is the obvious, ridiculous snub from the NHL, but it’s a symptom of how the league views Vancouver right now: right there with Vegas and Carolina in terms of star power, and behind powerhouses like Arizona, Buffalo, Florida and Detroit.
So flood the ballot box. Vote for Boeser. It’ll definitely be more exciting.More