Yes, you read the title correct, the somewhat useless but still kind of fun NHL All Star Game will see some changes this year. Here they are:
- Fans will continue to play the lead role in the selection of All-Stars when 2011 NHL All-Star Fan Balloting presented by XM launches on Monday, Nov. 15. The All-Star Balloting process, which is entirely digital for the fourth consecutive game, runs through Jan. 3.
- From a group of 100 players on the ballot, fans will vote for their top six All-Stars by position without regard to the Conference in which the player plays. Fans will also have the ability to write-in a player of their choice.
- The three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie receiving the most votes will be named the first NHL All-Stars.
- The remaining 36 All-Stars will be named by the NHL Hockey Operations Department for a total of 42 All-Star players (3 goalies, 6 defensemen and 12 forwards per team).
- Following the selection of the All-Stars, NHL Hockey Operations will designate 12 NHL rookies to participate in the Honda NHL SuperSkills on Saturday, January 29 for a total of 54 NHL players taking part in All-Star weekend.
- After the 42 NHL All-Stars have been selected, two captains will be chosen per team by the players.
- On Friday, January 28, 2011, a draft event will be held in Raleigh with all 54 NHL players (42 All-Stars and 12 rookies) during which the captains will draft the remaining members of their respective teams.
- First selection in the draft will be determined by coin flip and selections will continue on an alternating basis.
- Each team will be required to select three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards in any order they choose.
- After the selection of the All-Star game rosters, the captains will select among the 12 rookies to fill out the rosters for the Honda NHL SuperSkill
- Each team will feature six rookies participating in various skills competitions.
- Teams will participate in six different skills, including NHL Fastest Skater, NHL Breakaway Challenge, Accuracy Shooting, Skills Challenge Relay, NHL Hardest Shot and the NHL Elimination Shoot Out.
In summary, fans will vote from 100 players for the top 6 starters for each team with disregard to conference. From there, NHL Hockey Operations Department will name the remaining 36 players. NHL Hockey Operations Department will also decide on 12 NHL rookies. Here’s the real kicker, 2 captains will be decided by the players for the two teams. From there, the captains will have a playground coin flip to decide who picks first, then the teams are picked in whatever positional order they so choose. The captains will then proceed to pick amongst the rookies, 6 to a side to compete in the skills competition.
As a fan, do you like this idea of having captains picking teams with no regard to conferences? Or would you prefer the old way? Does the idea of Pavel Datsyuk being line-mates with Alexander Ovechkin or any other combination of Eastern and Western conference players playing together intrigue you? And lastly, how much trash talk does the last player being picked get?