Plea to NHL: You can nix the All-Star Game, just keep skills competition

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During Saturday’s edition of Sportsnet’s Headlines (see video above), Chris Johnston reported that the NHL and NHLPA discussed the notion of “scrapping” the All-Star Game.

Johnston’s report gets a little fuzzier from there, as he goes into how the NHL wants to make more of a concerted effort to grow the game in Europe.* For all we know, the league might just want to bring some sort of modified All-Star weekend overseas. It seems like this is all in an early gestation period; Johnston said that more talks are expected to happen.

Beyond that, there wasn’t really a timeline specified, even if something significant does happen.

So, in case that wasn’t clear: it’s too early to say that All-Star Games will be no more.

Let’s assume that such a measure will be taken, though.

If that happens, allow PHT to beg for fellow hockey fans: whatever you do, don’t get rid of the glorious spectacle that is the skills competition.

(Heck, you can have one night for more normal stuff like the hardest shot and another for odder events.)

Seriously, aside from John Scott’s storybook experience, which moments do you remember most vividly? From Al Iafrate’s skullet to players aiming at hilariously small nets to Alex Ovechkin‘s goofy costumes and moments of friendship with Evgeni Malkin, chances are those great times came during a skills competition.

Also, any chance to get Sidney Crosby vs. Connor McDavid (or vs. Auston Matthews … or vs. Alex Ovechkin) at anything is probably in the best interest of the NHL/sports/humanity:

Honestly, NHL execs, you already broke a lot of hearts by getting rid of the fantasy draft process where players basically roasted each other. That experience was about 10 times more entertaining than your typical All-Star exhibition where the main goals are (understandably) to not get hurt or embarrassed.

Actually, this brings up the best idea of all: Phil Kessel hosting an All-Star hot dog eating contest.

Anyway, the NHL and NHLPA still have a long way to go before we see the end of the All-Star Game. Let’s just hope they don’t lose sight of the big picture, which just so happens to revolve around miniature nets.

* – During that same segment, Elliotte Friedman reported that the Edmonton Oilers would love to participate in games in China. One can picture Connor McDavid creating new fans there, right?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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