Let's face it, all-star weekend sucks.
The young stars game is a joke. The actual all-star game is a complete writeoff, since nobody plays defence, the "one player per team" rule dilutes the roster, and anyone with so much as a hangnail decides not to play.
The skills competition is probably the highlight of the weekend, but that's not saying much. While the NHL has tried to spice up the events over the years, there's still an element of "been there, done that" to the whole proceedings. Does anybody really want to see another puck relay?
The NHL needs to get creative. So in the spirit of innovation, here are a few suggestions for new events the league could add to better capture the current flavor of the game.
why are you yelling at me?
Where's Dany? - After Dany Heatley is hypnotized into believing he's playing in an important playoff game, all 20,000 fans will be given binoculars and forensics kits to see if they can find any evidence of him being in the arena.
American Anthem Endurance Contest - Wannabe singers and American Idol rejects from around the United States will compete to see who can take the most time to sing the pre-game national anthem, completely sapping any energy from the players and crowd. Last singer standing wins. Fans are encouraged to participate by throwing coins and shoes.
Credibility-Destroying Fan Ballot Box Stuffing Contest - Oops, they did that one already.
leave the red light on
Revenue Share Scramble - Representatives from southern US markets have sixty seconds to crawl around on their hands and knees and grab for any loose change that falls out of the pockets of the Leafs, Habs and Rangers. Special bonus: During this event, Gary Bettman will stand in the background and proclaim that the game's economics are just great.
Neglected Toddler - During the downtime in between events, Sean Avery wanders around the ice begging someone, anyone, to pay attention to him.
Goal Judge Skills Competition - Video replay goal judges from around the league compete to see who can up with the most unique and creative way to screw the Buffalo Sabres.
"How Much Was It Worth?" - At the conclusion of the All-Star game, one lucky fan gets to spin the Gary Bettman Wheel of Randomness to determine how many points the game was actually worth.
Delay of Blame - A puck is flipped up into the stands from the defensive zone, and six players per side compete to see who can be the first to point, wave their arms and otherwise browbeat the referee who actually did know that rule already, thanks.
Icing Murder - Players compete to inflict the most damage to a helpless defenceman on an otherwise meaningless icing play. Bonus points will be awared for broken bones, career-ending injuries, or fatalities. (Note: In order to make this event competitive, members of the Montreal Canadiens will not be allowed to compete.)
The NHL Superstar Decision-Making Sprint - NHL stars such as Mats Sundin, Scott Niedermayer, Joe Sakic and Brendan Shanahan are given a list of basic decision-making tasks to complete. Events will include ordering a sandwich at a deli, accepting or declining a new Facebook friend, and choosing their next Netflix rental. (Note: This event is expected to conclude some time in early 2010.)