At the GM meetings this week in Toronto, the NHLPA and General Managers alike agreed to change the format of All-Star Weekend. The old format, which included the Young Stars Game and Skills Competition one night, and the All-Star Game in classic East vs. West fashion the next night. Some of the major changes:
- Captains will be announced, and draft their own teams in its own TV special. This effectively eliminates the East vs. West battle that we have seen throughout the history of the game (save for those ridiculous North America vs. The World years). If it winds up being Sid vs. Ovie again, hardcore fans will mutiny.
- Captains will be voted on by the All-Stars, as selected by the criteria below.
- Fans will still vote for six starters (three forwards, two defensemen, one goalie) total, and the rest of the players will be assigned as per usual. The captain selection process appears to be limited to those elected to the All Star Game.
- The Young Stars game has been eliminated. Few will care.
- To replace the Young Stars game, 12 rookies will be selected to compete in the skills competition.
- The skills competition will include the following events: fastest skater, breakaway, accuracy shooting, skills challenge relay, hardest shot, and elimination shoot out.
- Goalies will participate in the skills competition as skaters, which includes the shooting accuracy and fastest skater competition. Rick DiPietro is banned from the skills competition because he still hasn’t located his hip from the last All Star Game he attended.
- The schedule will have three nights of action, as the draft will be on Friday, Jan 28, the Skills Competition will be Saturday, Jan 29, and the All Star Game itself will be Sunday, Jan 30. That leaves three separate events for ESPN to not cover this year.
The changes are interesting to say the least. The draft is definitely going to garner a lot of attention. Watching the goalies take part in the skills competition is going to be interesting as well. Considering both the NHL and the NHLPA agreed to these suggestions, it’s worth watching for a season or two to see how it goes. You can read the full details of the changes to the ASG here.