Friday, January 23, 2009

All-Star, No-Sense

According to the news reports, Detroit players Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Norris, er, Lidstrom, each have some nagging injuries. Datsyuk played I believe one shift in the third period of Detroit's game Tuesday, leaving with what reports say is a hip flexor. Lidstrom reportedly has a couple different injuries, mainly elbow issues.

Both players pulled out of the All-Star game festivities this weekend to nurse those nicks and bruises.

Now, as a result of that, reports say, the NHL has decided to suspend each of them one game.


I've railed in this space before about how ridiculous I feel the All-Star Game is ( so I won't go into that topic again.

But I will say that suspending players for missing this absurd spectacle hits a new low on the, shall we say, faux pas list. I get this demonstration of skills and whatnot is "for the fans" but I've said before I can do without it. The playoffs is far more exciting and is actual hockey than this midseason display of goal-goal-goal-was that a hit?-goal-goal-holy crap a penalty-goal.

Freak injuries happen. Look at Roberto Luongo against Pittsburgh earlier this season. He goes to make a routine save, messes up his knee and is out for a couple of months. Sidney Crosby missed a game before the All-Star break with an injury and received several more bangs in the games he played since. There's no reason to further aggravate that injury. The same goes for Datsyuk and Lidstrom. Each of those guys may have missed the first game after the break anyway.

If Datsyuk left his team's last game because he was too hurt to play, why should he risk further injury? Let the man stay at home and rest, don't force him to go anywhere.

What happens if one of those players jams his elbow, or twists his knee in a collision, and is out for four to six weeks? What does that do to the team's fans and the team itself? How does that take a backseat to this silly exhibition?

The league management just doesn't get it. The all-star game is a waste of time, and now excellent players will miss actual games because they are legitimately hurt.

There's time, misters Bettman and Campbell. Reverse your decision, because once again, it is the wrong one.


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