The NHL Allstar Game has become a laughing stock of pro sports.
It has been for years but the NHL reached a new level of embarrassment with the 2018 Allstar Game.
During the summer, it was unclear whether or not the NHL would be hosting an Allstar Game due to the Winter Olympics. The league normally takes a two-week long break during years that the Olympics are held to allow players the opportunity to represent their country.
In the interest of attempting to make more money, the NHL decided to bypass the Olympics in favor of hosting the Allstar Game in Tampa Bay, Florida.
When the news came out at the beginning of training camp that players were not allowed to play in the Olympics some players took it in stride while others angrily voiced their opinions.
Alex Ovechkin, captain of the Washington Capitals and former captain of Team Russia, was notable among the angry players. He was seen multiple times conversing with fellow Russian teammates trying to find a way to bypass NHL rules to play for Russia.
The league eventually put a stop to this and reiterated the fact that all players in the league were under contract and were not allowed to participate in the Olympics.
This has been the first year since 1998 that NHL players will not be part of the Olympic teams.
Before 1998, teams consisted of college, junior, free agent, or retired players. The majority of players this year are from those same groups.
Not only would players prefer the Olympics over an Allstar Game, but players have skipped Allstar Games in the past because of how pointless they are.
Other leagues have tried to make their all–star games important or at least interesting for the players. The NHL has neither of these things.
Home ice advantage during the championship final is not determined by who wins the game, and the game and skills competitions haven't had any significant changes for years.
The only incentive is in the form of a bonus payment for the players who already make millions of dollars. They would honestly rather enjoy the weekend off like the rest of their teammates.
Players such as Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Jonathan Toews have all skipped past all–star games to get those two days of rest. They were all suspended one game for doing that but, when you look at the bigger picture of making it through the final 25 plus games in a season, it would be well worth it.
Ice hockey has been a hard sport to grow and introduce to people throughout the world. It is an extremely expensive sport to play and watch.
A kid cannot just go outside and play hockey like they could with sports such as baseball and football. They would have to live in an area that had a rink, pay hundreds of dollars for ice time, and find at least 9 others also capable of doing this just to play a game.
The Olympics act as a means of advertisement for the game on a global scale. It helps showcase the sport in countries where it is otherwise nonexistent.
Removing the best players that each country has to offer just because they play in the NHL lowers that enthusiasm and, most importantly, the skill level of the game being played.
Who would want to watch a tournament of average players playing a game that is not very popular?
The NHL has made a huge marketing mistake by keeping the players out of the Olympics. Hopefully this is not the new precedent for years to come.