All-Star Game Voting is Pointless and Stupid

Brett Starkopf, Sports Writer, Copy Editor

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Out of the big four sports in the U.S., the NHL is hurting the most in fan support while still trying to recuperate from the 2012-2013 lockout shortened season. You would think the league would do everything in its power to maintain fan support by doing what is best for itself and for the fans.
 
The league’s handling of John Scott is a prime example of why fans are losing interest. They claim that All Star weekend is for the fans, which is why the fans have the opportunity to select representatives.
 
When the fans voted for Scott—the 6-foot-8, 259-pound enforcer who has played a total of 11 games this season, tallying one point for the Arizona Coyotes and, technically, wasn’t even on the team when the All-Star captains were announced—ironically, he admitted to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that he wasn’t digging the joke before finally accepting that he was going to be an All-Star, albeit he knows he is undeserving.
 
“It’s funny, every day you get a different opinion from somebody else. You talk to your management, your coaches, your teammates,” Scott told LeBrun on Jan 7. “At first, it was kind of like a joke and I wasn’t really a fan of it. I was like, ‘Let’s end this quick and move on.’ And once it started to gain speed and gain momentum behind it, I started to talk to more people and realized, ‘This is probably going to happen.’ So I had to start to change my tune from, ‘I don’t want to do this, I don’t like this’ to ‘If it happens, I’ll be happy and we’ll have some fun with it.’
 
“At first, it was super negative, I didn’t want it to happen, but now it’s here and we’ll have a good time with it.”
 
Scott was also aware that he shouldn’t be an all-star. The Coyotes posed a note from Scott on their Twitter account Dec. 3 saying that he was “flattered and grateful” for the fans thoughts but “a few of my teammates are a bit more deserving of a vote.”
 
But once the Internet gets a hold of an idea, the “armchair warriors” don’t stop until they get what they want. Which they did as Scott was the leading votes, despite being waived by the Coyotes three times this season.
 
The NHL did not like the idea of Scott being an all-star and they may have won the battle.
 
Scott was traded to the Montreal Canadiens last Friday who quickly sent him to the minors, leaving his status for the all-star game in question. Bob McKenzie of TSN (the Canadian equivalent of ESPN) said in a tweet on Jan. 15 that the trade “likely” takes care of Scott participating in the All-Star Game. McKenzie also noted in his tweet that the NHL and Coyotes asked Scott to “bow out” of the game and Scott “refused.”
 
McKenzie also believes the trade was made to keep Scott out of the game.
 
“(Scott’s) inclusion in this trade, in my mind, was absolutely orchestrated to solve the All-Star issue for the league,” McKenzie told TSN radio last Friday.

The spectacle of the All-Star game has become a spectacle in and of itself. Nobody takes it seriously anymore, not the fans, not the players, and, especially, not the league. Last season, Zemgus Girgensons of Buffalo Sabres was the leading vote-getter due in large part to citizens of his native country, Latvia, voting for him.
 
All-Star game selections are not merit based. They are just selections of who fans want to see. Ideally, players should be rewarded for their play at the halfway point of the season because if their multi-million dollar contracts aren’t enough, then their All Star selection might be the only accomplishment some players garner.

The NHL already suspends players for not wanting to participate in All-Star Game festivities, and now, they are dictating for whom the fans should vote. Sure, the fans succeeded in voting in an unlikely candidate, making a mockery of the long-running joke that is the All-Star Game but that is in large part due to the ineptitude of commissioner Gary Bettman.
 
Maybe if the game was worth something, like how the winner of the MLB gets home field advantage in the World Series, fans would vote differently and try to put together the best team so the team they support is best fitted for championship, should they get there.
 
But who knows? The only thing true is that the All-Star Game is supposed to be an exhibition—a fun, relaxing weekend for the players and fans alike—and shouldn’t be riddled with controversy.
 
Brett Starkopf is a junior studying English and Linguistics. His love for sports started at the tender age of three when he began to play hockey and baseball. Growing up in the ‘90s, Brett started following the Chicago Bulls and his love affair for basketball began, though he has never played outside of a P.E. class. He grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and, when he was old enough, he would cut classes in high school to go watch the Cubs play. He is a devout Cubs-ist, which was inherited from his father, who, in turn, inherited it from his father. He believes the New Year actually begins when pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training sometime in February. His fondest sports memories are when he shot the puck during the second intermission of a Blackhawks game in 1998, making his first shot but missing the subsequent three; watching the Bears lose to the Eagles in the 2001-2002 NFC Divisional round of the playoffs then going from Soldier Field to the United Center to watch Michael Jordan’s first game back in Chicago as a member of the Washington Wizards; Game 4 of the 2010 Western Conference Playoffs when the Blackhawks completed their sweep of the San Jose Sharks en route to a Stanley Cup; and watching the Cubs advance to the National League Championship Series in 2015 and seeing Kyle Schwarber hit the top of the right field scoreboard.

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