The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to change this years’ All-Star Game format to 3-on-3 tournament based largely on the popularity of the league’s newly implemented overtime format.
The teams will consist of 11 players from each division and fans will be allowed to vote in one star regardless of their position. The rest of the teams will be chosen by the NHL Hockey Operations Department, with all 30 teams being represented by at least one player. The biggest change will be the removal of the players draft on Friday night where the players were somehow allowed to drink alcohol on live television, and with that goes the most entertaining part of the weekend.
The switch to a 3-on-3 tournament is a good move for the All Star game. The players will still put in minimal effort despite the one million dollar prize for the winning team, but three-on-three is so entertaining that it will not really matter whether or not players try. As long as the players are still trying some fun moves, and there will be plenty of space for them to, the game will already be more entertaining to watch and should be considered a success.
Three-on-three and a million-dollar prize is a good medium between sticking with the old format and actually make the game worth something, like how MLB all-star game determines home-field advantage in the World Series. An arbitrary game like the all-star game should not determine anything to do with the regular season, and should just be a showcase of the league’s stars trying ridiculous stuff while having fun and avoiding any possible injury.
Maybe the cash incentive might garner a little more buy-in from the players, even though it amounts to roughly 91-thousand when split amongst team members, but it means the NHL is still taking the game too seriously. The million-dollar prize means we probably will not get to see a goalie join the rush or something like that, the NHL really should just double-down on the games ridiculousness instead of trying to create this mythical game between the league’s best players it so desperately wants. The players are never going to play at their full capacity, so leave it to the World Cup or Olympics and make the game like the skills competition more than anything else.
While the NHL is still wrongfully trying to make the game more competitive, they at least get it right by having representatives from all 30 teams. The all-star weekend is really for the kids that love the sport, and it would be awful for a kid not to have someone from their favourite team participating just because the team is garbage. Yeah, this means you end up with all-star Buffalo Sabre Zemgus Girgensons, but there’s really no harm in that. It’s for the kids and that’s what people should understand the most.