The Canadiens’ marketing department, in an effort to become even more “fan friendly” has decided to take the job of selecting the three stars out of the hands of those who are actually in game attendance and hand it to the television audience.
These is the same fan-group that stuffed the 2008 All-Star Game ballot box with four mostly-undeserving Montreal Canadiens game starters (Price, Markov, Komisarek, Kovalev).
The NHL’s “Three Star” selection was first awarded during the 1936-37 season, when the Imperial Oil Company wanted to promote it’s “Three Star” brand of gasoline. It was a staple of hockey in Toronto and Montreal for years before being adopted by most of the rest of the league.
For years, the selection was handled by accredited members of the written media, and they were paid an honorarium. In recent years, the role was turned over to the game broadcasters, presumably because they didn’t ask to be paid. Even so, in most instances, those assigned took the job, subjective as it was, very seriously.
Now it becomes a popularity contest in which visiting players assuredly will be given short shrift and public whim will rule the day.
Being ‘fan friendly’ is a noble endeavour. And the Three Star selection gets more attention then it actually deserves. It did bring about post game discussion. (Don Cherry Saturday night disputed Michael Cammalleri being named first star ahead of Carey Price)
From here forward, three star selection will provoke be about the same amount of discussion as who will become this month’s Molson Cup winner.
So be it. Life goes on.