Let’s be frank about this. I don’t feel the least bit upset that P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty aren’t going to the All-Star Game. Their exclusion from this so-called ‘event’ has nothing to do with talent.
I do feel sorry that Carey Price is going to this annual waste of time. If there is any player in need of the five day break in the schedule it’s Price.
Assuming that Dustin Tokarski starts the game Thursday in Ottawa, Price will go into the break having started eighteen of the Canadiens last twenty games. In the majority of those games he’s had to be a game star in order for the Canadiens to win.
Even as the season was beginning there was concern that the coaching staff would bow to the temptation and over-use Price leaving him worn out both physically and mentally by the time the playoffs rolled around. Although I’m convinced goaltending coach Stephane Waite is monitoring the situation closely, it remains a clear and present issue. It had reached the point that Price was being used so much that had to be sent to Hamilton for three games last month simply to remain in game shape.
Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers may have inadvertantly said it best when learned he was an All-Star snub. He told reporters, “I’ve been planning not to go, just spend time with family and recharge.” In other words better Price than me. How much would you bet that Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, in his heart-of-hearts, is breathing the similar sigh of relief? Price, Fleury and Lundqvist have carried similar workloads this season.
Players pay lip-service to the “honour” of going to the All-Star game when, in fact there is no honour at all. The affair is merely a meet-and-greet junket for the league’s sponsors capped by a telecast that is an embarrassment to the game. While Carey Price is forced to make a mandatory appearance or face a one game suspension, Lundqvist and Fleury along with Pacioretty and Subban will be spending a quality four or five days in the sun somewhere.
And we are left to wonder why the NHL All-Star game exists at all.