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Columnist: Lidstrom and Selanne shirking All-Star duties

Jan 16, 2012, 1:16 PM EDT

Selanne and Lidstrom Getty Images

You knew somebody would take Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne to task for asking out of the All-Star game. And that somebody is Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen.

We suspect [Lidstrom and Selanne] mentioned having a few nagging bumps, bruises or strains, but the fact is, every NHL player has something bothering them halfway through the season. It’s a rough, tough, game. That’s why we like it so much. If the ailments become bad enough, they stop playing and go on the injury list. All-Star Weekend shouldn’t aggravate little issues. The players’ responsibilities include some mugging for the cameras during the fantasy draft, a couple of hours to answer media questions, a light-hearted skills competition and a game of shinny to wrap things up. Players go out of their way to not hit each other. It’s not meant to be serious or strenuous and nobody should give a damn if a particular player finishes with a plus/minus rating of minus-2 or minus-5.

Translation: Would it really kill Lidstrom and Selanne to show up?

Now, criticizing two of the most liked and respected players in the game is a tough path for a columnist to travel. Might as well rip kittens (figuratively, not apart. Ripping kittens apart would be universally frowned upon.)

But while Lidstrom and Selanne have certainly participated in their share of All-Star games over their many years in the NHL, there’s something to be said for a columnist who voices an unpopular opinion to stick up for the fans. Tickets to the All-Star game aren’t cheap, and this one will already be missing Sidney Crosby.

Sure, Lidstrom and Selanne might prefer a few days off before the stretch drive, but it really wouldn’t kill them to show up in Ottawa and allow themselves to be showered with adoration. At 41, they might be old for hockey players, but they’re not exactly shuffling around in slippers and eating apple sauce for dinner.

  1. pens919209 - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Maybe I’m the lone voice here, but I never really cared for All Star games… in any sport. As for the NHL, I’d rather just watch the skills competition and call it a weekend.

    And really, how surprised can you be that a columnist from Ottawa (the host of the game) is annoyed with these guys for not being there?

    • danphipps01 - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      Not even close. You’re dead-on. That’s exactly right. It’s not. Fucking. Important. Ottawa columnists didn’t give a shit about it before it became about them, and that’s pretty typical of any All-Star host – they don’t care, then it comes to their town and it’s suddenly important.

      In the end, it’s a show. It’s not really representative of the sport, and the greats shouldn’t feel obligated to show up – especially if they already have like nine million times. They’ve endured All-Star games before. They can take a break if they damn well feel like it.

      • pens919209 - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:41 PM

        The All Star game has always been a non-factor… the best players may all be on the ice at one time, but they aren’t playing their best. Namely, they have nothing to play for. I’d love it if they scrapped the All Star format and just had the World Cup of Hockey every few years (like in 1996) while making the Winter Classic the league’s annual marquee event/celebration of hockey. I won’t hold my breath, though.

        Also, the last time I watched an actual All Star game was when the Penguins hosted it in 1990.

      • michiganhockey11 - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        Why is this columnist complaining? Didn’t Ottawa have 4 of their players voted to the game this year?

      • michiganhockey11 - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

        Last time I wanted to go, Al Iafrate was brekaing 105mph with an all-wood stick…..pansies.

      • michiganhockey11 - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:58 PM

        Last time I wanted to go, Al Iafrate was breaking 105mph with an all-wood stick…..pansies.

  2. hibackhand - Jan 16, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    What have kittens done for us lately? Yarn ball batting is way down this year and yet saucers of cream consumption is on the rise.

  3. rainyday56 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Game should go back to it’s original format of allstars vs reigning cup champs. Could you imagine the Bruins going “Pete Rose” against the “pretty boys”of the NHL? Talk about rending kittens!

  4. michiganhockey11 - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Sure, as a kid, the skills competition was pretty cool. Who had the fastest/most accurate shot, fastest skaters, etc. The game was alright, but nothing great. Why the league forces the players to go and under penalty of 1 game suspension if they refuse is a bit mind-boggling. I know they want camera time of the guys to help promote the league, but have some common sense. Lidstrom and Selanne have been in the league a long time, paid their dues, etc. Yeah, Crosby won’t be at the All-Start game which left Bettman with his panties in a bunch about making sure to get other well known players to help carry the PR burden. I get it.

    The All-Star game doesn’t matter. Asking the players to play together in an exhibition and risk injury midway through the season. Just like the Winter Classic (which shouldn’t be an every year). Cut the guys some slack and ask some real hockey fans how important the all-star game is.

    Lidstrom-11 times voted to all-star game; did not play in at least 1 within the past 3 years

    Selanne- Played in 10 all-star games

    Again-cut the guys some slack. They’ve carried the burden a few times around the block.

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