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Rob Blake: Selanne and Lidstrom have earned the right to skip All-Star Game

Jan 19, 2012, 1:07 PM EDT

Selanne and Lidstrom Getty Images

Monday we linked to a column in the Ottawa Citizen that suggested 41-year-old future Hall-of-Famers Teemu Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom were breaching their duty to show up for the All-Star Game on Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place.

Suffice to say the column wouldn’t have had the support of Rob Blake, the former NHL all-star, now working for the league, who’s intimately involved in the selection process.

“There’s only a few (players) each year that have earned that right and those two guys have definitely represented the league a number of times and been outstanding players,” Blake told the Canadian Press. “A lot goes into how they’re feeling for their run down the stretch. You obviously want them to be ready for their team especially — a guy like Nick Lidstrom is continuously in conference finals and Stanley Cup finals, the amount of games he plays. …

“Those two guys have earned more respect from their years of service in the league.”

Of course, the respect they’ve earned is the reason fans who buy tickets to the All-Star Game want to see them. So it’s a bit of a double-edged sword for guys like Lidstrom and Selanne. They’re so well-liked that they’re constantly being pulled in opposite directions. And since they can’t be in two places at the same time, they’re bound to upset somebody and end up feeling guilty.

Meanwhile, disliked people get to stay home alone, watching TV like kings.

  1. drewsylvania - Jan 19, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Nobody should be able to “earn’ the right to skip the ASG. Do we want to be the NFL, where nobody goes? The league should mandate attendance. I know players want to see their families, but from a business perspective, letting players opt out only diminishes the product.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 19, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      If we start seeing more than half the players opting out then I might agree with you, but I don’t think just Selanne and Lidstrom choosing to do so diminishes anything.

      • drewsylvania - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:00 PM

        I dunno–that’s two Hall of Famers right there.

  2. barkar942 - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Perhaps there can just be a permanent rule in the new CBA about the All Star Game – All players who are 35+ in the season they are selected to attend have the right to decline the invite from the league.
    Most of the players over 35 who are invited will most likely be, in the future, Hall of Fame inductees.
    By this point in their career, they should have the right to decline, which then allows other younger players to experience their first All Star Games. Perhaps those younger players being selected instead of these two will go on and become Hall of Fame material themselves.

  3. eddieapoc - Jan 19, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    All star games are a joke. These guys have been to plenty anyway. If they want to stay home and give someone else a chance to go that sounds fine to me. I’m not sure what this writer is crying about.

    • drewsylvania - Jan 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      Yeah, but they’d be less of a joke to viewers if everyone was required to go.

      Though they should take out the “vote early & often” fan voting BS.

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