Sure I'm one of the grumpy old guys around here, but hockey's had its claws in me since 1994 (we won't say why or how because NEVER MIND) and, for the most part, I've been a willing slave to the sport ever since.
Through all the bad seasons in the late 90's (Lonny Bohonos anyone?) to the "what is a defense?" Crawford years and the fun that started when Luongo swept in, this sport has had my attention.
Except for one time a year. This time of year. I've never watched one second of any NHL All Star Game. Not even one minute for curiosity's sake. Not one second of the skills competition or whatever else qualifies as an NHL "product" this weekend.
Even when the All Star Game was in Vancouver and Mark Messier was...ugh, can't finish that sentence because NEVER MIND.
I'm genuinely curious if I'm alone in this. Do you guys and girls circle this date on the calendar? Did you plan this evening and your weekend around it? Hell, do you know anyone who went all in and actually traveled to Nashville?
No harm if you love it. Checking in on the SBN All Star Game hub shows there's plenty of stuff to keep an eye on. Maybe I would feel differently if I had kids and was introducing them to the sport.
When I was younger I never watched because I didn't care. But this year's big story drives home why I've never bothered more recently: I just don't trust the NHL.
This isn't to say I'm anti-business or don't think people should be making money off the sport. It's certainly not that and I'll argue the pros of that all day long because 'merika damn it.
But as I sit here in San Francisco and watch another sport take a massive advertising dump all over every block (blocks they haven't fully closed down for an endless stream of pop music concerts), it underscores my general distrust for those who run sporting leagues.
They'll say fans always comes first, but that's about as hollow a marketing platitude as you'll ever hear. Their version of the "product" always comes first. So the fans, for whatever reason they damn well please, vote in someone that messes with the "product" and look what happens.
John Scott is just one story that - thanks to him - we know all the dirty details about. Think of all the ones we don't.
This is before we get around to talking about changing equipment. Before we get to making up new rules on the fly. Before we get to ads on jerseys. Before we even breathe one syllable concerning 1995, 2004 and 2012.
So when it comes to the All Star Game, something the league badly wants to peddle as a must-watch event because goalz!!1 sponsored by a gambling outfit that's illegal in six states, it's painfully obvious it's their "product", not hockey, they're celebrating first and when the equation gets that far out of balance, it's remarkably easy to put my fandom on mute.
But, hey, that's just one old guy's opinion. I'm curious about yours.
If you do watch this weekend, I would like to know one thing though: how did Sixwire sound?