Nov 15

Should Nicklas Lidstrom Be Suspended For Not Attending The Nhl Allstar Game

Ask anyone who follows the sport of hockey closely and they will tell you that the NHL All-star Game is a joke. Hockey’s best players get together for a relaxing game of pond hockey, where nobody plays defense and they refuse to throw anything remotely resembling a bodycheck. The game lacks passion, intensity, and the only thing riding on it is perhaps some good-natured side bets among players.
So, with that in mind, should the NHL considering suspending its best players when they refuse to attend the game?

Take, for example, Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom. He is not injured, yet he has begged off from this year’s NHL All-star game. He has participated in the event for several years now, and would rather enjoy the time off to rest his aged body, rather than go “compete” in a game that means nothing. Sure, you could claim that he has done his time over his incredible career, but when a guy is getting paid over $7 million a year to play a sport many would argue that he shouldn’t be taking time off until the season is over.

I agree with those in that particular camp. Lidstrom is one of the biggest stars in the sport and is a member of the defending Stanley Cup champions. He has an obligation to attend the NHL All-star game for the sake of the sport. Look at Sidney Crosby. He won’t be playing the game this Sunday due to an injury to his knee, but he will be showing up in Montreal to promote the sport that he loves. He is getting cheered throughout the league for his dedication, but this sort of behavior shouldn’t be voluntary.

In these trying economic times, where franchises are on the brink of financial disaster the NHL needs to step in and do whatever they can to ensure the health of their game. They need their stars to attend this event, and a monetary fine is not going far enough. They need to threaten these players with suspensions.

Otherwise, they might as well just cancel the All-Star game altogether. If they don’t step in you can bet that more and more players will be opting out in the years to come. Suspending Lidstrom now would send a strong message to the rest of the players, and ensure that the All-star game is well represented by the best players in the league, just like it was meant to be.


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