The NHL's Superstar Problem

Oh, is it is college basketball season? I must have missed it when 17-0 Baylor came into Allen Field House, and left sans mojo. You know the best part? When KU won, the fans just did the chant as usual and went home. We don't storm courts.

But let's put our conversation on ice. Sorry, that was bad—"spilled milk" bad. Nevertheless, hockey season is heating up (shoot me), with the league's 38 best vets and 12 top rookies gathered in glamorous Ottawa, Ontario, for NHL All-Star Weekend. You may have noticed, though, something missing. Thursday night, captains Zdeno Chara and Daniel Alfredsson choose their teams, schoolyard style, just like Major League Lacrosse, for Saturday's skill competition and Sunday's All-Star Game. But they had no stars to choose from.

Like a great boxer with glass jaw, Sidney Crosby can't stay on the ice, plagued by concussions. No one knows what to make of Alex Ovechkin. Washington's Russian star, who's been decidedly dimmer the last two seasons, backed out of the league's festivities at the last minute, ostensibly pouting over a suspension. The pair's much-hyped rivalry—that once looked like The Future—now seems to already be in the past. Just who's hockey biggest star? Probably Tim Thomas. No, not the Villanova forward drafted by the Nets, the Boston goaltender and Stanley Cup MVP. Thomas, an out conservative, recently boycotted a White House ceremony for the Bruins in protest of what he called "excessive government."

Principled stupidity at best. Can you imagine poor Gary Bettman's hair-pulling reaction to hearing that news?

You know what, though? The NHL has always been a mess, at least in living memory. For me, that's part of the appeal. Like a great, scruffy dive bar, the game isn't for everyone. It's not hip, and should stop trying to be.

Oh, speaking of. Hipness, that is, and trying to be. There will be one at least one very famous person at the All-Star game. Drake is performing. Yes, Drake. The hyper-slick Afro-Canadian-Jewish-American hitmaking R&B superstar. He's set to perform at halftime.

Patrick, talk hockey with us. Is it Rangers or Red Wings for the cup? What's good and bad about the league? And isn't Drake at halftime a whole lot better than Madonna? 

–Hampton

Presented by

Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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