In the grand scheme of things, all-star games are quite meaningless. Maybe even more meaningless, I think, is using the number of all-star appearances as a way to judge or rate a player (I'm looking at you, baseball media). Even though I hold this opinion, I still think it would have been nice to put Zetterberg on the roster as a formality, then take him off for injury reasons and put another player on.
I don't think that would have been too hard nor caused much controversy or any repercussions. Brendan Shanahan already confirmed what most people thought was the case. Ken Holland talked to the NHL, asked that Zetteberg not be included, and that was that. (I'm glad the league honored the request not only for Detroit, but for the other teams who also did the same thing with certain players.)
The truth is, Henrik Zetterberg deserved to be an all-star this year. Sixteen goals, 33 assists, and 49 points from a guy whose been the MVP of a Red Wings team that's second in the Western Conference is certainly all-star calibre numbers. Compare that to "all-star" Ales Hemsky's stats (24 points in 28 games), and it's clear Zetterberg is worthy.
I wasn't too angry about this until I read some words Scott Burnside wrote on ESPN.com. You would think that the media would understand, after two years, what exactly the situation was, but I guess not. Here's Burnside:
The event is fraught with danger, as you know. Two years ago, NHL commissioner essentially suspended Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk for blowing off the event after they cited mysterious injuries.Still blows my mind. Yes, of course Ken Holland and the Wings wanted to risk further injury to their superstars by playing them in an exhibition game. "Mysterious injuries?" Come on, man. Datsyuk had a strained hip flexor, not serious enough? Lidstrom had tendon issues in his elbow. There is no way the injuries were mysterious. It gets better:
I thought the commissioner was right on.He actually wrote that. My mind is still blown. Maybe it's because I'm a Red Wings fan, but there is no way I can defend suspending a player for a regular season game because they wanted out of the All-Star Game due to injury. No way.
Eklund then jumps in with this on Twitter:
ok.....I have heard the speculation that detroit asked NHL NOT to pick Z..this is a even bigger problem if true. This is for the fans.Even bigger problem? Yes, Detroit should jeopardize Zetterberg's already bad back by playing him in a meaningless game that had to have a whole new makeover just to make it interesting again. Sure, makes sense. Of course it's for the fans, but I would have been very disappointed had the Wings NOT asked the NHL to not include Z. There is just no way that the ASG should take precedence over the regular season, nor should the two be intertwined (in the case of the Datsyuk and Lidstrom suspensions).
Back to the headline: yes, I actually really enjoy the fact that only one Red Wing will be playing in Carolina. Yeah, it doesn't make sense that one of the top teams in the league only has one representative, but I, and just about every other Wings fan, agree that every player on the team needs that time off. Zetterberg will get the rest he needs and won't have to worry about making the NHL happy. Seems like a win to me.