The KHL's plans for its first-ever all-star game are pretty spectacular. The Jan. 11 contest will be played outdoors in Moscow's Red Square; and as a result of a fan vote, the format will feature "Team Yashin" (Alexei Yashin's group of Russian and former Soviet Republic players) against "Team Jagr" (consisting of foreign-born players).
So it's like the League's base constituency against "The World." Huh ... wonder where they go that from?
Inspired by this team-captain format, Eric McErlain of NHL FanHouse came up with a rather revolutionary idea for the NHL All-Star Game: Allowing two superstars to pick their own squads.
In his example, it would be Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby's "Team Crosby" against Washington Capitals' star Alexander Ovechkin's "Ovie Style." Here's how he sees it playing out:
First off, I'd keep the voting the same way it is now, with fans voting five skaters and a goalie from both the Eastern and Western Conference. But once you get those results, all other bets are off. Next, you match your two designated team captains with the coaches who have won the honor of coaching a team based on the best record in each conference.
What comes next is a live draft aired between periods of the NHL Winter Classic. Working together with the designated coaches -- for sake of example, we'll say Claude Julien is matched with Ovechkin and Todd McLellan is paired with Crosby -- the team captains will draft their All-Star teammates, with the only proviso being that the first six selections must come from the player pool elected to start the game by the votes of the fans. Each team will select three players -- alternating one at a time -- during each between periods break.
McErlain writes that after the televised draft, "the two teams will continue to alternate picks one at a time until the traditional rosters are complete." Then the NHL leaks out the picks over the next week or two to keep the interest intense. (This would obviously rely on watertight security and silence about the picks, which is impossible in our media culture.)
Other than tainting the Winter Classic with this gimmick -- there's no need for it to appear on that broadcast -- there's some wacky virtue to this bat-poop crazy idea. Like, for example, if Ovechkin won the first pick and selected Evgeni Malkin. Yowzer.
What do you think? Too nutty? Good for one year? Keep the All-Star Game as-is?
One last Ovechkin note: His official Web site AlexOvechkin8.com is up and running. You, too, can own the official Alex Ovechkin 'Great 8 Chain & Pendant' for $175.