Long time hockey fans have always known that former St. Louis Blue and Detroit Red Wing, Brendan Shanahan, is one to shake things up on the ice. Now that he's no longer playing the game, he's still having fun with it. This weekend, in an effort to draw fan interest, the 58th All-Star game will get a new wrinkle.
As a former NHL All-Star and current NHL vice president of hockey and business development, Shanahan, has added a new twist to this year's All-Star event: The All-Star Fantasy Draft.
The festivities begin tonight at 8 ET, serving as the opening act to the Versus network’s coverage of NHL All-Star Weekend. The SuperSkills competition is Saturday evening, and they finish it all out with the All-Star Game Sunday afternoon.
The new format premise is a bit of old school, and new school. Just as we used to pick players for our team's as kids, this year's two team Captains, Eric Staal and Nikolas Lidstrom, will do the same thing... with the input and advice of their alternates. Washington's Mike Green and Vancouver's Ryan Kesler will assist Staal, while Chicago's Patrick Kane and Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis will bend Lidstrom's ear.
In a sense it's a fantasy draft, for players and fans alike.
Who will get nabbed first, and who will be the loner skater left with his chin-strap hanging?
"The fans I've been talking to are more excited for the draft than the whole weekend," said Flyers center Claude Giroux. "If I'm not picked last, then I think it's a great format."
Intriguing. But that's the point, or in hockey speak, the goal.
With none of the usual East vs. West format, you could see teammates as rivals. We might even see the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik on opposite sides of the face-off circle. And it'll be a long ride home for the Captains that fail to pick their own teammates early.
"Who knows?" Offers play by play announcer, Mike Emrick, “In future years, there might be the possibility of trades, and that would make it even more interesting as time passes. People are going to be watching to see who chooses whom and at what time.’’
Who will be that last man skating? Tune in Sunday to find out!