SBD/November 10, 2010/Leagues

NHL All-Star Game Shake-Up Includes Two Captains Picking Teams

The NHL is "shaking up its stale all-star format," as two captains "will choose players from either conference to make up the teams" for the '11 All-Star Game in Raleigh, according to sources cited by Chris Johnston of the CP. The idea was "formulated by" NHL VP/Hockey & Business Development Brendan Shanahan, who consulted with former NHLer Rob Blake and the NHLPA. Shanahan "outlined the change during the GM meetings on Tuesday but was reluctant to discuss it with the media afterwards." Shanahan: "We've worked for a little while now on this idea, this concept, closely with the NHLPA. They like the idea. Some of the players that they've talked to -- potential all-stars -- they seem sort of excited and energized by it." Johnston reported the teams are "expected to be picked during a live television event at the start of the all-star weekend." Players will "earn a trip to the game the same way as the past -- with fans voting for the starters and the NHL's hockey operations staff rounding out the rest of the pool." Shanahan said of the All-Star Game, "We know what it is and we know what it's not. It's an entertaining, fun game. Fans like to be entertained by the players showing their competitive spirit with a big smile on their face." The league's GMs "seem to be supportive of the idea put forward by Shanahan" (CP, 11/9). ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun wrote the concept is "something fans would find quite interesting." LeBrun: "Look for an announcement on that soon" (ESPN.com, 11/9). Hurricanes C Eric Staal: "No East-West, so it will definitely be different. But it will be fun for the fans to see how the teams get picked." Staal said that the "only ones not having much fun may be two captains chosen to pick players." Staal: "That will be a LOT of pressure, that's for sure" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/10).

SOCIAL STUDIES: USA TODAY's Kevin Allen reports social media use by NHL players "became a talking point at the GMs meeting because some have had concerns with either inappropriate remarks or giving away team secrets." CapGeek.com lists 51 NHL players with Twitter accounts, and Canucks GM Mike Gillis "has an account, too." Coyotes GM Don Maloney: "We don't want to discourage personalities." But he added that the GMs "discussed having a leaguewide policy at some point" (USA TODAY, 11/10). ESPN.com's LeBrun noted Maloney "led a discussion regarding players' participation on Twitter and Facebook." Maloney: "This was more a discussion on how do we get ahead of it? ... There (are) certain lines that you can't cross. It's more just for us to talk about it. Did other teams have issues with it? We went to the NFL and what kind of policy did they have." Maloney's "concern is also when it's appropriate for players to tweet." Maloney: "Last thing you want to see is him sitting in the penalty box tweeting about the three lefts he just threw." LeBrun noted the "consensus among the GMs moving forward is some form of guidelines, whether it's at the team level or league-wide, should be looked at," though the NHLPA "will want to have a say in that." Capitals GM George McPhee: "Should we have a league-wide policy? Should we have a policy with clubs?" (ESPN.com, 11/9). Sabres GM Darcy Regier: "The thoughts on social media are that we don't know enough about it. ... Apparently, I have a number of Twitter accounts, none of them my own" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/10).

OTHER ITEMS ON THE AGENDA: THE HOCKEY NEWS' Adam Proteau noted the concept of a coach's challenge also was "on the agenda at the GM meetings," but the suggestion "had no traction for anybody other than the man who proposed it" -- Panthers GM Dale Tallon. Red Wings GM Ken Holland's 3-on-3 overtime concept also was "shot down by GMs at the meetings," as were NHL Senior VP & Dir of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell's "proposed changes to cut back on player confrontations in pre-game warm-ups" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 11/9). In Toronto, Paul Hunter reports a "large portion of the day was turned over to discussing Rule 48, the NHL's new means of cracking down on players targeting the head of an unsuspecting player." The GMs "expressed general satisfaction with how the rule was proceeding but could revisit it or tweak it in March" (TORONTO STAR, 11/10).

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