The Saturday Slate is a weekly discussion or platform where members of Win Column Sports provide their respective opinions and thoughts on an event that took place in the prior week. Additionally, there is also a running pool amongst the contributors based on our picks for Saturday’s match-ups. This week, the Win Column panel discusses the NHL action on December 22nd.

The Story:

The annual All-Star Game is one of the biggest yearly disappointments on the NHL calendar. Despite a number of innovations through the years designed to make the game more entertaining to fans - such as the pre-game draft and the shootout competition - the National Hockey League’s All-Star weekend pales in comparison to the hype behind the NBA’s celebration of its biggest stars.

However, for one glorious season, the All-Star game was one of the most talked-about events not only in hockey but around the globe. In 2016, a campaign to select then-Arizona Coyotes enforcer John Scott as the captain of one of the All-Star teams went viral, resulting in one of the most entertaining stories to come out of the hockey world in, well, years. Scott was nowhere near a traditional selection to the team; his five career goals stand as the lowest total of any NHL All-Star, ever. Despite the fact that Scott was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, was playing in the AHL at the time, and was actively encouraged by the NHL to not participate in the game, he would play in his first - and surprisingly, only - NHL All-Star Game on January 31, 2016. Not only was Scott selected as captain of his team, but the veteran enforcer would score two goals for the Pacific Division en route to earning his selection as the All-Star Game.

With the league desperate to draw attention to the annual All-Star classic, who is the best selection to replace John Scott as the completely-unworthy-but-totally-worthy selection to the 2019 All-Star Game? The Win Column Sports panel weighs in!

Spencer Love

He was a perennial All-Star throughout his playing career, so why shouldn’t he be as the Florida Panthers current senior advisor of hockey operations? It’s been over eight years since Chris Pronger graced the ice with his presence due to an unfortunate injury sustained while playing with the Philadelphia Flyers. However, in his time in the NHL, the 6’6 defender was routinely referred to as the best d-man in the league, and there’s no reason to think that the former Arizona Coyote couldn’t still play the game. Now that the league has shifted away from his heavy, truculent style I have no doubt that his already-average footspeed wouldn’t be exposed and he would easily adapt to the league’s new focus on speed and skill. Even if he couldn’t, you don’t become known as one of the dirtiest players in the NHL for no reason, and Pronger was all that and more, racking up more suspensions throughout his career than All-Star appearances. After an illustrious career, it’s time to make that change. Vote Pronger in 2019.

Arik Krause

I stand by the fact that Milan Lucic doesn’t have what it takes to be an NHL player anymore. He’s too slow, and he’s way behind the play all the time. I think it’d be hilarious to see him play in a 3-on-3 format for 10+ minutes. He’d be so gassed and so far behind it’d be great. I’m completely against fan involvement in All-Star voting, especially when it comes to players money being determined on whether or not they attend the weekend (Some players have All-Star bonuses). Those shouldn’t be determined on whether or not a fanbase thinks you deserve to go.

The MLB has the best All-Star format and while they do have voted in positions, I like how the game means something. I like how the winner gets home-field advantage in the World Series. I might be in the minority here but I’d like to see that brought to the NHL and switch back to a West vs. East format. If you’re just going to make the weekend a sideshow, take it out of the schedule and let’s finish the season a week earlier.

Ben Ferguson

Another year, another meaningless All-Star game. Well, not necessarily meaningless for us Oiler fans as lottery draft picks, individual awards, and All-Star game representatives is basically all we have to cheer for these days. My completely-unworthy-but-totally-worthy selection to the 2019 All-Star Game is Paul Bissonnette.

Its almost guaranteed that BizNasty will be attending in some sort of capacity with his involvement with the media, but surely, that isn’t enough exposure for the legend. The All-Star game is strictly for pointless entertainment, and that’s exactly what BizNasty provides is entertainment. The well known social media persona will bring an appeal to a very lacklustre event, I can guarantee that BizNasty alone could get people to tune in if he were to be selected. It produces a win-win situation for the NHL and the fans.

Carl Landra, 4th Line Podcast

The John Scott Era proved that literally, anyone can play in the NHL All-Star Game. You don’t even need to play in the NHL, which is why I’m starting the campaign to make history happen. In 1989, Bo Jackson was named to the MLB All-Star game. In 1990, Bo Jackson was named to the NFL Pro Bowl. In 2019, Bo Jackson will be named to the NHL All-Star Game. Bo Jackson was the first player to ever be named to the All-Star game in multiple leagues. Let’s make it three.

John Scott HAD played in the NHL previously, so this will require the Coyotes to sign Bo Jackson very soon. I have seen no evidence that he can skate, but it’s Bo Freaking Jackson. He most certainly will be able to sort out any skating issues. He also spent time with Wayne Gretzky during their time on Pro Stars, so he must have learned a thing or two.

Let’s make Bo Jackson the first to make the all-star game in three different sports.

Len Nunes

The recently retired Sedin Twins are talked about by every broadcaster of every team that covers the Vancouver Canucks. Understandably the league does not allow retired players to be voted for but it really does not feel like they have left.

The active player I suggest you write in is Travis Hamonic. Okay, he does not have the sex appeal of the barely an NHL’er that Scott did but Hamonic is in his 9th year in the league and has never been to an All-Star game. It was only a couple years ago when news broke that he wanted out of New York to be closer to family that every Canadian market lined up at his agent’s door trying to woo him. He has not scored a powerplay goal since 2014-15 but he only has 26 career goals. Hamonic missed time earlier this season after stepping up for his rookie teammate getting rocked and ended up with facial fractures for his trouble.

Actually, maybe we vote in the guy who broke his face in Erik Gudranson. 8th year in the NHL only one with plus/minus better than -4. If he publicly declares that he would fight Brad Marchand in the game, I’d sign up with every e-mail server on the internet under multiple aliases to make sure he made it in. Oh wait, the NHL does not like fighting even though it is the only other time than goals that the fans stand and cheer.

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Records Thus Far:
  1. Ben: (65-51), Last Week: (7-3), Winning Percentage: (56%)
  2. Carl: (42-35), Last Week: (8-2), Winning Percentage (55%)
  3. Arik: (57-59), Last Week: (8-2), Winning Percentage: (49%)
  4. Spencer: (55-61), Last Week: (6-4), Winning Percentage: (47%)
Latest NHL Content:
The NHL Saturday Slate: News and Predictions for the December 22nd NHL Action
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