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 29th.

The Story:

On Wednesday, December 27th, the captains for next month’s NHL All-Star Game in San Jose were chosen. Each of those four captains will represent one of the NHL’s divisions, with Toronto’s Auston Matthews (Atlantic), Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan), Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (Central) and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (Pacific) elected through the 2019 NHL All-Star Fan Vote. The NHL All-Star game has seen many different format changes since it’s existence, and while most fall flat some of the said formats came off as quite interesting, to say the least. Overall, the All-Star games over the course of the past couple of seasons haven’t carried the same excitement that they did once before. With that being said, there could be a variety of ways to improve and spice up the NHL All-Star game, the panel expresses their opinion below.

Spencer Love

If there’s one area the NHL can use more fan involvement, it’s the All-Star game. Fans voting on the team’s respective captains is a nice start, but the entire weekend is a great opportunity for fans to get involved in an otherwise meaningless game. The John Scott saga may have been controversial, but the 2016 edition of the ASG was the most interested NHL fans have been in the game in years. Is John Scott a typical all-star? Absolutely not. However, like Rory Fitzpatrick before him, he inspired even casual hockey fans to pay attention to an absolutely pointless occasion. While the NHL Board of Directors may disagree, I think it’s time that we vote on ALL players in the game, not simply the captains. Could we see a few less-than-deserving players attend? Sure, but it’s not as though there aren’t controversial picks made as-is. Would I love to see the game have stakes, such as home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs for the winning team? Absolutely, but I can’t think it’s any more than a pipe dream. Fan investment is what will drive the All-Star game - it’s time to open the doors to voting for the entire roster.

Arik Krause

I’d like to see the NHL switch to a format like the MLB. Keep the Skills Competition on Saturday, I think that’s an amazing draw and I make sure to never miss it year to year. However, the MLB’s All-Star game has always meant something, the winning conference (league) gets home field advantage in the World Series. I’d love to see the NHL switch to a West vs East format voted by the GM’s/Coaches and play a game under a normal format with the winner getting home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Either make the weekend mean something or scrap it entirely.

Ben Ferguson

After John Scott got voted into the NHL All-Star game, I have seen it as if it’s a running joke, as do most I’d assume. The whole weekend is an atrocity, however, the skills competition salvages what can be seen as a pretty lack-lustre event in general. My opinion is pretty blunt and very well justified, I believe the All-Star game should just be replaced with an extended break for NHL teams. Sure, at the end of the day the NHL is entertainment, and some may enjoy the All-Star game but the appeal isn’t strong enough in my opinion.

If I had to suggest a format change to shake the whole thing up, it would be to revert to the format that was implemented when the All-Star game was founded. The defending Stanley Cup Champions would play a selected All-Star team in a single 60-minute game. In this case, it would be the Washington Capitals, I don’t mind the fan voting, but even then, I would rather GM’s and Owner’s cast the votes on All-Star representatives, as it eliminates any chances of having another “John Scott” debacle.

Len Nunes

Dump the stupid game! I can call the game stupid because it is not actually hockey that they play. I guarantee if the staff of Win Column Sports played a game of hockey it would have more intensity in it. It is understood that the All-Star game is meant more for exposure of its stars than the game itself but seriously, the Olympics would do a much better job of that (yes that’s a different article entirely but my point stands). Why do we need an All-Star game anyway? Why can’t the players just be given a weekend off? The only All-Star game that has any merit is baseball’s and that is because you have to throw the ball over the plate and you have to react to the ball when it is hit into play. In hockey you are not going into the boards as fast, you are not defending as hard, you are a shadow of yourself. #JustSayNoToAllStarGames

WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
GAMESSpencerBenArik4th LineLen
Hurricanes @ DevilsDevilsDevilsHurricanes
Sharks @ OilersOilersSharksSharks
Wild @ JetsJetsJetsJets
Golden Knights @ KingsKingsGolden KnightsGolden Knights
Capitals @ SenatorsSenatorsCapitalsCapitals
Canadiens @ LightningLightningLightningLightning
Flyers @ PanthersPanthersPanthersFlyers
Bruins @ SabresBruinsBruinsSabres
Islanders @ Maple LeafsIslandersMaple LeafsMaple Leafs
Rangers @ PredatorsPredatorsPredatorsPredators
Red Wings @ StarsStarsStarsStars
Penguins @ BluesBluesPenguinsPenguins
Blackhawks @ AvalancheAvalancheAvalancheAvalanche
Coyotes @ DucksCoyotesDucksCoyotes
Canucks @ FlamesCanucksFlamesFlames
Records Thus Far:
  1. Ben: (75-55), Last Week: (10-4), Winning Percentage: (58%)
  2. Carl: (50-41), Last Week: (8-6), Winning Percentage (55%)
  3. Arik: (66-64), Last Week: (9-5), Winning Percentage: (51%)
  4. Spencer: (61-69), Last Week: (6-8), Winning Percentage: (47%)
Latest NHL Content:
The NHL Saturday Slate: News and Predictions for the December 29th NHL Action

Spencer Love

Once stood in front of Cedric Alexander in line at a hotel. Slightly big deal.

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