Darryl Sutter has an idea on how the NHL can bring some life to the All-Star Game. Instead of the league splitting up into two teams or instead of having two players draft a squad, Sutter would like to see the reigning Cup champion take on a team of the league’s best.
Here’s Sutter’s take, via LA Kings Insider:
On having advocated the Kings forming one of the All-Star teams:
It’s true, and I believe that firmly because once you’ve gone through it, especially when they haven’t had one since the last time we won it – meaning the first time we won it – then everybody that was part of those two [teams], if you were in such a hectic schedule, I believe they all should get that opportunity. And if you think about it, in the old days, being a hockey fan, the Stanley Cup team played an All-Star team. I remember that as a boy. I remember the Toronto Maple Leafs- [Reporter: They were the last ones to do it.]
The most recent All-Star Game with this format was when the Toronto Maple Leafs played an All-Star team back in 1968. The Maple Leafs won 4-3.
The idea – as interesting as it is – would never work in the modern NHL. Can you imagine the Kings rolling out their fourth line and laying some hits on the skilled players of the league? Or could you imagine the fourth line facing an offensive barrage from a line of Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin? Neither scenario would be pretty.
Sutter wants to honor the Cup champions a bit longer and return the NHL to an idea it used extensively been the late 1940s and mid-1960s. However, the format was scrapped and probably for good reason. Having one entire squad be composed of players from one team wouldn’t sit well with fans who nearly revolted when the league announced five Blackhawks would be participating in this year’s contest.