Hockey

Hotstove: Debating the new all-star format

The changes to the NHL's all-star game were up for debate on this week's Hotstove segment of Hockey Night in Canada, with the changes instituted by Brendan Shanahan and Rob Blake drawing both kudos and some indifference.

The changes to the NHL's all-star game were up for debate on this week's Hotstove segment of Hockey Night in Canada, with the changes instituted by Brendan Shanahan and Rob Blake drawing both kudos and some indifference.

"About six months ago, the league said to Brendan Shanahan, here you go rookie, fix this,'" Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com said. "Not a lot of people wanted to fix this thing."

This year, a player draft conducted by the all-star players will replace the conference versus conference approach that has existed since 2003 and kick off all-star weekend on Jan. 28. Fans will continue voting for the six starters — regardless of conference — in balloting that runs Nov. 15 through Jan. 3, with NHL hockey operations selecting the remaining 36 all-stars.

The players from the group of 42 will vote for team captains and two alternates per squad, who will then draft their team from the full pool of players. A roster of 21 players — 12 forwards, six defence, three goalies — will be drafted with no guidelines on choosing by position, but at least one player will be selected from each of the NHL's 30 teams.

"Give [Shanahan and Blake] credit, they did as much in terms of coming up with a fresh new idea [and] getting people tuned in. Give them credit, because it's nothing I would want to have," LeBrun said.

The changes weren't enough for panellist Mike Milbury, who believes the all-star game to be a failed concept.

"Are they going to try and resuscitate the all-star game? The thing has been dead as long as John A. Macdonald," Milbury said. "There is no way to revive this thing, it is a loser except when it comes to money … It's a disgraceful game and it's not interesting after they announce the lineups."

with files from CBCSports.ca