The NHL is hoping to go ahead with its All-Star Game in Las Vegas on February 5, after cancelling last season’s All-Star events a year ago, postponing all of its regular season games this Christmas, and recently deciding that its players will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing.
In recent years the NHL started playing its All-Star Games 3-on-3, in part to give more prominence to its superstar players like McDavid, Crosby, and Ovechkin. But because of Covid, even if the All-Star Game doesn’t end up being cancelled, it cannot be guaranteed that those superstars will be able to go to Vegas this year. Players on Canadian teams, including McDavid, could perhaps be even less likely to make it to the All-Star Game, if cross-border travel is not allowed a month from now. It could even end up being the case that a majority of All-Star players will not be able to attend the game, or choose not to attend.
If the top stars cannot be guaranteed, the best way to make the All-Star Game exciting may be to make the game a contest between hockey’s big positional divide: Forwards versus Defensemen. Make one team out of the best forwards who can make it to Vegas, another team out of the best defensemen who can make it to Vegas, and have them compete against one another in a game of 4 on 4 hockey.
Many hockey fans would probably tune in to see a Forwards vs Defensemen game, even fans who ordinarily never watch the All-Star Game. And the players too might try harder than they usually do in All-Star Games, out of positional pride.
Many fans would also want to bet on a Forwards vs Defensemen All-Star Game, which would be fitting for an event held in Las Vegas. Who do you think would win?