Monday, January 28, 2008

The Columbus snub

Unfortunately, there are times when the city in general, and the Blue Jackets in particular, are not held in any esteem.

The NHL All-Star Weekend provided a case in point. First, goaltender Pascal Leclaire was left off the Western Conference team. Then, Rick Nash was denied the MVP award. Conspiracy? I can't say there isn't.
Until the Blue Jackets become a consistent playoff team, they will remain second-class citizens at the league's gala events. They will remain expansionist trash, even Nash, who is one of the brightest stars in the game — as he proved to anyone who bothered to watch last night.

A few quick points here:

(1) I think you can easily make a legitimate case that Leclaire is not one of the top three netminders in the Western Conference this season (although his late hot play has seen him scoot up the rankings in that regard). He faces fewer quality shots than most other starters and sits tied for sixth in the conference in wins.

He's close, but certainly not a lock (and especially not when they're trying to fill out roster spots by having a player from every team).

(2) Arace himself seems to have a good handle on how the MVP was selected, and I can't see there being a "league" bias when members of the PHWA are doing the picking. Scott Burnside of ESPN was one of the voters and said the group picked Eric Staal after he made a great play on the winning goal. Nash's team lost.

(3) Staal and Alex Ovechkin, the two non-Nash candidates for the MVP award, don't exactly play for the league's flagship franchises.

(4) Given the volume of email I received on the selections earlier this month, Columbus just might be the only market this concerned about the all-star game.

(5) This game was played in this theoretical "expansionist trash" territory the league looks down on so much.

Nash is a great player and, yes, he probably should have been the MVP. But, honestly, a conspiracy?

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At 2:08 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

"Consipiracy" is definitely the wrong word, but I can't really fault Columbus for the feeling that they are a secondary focus of the league. I don't know if any of that was demonstrated last night, however.

The only conspiracy was waiting for the end of the game to select an MVP; Nash would have probably won had they tallied votes midway through the 3rd.

At 2:15 p.m., January 28, 2008, Anonymous Colonial said...

Dany Heatley won the mvp while playing for "second class citizen" Atlanta a few years back. Calling it a conspiracy is ridiculous. The real problem is the requirement to include a player from every team.

At 2:17 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger Richard Pollock said...

The real problem is that there is an All-Star Game in the first place.

At 2:36 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger Bethany said...

Conspiracy is the wrong word...we do tend to get snubbed more than any other team. Staal won the Stanley Cup and Ovechkin and Staal are both Golden Boys for the saying that they're not in the NHL Flagship Franchises as you put it...doesn't matter at all.

At 2:58 p.m., January 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's also not forget that Rick Nash made a strong case for MVP last year too. One snub is an error, two snubs back to back starts to look like a pattern.

Last year Nash was on the winning team and the winner was not.

Just saying...

At 3:01 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

But the league doesn't pick the MVP — a few writers on hand do. What's the conspiracy here? ESPN has a greater affinity for hockey in Carolina than in Columbus?

And Rick Nash is considered just as much a golden boy as Eric Staal — he won the Richard Trophy at 19.

At 3:07 p.m., January 28, 2008, Anonymous Matt said...

Talk about an inferiority complex. Columbus fans were up in arms last season after Briere's six point night took home the MVP.

There's only room for three goalies on the roster, and when you have Luongo, Nabakov, and Kipper, you're going to be hard pressed to make many all star games, 15 shot shutouts not withstanding.

At 3:18 p.m., January 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot about Bobby L. and Osgood getting the start.
That was Jr. B goaltending at its finest. Before people start crapping on Leclaire for facing few quality shots look at Osgood. His incredible deficiencies are well hidden by a superior team.
It was nice to see the crowd was really into the player intros last night.
I've heard more noise at a library.

At 3:20 p.m., January 28, 2008, Anonymous juengel said...

staal had two tying goals and set up the game winner

why is that not worth the mvp

At 3:22 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger The Puck Stops Here said...

If I picked the All Star Team, Pascal Leclaire would have made the team and Rick Nash would not have. Based on what has happened so far this season, I think it makes sense. Leclaire has been more valuable to his team than Nash.

But the biggest snub is probably Brian Rafalski. And there is no way to call that a consipiracy ahgainst small market expansion teams - unless somehow you figure Detroit is a small market expansion team.

At 3:22 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger Baroque said...

A conspiracy assumes that there is some level of caring attached. I doubt that the league as a whole cares enough about Columbus one way or another to conspire against them. There's no point.

Or else they were just checking to see if anyone in Columbus was watching.

At 3:31 p.m., January 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were goalies out there? All Star calibre?

Luongo, Kiprusoff, Lundqvist, Brodeur... there's stars for you.

Statfreaks are quick to point out Kipper's sv% or GAA not being as good as they should but he is right up there in wins.

At 3:32 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger Bethany said...

When was the last time Rick Nash was in a commercial for the league? When was the last time he was on a game cover? That's what I meant by golden boy. Guess I should have defined it.

At 3:35 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The snubs never end.

Of course playing on a better team would raise Nash's profile, but you can say that about any player in any market. The guys playing with the Kings aren't exactly being marketed all that much.

At 3:35 p.m., January 28, 2008, Anonymous juengel said...

and i agree about osgood.

the game last night made it obvious to me that the d in detroit is doing most of the goaltending, i may be wrong (i usually am) but he just didnt look that grea. tim thomas and dipietro, legace looked much better.


At 3:42 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

When was the last time Rick Nash was in a commercial for the league?

Uh, that's not an anti-Columbus bias; that's an anti-Western-Conference bias.

At 3:47 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger Nick said...

I don't understand why there's so much Osgood hatred. Why don't you guys try watching a real game instead of the friggin' all star game... That's a really great way to gauge a player's effectiveness - by watching them play in the joke that is an all star game.

Personally, I watched about 5 minutes, grew bored and turned it off.

Also, Rafalski was asked to fill in before niedermayer but turned down the offer... Like half the stars voted in before him.

At 3:53 p.m., January 28, 2008, Blogger Baroque said...

Uh, that's not an anti-Columbus bias; that's an anti-Western-Conference bias.


Rick Nash is a "good Canadian boy" - were he on an Eastern team they would be marketing the heck out of him - especially Toronto.

(I didn't even watch five minutes - what struck me was how slow everyone looked, even without any defense. Strange.)

At 12:38 a.m., January 29, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

Nash was selected to the 2006 Canadian Olympic team ahead of Staal, in a year where Nash had 54 points and Staal had 100.

I hate to break it to Columbus fans, but hockey fans across Canada know very well who Nash is. My son has a toy #61 sweater from a McDonald's promotion.

He's a very good player, but there really are other very good players in the NHL.

At 2:44 p.m., January 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Staal had an assist on the game winner? Great. Nash got the first (and only) goal of the first period for the West, and then used his other 2 goals to get his team back in the game. Without him, the West might as well have hung up the skates after the first period. And there have been plenty of times in recent All-Star game history when the losing team had the MVP, so that 'explanation' does not fly with me.

Not saying there is a conspiracy taking place. I hate conspiracy theories. I just think somebody dropped the ball on this one.

At 11:20 a.m., January 30, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just your typical Canadian media and hockey fans. If a guy doesn't play for a Canadien club or is a member of an original six team he must not be good enough to play for one of them. That is until they need that player for the World Championship and then he is a great player until he returns to his unimportant NHL team in the states.

At 5:32 p.m., January 30, 2008, Anonymous Drew said...

I'm an unapologetic Columbus fan. While I was disappointed for Rick that he wasn't selected as the MVP, it makes no difference for Columbus.

I just don't care that much about exhibition hockey to make a stink about it.

I watched the game, and I would've picked Nash for MVP, but I'm a homer.

As a Columbus fan/resident, I don't feel slighted. The guys need to do something (that matters) on the ice before I'm going to worry about respect.

And even then, I probably won't care. If we win, that's good enough for me.

Lighten up, Columbus.


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