Most of the time, Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne deserve the utmost respect.
They are two of the very best who ever played at their positions. They’ve done wonders in making the NHL a truly international league. If they ever retire, they’ll quickly find a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
All that aside, though, why has the NHL allowed them to become bigger than the game? Or, more precisely, bigger than the All-Star Game?
In case you somehow missed it — perhaps lost in the shocking success of the Ottawa Senators, the end of Tebow-mania, the Liberal convention in Ottawa or the ugly drawn out race to find a new Republican leader — Lidstrom and Selanne won’t be coming here for All-Star Game festivities in just more than a week.
It’s not because their numbers aren’t good enough. Lidstrom, even at age 41, remains one of the league’s Top 5 defencemen, a rock on the Detroit Red Wings’ defence. Selanne, also 41, is still filling the net, producing at a point-per-game pace, one of the few bright spots in a lost season for the Anaheim Ducks.
Rather, they’re not coming because they went to their respective management teams and asked NOT to be considered for what is supposed to be a showpiece game for the NHL.