When it was announced yesterday that the Ottawa Senators had formally written to the city’s corporate services and economic development committee to bring the annual showcase of the league’s top talent to Ottawa, I have to admit - my heart never really skipped a beat.
Part of the reason was that it wasn't really news and it was mere formality. Any buzz regarding this event was the Senators let the media know of the team's intentions in January of 2009 when then president, Roy Mlakar came out and said, "Eugene was promised an all-star game when he bought the team and there has just been a series of circumstances that have pre-empted us from getting the game." If that wasn't enough to drive the point home, Bruce Garrioch let fans know that an official application (to the NHL) would be made by the club later this year (2009) because no decision has been made.
It probably also has something to do with the fact that from an early age, my All-Star Game experience was tarnished. When I was young and in elementary school and it came time to select my first public speaking topic, I chose to talk about the 1992-93 Senators and wound up devoting a good portion of my speech explaining why Sylvain Turgeon would be a fantastic representative for the organization. In retrospect, this wasn't one of my finest moments of hockey analysis. Not only was it a poor topic for an audience that consisted of frontrunning Leafs fans, Turgeon's statistics weren't even that impressive. He finished the year with 25 goals (team high), 18 assists, 104 PIM, and a respectable minus 29. I guess I was just an easy mark for Sly's 180 degree patented shot in which he'd skate in the offensive zone with his back facing the opposition's net and pirouette while taking a slap shot. (Ed. note: If memory serves me correctly, I can recall two occasions in which this actually resulted in a goal or a shot on net.)
Even though Sly may not have been a deserving candidate, neither of the other Senators representatives were either. Instead of selecting a deserving candidate like Norm MacIver, the selection committee opted for Peter Sidorkiewicz and Brad Marsh to represent the Senators. I never really had a problem with Marsh's selection. It was his final season in the NHL and the League used the All-Star Game as an opportunity to pay homage and respect to veteran players. (Ed. note: I can't remember the NHL maintaining this policy since Dale Hunter was invited to participate. Surprise. Surprise.)
That being said, the inclusion of Peter Sidorkiewicz baffled me. I may have been young, but even I had to question whether or not the All-Star Game was supposed to mean something. Is there anything on Sidorkiewicz's stat line that warrants All-Star status -- 8 wins, 46 losses, 3 ties, a 4.46 GAA and a respectable .856 save percentage?
Absolutely not. However, his participation was not what ruined the experience for me. No. Any belief that the NHL All-Star Game actually meant something was lost the moment that Brad Marsh scored what turned out to be his only goal of the 1992-93 season. Brad Marsh did not score goals. He never scored goals. If the 2012 NHL All-Star Game is awarded to Ottawa, it should immediately be marketed as the Event Where Anything Can Happen. Even a Brad Marsh Goal.
Seriously though, like it mentioned in the Sun article, if the Senators get the All-Star Game, great. It'll be fantastic for the local economy and since Alfredsson is already on record saying that he will not participate in the 2014 Olympic Games, it could be the perfect platform for the city of Ottawa to show their appreciation for his legacy.