In the NBA, the skills competition features the players who are best at those skills instead of “insert player x who needs a skill”. The result is a skills competition that truly answers who is the best at those skills. It is time the NHL did the same.
Wouldn’t you love to see a hardest shot with all the top shooters in it even if they were not playing in the All Star Game? We will most likely never see Shea Weber vs Zdeno Chara again and yet if the NHL allowed players to come just for the skills competition, we could still have it every year. Ever wonder if Paul Byron or Brandon Tanev is faster than Connor McDavid? You could wonder no longer.
If the All Star Weekend is all about fun and entertainment, let it be that way. Hell, bring in some women’s hockey players to join in the fun as well. Marie-Philip Poulin and Hilary Knight against Patrik Laine and Alex Ovechkin in a shooting contest would be swell. It would add in more intrigue and fun even though the event is already fun.
The NHL could have some real fun with the skills competition if they open it up to players who specialize in a skill instead of limiting the pool to those who are already at the weekend.