July 4, 2013

The NHL screws up yet again: Volume 597

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

Just because it’s the off-season, it doesn’t mean that the NHL has taken a break from being overall stupid. This time it was completely avoidable too; a simple matter of reading.

You see, as good as a season that Alex Ovechkin had, he wasn’t good enough to make the all-star team twice. At two different positions, no less.

Before this season, Ovechkin had played left wing for the Washington Capitals. But this season, the team moved him to the right side. The league’s MVP only played four games this season as a LW, but that didn’t stop him from being voted to the second all-star team, while making the first team on the right side.

Now, the NHL isn’t all to blame here. It’s the PHWA that votes on these things and apparently some 45 voters either didn’t get the memo or didn’t follow it. Yes, there was literally a memo about Ovechkin’s position switch. While it is pretty silly to vote for a guy that didn’t actually play the position you’re voting him in at, this whole thing was completely avoidable.

Was there no one – at the PHWA or the NHL – who could have looked at this list, seen Ovechkin on there twice and said, “Hey, wait a minute, should he be on here twice?”

It seems like the simplest of simple problems to solve. All that the league needed was a single copy editor to stop this embarrassing situation.

And really, that’s what this situation is for the league: Embarassing.

Even worse, there was another victim in this travesty: The guy that missed out on the all-star team. Who knows if he had a bonus built in for having an all-star season? Who knows if, in the future, his lack of an all-star merit may stop him from entering the hall of fame? Such an easily avoidable mistake may have more consequences than a thousand blog posts about how dumb the league is.

There is, of course, an easy way to fix this problem: Open ballots. I want to see who voted for whom. This should be a transparent process. While many writers do post their picks in either the columns or on Twitter, it has become fairly obvious that not enough do. I want to know who didn’t have time to read a memo and voted for Ovechkin at LW.

While we’re at it, I also want to know who voted Cody Franson to third-team defence and the two writers who thought James Reimer was the second-best goalie in the league.

So, either the NHL is illiterate, or just plain doesn’t care.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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