It's All-Star weekend for the NHL, which means it's a chance for the best and brightest stars of the hockey universe to converge on Ottawa and celebrate the unofficial half-way point of the regular season.
However, for every Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin who gets an invite to the game, there's a Patrice Bergeron, equally deserving, but uninvited for reasons unknown.
In addition, there are plenty of other players and hockey personnel who contribute to the game in more unorthodox ways that won't get the recognition they deserve because of the game's format. While the All-Star Skills Challenge is one neat way the sport shows off some of the more unique talents those around the league have, it stops short of spotlighting the abilites of someone like Shawn Thornton.
That could be remedied if the All-Star festivities included a heavyweight boxing tournament at center ice, giving the league's enforcers a chance to prove their mettle and settle old scores for the league to see. Or maybe the Canadian teams like Montreal and Vancouver would be able to finally take home some hardware if the NHL hosted a diving tournament as part of the Skills Competition.
Other officials on and off the ice also could use a little love. Referees are also an integral part of the game, but don't have an All-Star game of their own for the best at their craft. So, why not host an eye-chart-reading competition for the men in stripes? It would give them a chance to shine and, at the very least, would send them on their way to getting the vision help that some need. Or maybe every player could take a turn spinning Brendan Shanahan's Wheel of Justice, playing a game of chance to see whether or not they'll be suspended by the league's disciplinarian.