I guess I shouldn't be surprised the way Sportsnet is slagging TSNs All Star Fantasy draft, but it is Nick Kypreos after all, and you have to wonder if it's just sour grapes on his part because he has never been a part of any poolies fantasy draft, let a lone an all-star talent pool.
He is right about the players, they weren't the most entertaining guys ever, but hey, if the NHL was concerned about that, maybe more than one of four Captains and Co-Captains would have English as a first language. The crowd response was obviously positive. The Ottawa fans roared with every pick, most of which had some form of rivalry implications.
Team Alffy has all of the Swedes and all the Sens, and no other member of a Canadian NHL franchise, while The Habs, Bruins and Leafs representation are all on Chara's side. It was pretty obvious that each team leader knew there would be little competition over the obvious selections, and that was hugely favourable to Alffy, who virtually protected the top scoring defenseman in the league, one of the premiere goal scorers, the scoring champions for the past two seasons and last but certainly not least, Alex Edler, who is playing his way in to Norris contention. So who was on Alffie's restricted list? Tyler Seguin, Dion Phaneuf, Tim Thomas, Carey Price and Phil Kessel. The only non-Sen from the North Eastern Division on team Alffy was Jason Pomminville, a veteran of the long-running Sens/Sabres NE Division rivalry, who Alffy selected in the late rounds.
The protection of some positional players doesn't seem right. It would make more sense if no one was restricted, and, if one team say, stacked up on forwards early and then had to fill out their roster with the remaining d-men, that would allow the other to possibly have their pick of remaining talent. Whatever the case the draft is a winner, but it obviously needs a change of identity because it isn't a fantasy draft, it is real life. Drop the 'Fantasy' TSN, just make it the All Star Draft.
The NHL will need to change to keep the idea fresh, so, next year, why not put everyone in the pool, no pre-named Captains, and have celebrity or marquee coaches, say Cherry/Orr or Clarke/Lindros, maybe Gretzky/Messier, keep it anonymous and have them pick their teams. The suspense would unfold with each selection as people would try to figure out the method and the identity of the coaches.
One other idea, with a bent towards the random, that I feel would work very well, is another black-top team selection process: the Stick Pile. Why not have one player, the best showman, blindly throw sticks to each side, of course seperating the twigs by position so the teams are balanced, then reveal the team members one by one, and, maybe have some trades to announce the next day, that would prolong the buzz around the event.
With ideas like this I should start my own league.