Say what you will about the yearly all-star game being merely a meaningless show/game (aren't all sports?), but it's a mildly amusing diversion that breaks up a long hockey season with some novelty: whether it's Ovechkin in a floppy hat and sunglasses in the breakaway contest, or Phil Kessel sitting alone after every other player is picked in the backyard style team selection (the implementation of which was an inspired decision by the NHL, really), there's something enjoyable about the ASG.
Just as important as the novelty is the voting process- an All Star Game tradition that belongs to just about every sport, I think. To be fair, nobody watches the Pro-Bowl, and I've long since stopped trying to understand anything that happens in regards to MLB voting for anything (Jeter winning a Golden Glove a year ago was the line for me). Regardless, the fan voting is important- it shows who the fans of various teams love- and in cases of blatant non-votes, don't.
The NHL posted the first set of results from week one of voting yesterday, and to find a Calgary Flame, you'd have to have access to the voting system itself, since no Flame made the top list in any category. That means no Flame is in the top twenty-eight in forwards, top twenty in defensemen, or top twelve in goaltenders. In a year where the Flames can beat Chicago one night and lose to Columbus in a horrifying fashion another, it's hardly a surprise.
The fact is, Calgary's players have been incredibly mediocre as a whole: David Moss has the best underlying stats of any forward right now and Chris Butler has the best of any defenseman. Not exactly an awe-inspiring couple of choices. Even the traditional reasons for picking players are less than inspiring. Alex Tanguay is leading the team in points: fourteen in nineteen games. How about goals? Glencross with seven in eighteen. Stop and think about that for a moment: Curtis Glencross and Alex Tanguay are the Calgary Flames' two best forward choices for All-Star Game representation. Even Jarome Iginla's play has been so atrocious that his name is no longer good enough to be an automatic vote.
The defense looks little better. As good as Bouwmeester and Butler have been (very very good despite the moronic complaints of "soft" and what have you), they lack either the name recognition or offensive point totals. Mark Giordano has been having what you could describe kindly as an "off year", and really that's about the only remotely qualified choices the Flames have.
And even farther back, while Miikka Kiprusoff has been having something of a career revitalization, he hasn't been good enough over the past few years for anyone to notice, and the one thing everyone notices is the one thing Kipper isn't getting: wins.
But realistically, while either Bouwmeester, Butler, or Kiprusoff could easily represent the Flames this year (things I never thought I would type), they won't. The team's play as a whole has left us Calgary fans entirely apathetic. There are no grass roots movements to vote for unheralded depth players like Stempniak or Moss; there's no "Vote for Iggy!" shouts on Twitter, even from the Official Calgary Flames feed because his play has been even more apathetic than the fans have been; there's no overwhelming desire from Calgary fans to see players from our favorite team because let's face it, we see them play with an abundance of mediocrity and apathy enough, why would we want to see it in comparison to the best players in the league and some Ottawa Senators*?
In other words, here's to Jarome Iginla being selected as the pity attendant by the NHL for Calgary. When's the draft again?
*Who can resist digs at the Ottawa Senators and their fans? Boy, I sure can't.