With the galaxy of stars of the NHL turning into black holes on All Star Weekend, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman read the inter-stellar riot act on Friday, suspending players that won't be showing up in Montreal and cajoling others to do their NHL duty and make an appearance if only to shake hands, sign autographs and give sound bites.
The NHL all star game of late has become a bit of a farce, some of the bigger stars have begged off with injuries, or all star flu, so as to benefit with the five day break like the second and third line players who depart for the sunnier golf courses or beaches of the southern USA during the scheduled break.
With the Montreal game starting to shape up as the best of the B lines, Mr. Bettman decided that the time had come to make missing the contest expensive to those that decided to ignore the will of those that can click the fastest on the NHL voting sites.
The Commissioner advised that players who now skip out on the all star game will be suspended from play for the first regular league game following the all star weekend, this years kids heading to detention are Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk. who both decided to take a pass on the festivities in Montreal.
The new edict, which actually is just an enforcement of an existing league decision has been gaining mixed reactions from NHL players, such as the one from Sheldon Souray which suggested that there are more important things than sacrificing family time.
A response that might provide for another classroom session from the Commissioner if it becomes a common thread among the players, though he might have to get his message delivered to league management first.
Globe and Mail-- NHL suspends Lidstrom
Globe and Mail-- Crosby out of all-star game
National Post-- Wings GM blasts Bettman over all-star edict
National Post-- Are these the best players the NHL has to offer?
Detroit Free Press-- Datsyuk, Lidstrom penalized by NHL for skipping All-Star weekend
Detroit Free Press-- Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk to miss first game back from All-Star break
Detroit News-- Wings Lidstrom, Datsyuk face one-game benching
Toronto Star-- Two Red Wings punished for sitting out NHL all-star game
Montreal Gazette-- All-star no-shows told to show by NHL