Dream a little dream with me Thrasherville.
Let’s say all of the wheeling, dealing and signings that Rick Dudley has done so far…and will do before October…nets the ultimate result that can be imaginable. He puts together a squad that makes all of our wildest dreams come true in the Thrashers community.
Imagine if you will, even if just for grins and giggles, Dudley and Co. put together a roster that works it’s way not only to just a playoff birth…not only to just a playoff win…not only to just one playoff series victory, but three playoff series triumphs… and they find themselves in the Stanley Cup Finals next spring.
Can you even get that kind of visual tuned into your noggins?
Uh-huh…Trixie will be handing out paper bags for those of you so overwhelmed with this thought that you’re now hyperventilating.
Now, just which team might the Thrashers be facing off against in this hypothetical scenario? Oh I don’t know…let’s just say for the sake of this fantasy that it’s the Nashville Predators… a team whose fans I like a lot. And besides, it’s only 3-1/2 up the road from the palatial Rawhide Estates in north Cobb County.
Or maybe it’s the Los Angeles Kings, complete with an Ilya Kovalchuk who would be finishing up his first season with that organization. Oh, and he’s playing with them only after settling for a couple million dollars less per season than the Thrashers tossed under his nose last winter. Just sayin’…
Either way, it doesn’t matter… because in our little far-fetched daydream, the Thrashers enter into the SCF with the better record. This would mean, of course, that Atlanta would host the all-important, do-or-die, there-is-no-tomorrow, it’s-now-or-never, deciding game-seven. And whether you’re a player, a coach or a fan…you want that seventh game of a series in your barn, don’t you?
However… like a cold bucket of water taken to the face, you realize that any game-seven won’t be in played in Philips arena. Instead, [insert name of hypothetical Western Conference Champions her] will get to host it.
Why? Well… because four months prior, the Western Conference team defeated the Eastern Conference in an All-Star Game that was played in Raleigh, North Carolina. Thus won home ice advantage for that conference’s eventual champion.
Even more irritating, the game was decided by one goal. That game-winner was scored by Edmonton’s Dustin Penner who slipped one past Toronto’s Jonas Gustavsson…two players and teams that didn’t even make the playoffs.
OK…naptime is over. It’s time to wake up and re-join the real world again.
Now, the reason I spun that little dream sequence for you was to illustrate just how baseball fans of American League teams must be feeling this morning…specifically fans in Texas, Chicago and New York whose teams are currently leading their respective divisions. This is because last night, the National League squad beat the American League 3-1 in Anaheim, CA, thanks to Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann’s bases-clearing double in the seventh inning. It was the NL’s first victory since 1996.
I doing so, they also secured home field advantage for the team that wins the National League pennant this fall. So it doesn’t matter if the Rangers, White Sox or Yankees…or any other AL team…finishes with the best record in all of baseball or not. They won’t get home field advantage should they reach the World Series.
Should the NHL All-Star Game decide who gets home ice advantage in the SCF?
Total Voters: 130
Nope…it’s already been decided because, as many of you already know, MLB determines who gets home field advantage in the World Series by whichever league wins that year’s All-Star game.
This has been the case since 2002 after that mid-summer classic ended in a 2-2 tie.
It ended a draw because both teams ran out of pitchers.
They ran out of pitchers because both managers managed the game to get all players into the game, not necessarily to win the game.
Both managers did so because…well…that is how the MLB All-Star game had been played for decades.
It created such an uproar that commissioner Bud Selig and MLB scrambled to find a way to ensure this embarrassment would not visit their sport again. Their conclusion… to make the All-Star Game actually “mean something” again by putting home filed advantage in the World Series on the line in future All-Star Games.
Overreaction? Eh…maybe just a smidgen.
Since that time, the debate has raged as to whether placing such importance on what ultimately is just an exhibition game is the right thing to do. Those in favor of it argue that it has been successful in placing a competitive edge back into it. Players and managers, they’ll tell you, once again show up with the intention of winning the game…not just to going through the motions for the show.
Opponents of this rule insist that it’s not a real game…it’s just an exhibition for goodness sakes! As such, it shouldn’t be given the same weight of a “real” game by dangling home field advantage out there as an incentive. Besides, that is something that should be earned and should simply go to the team with the better record.
With that said…and as we await further news of signings and/or trades by Dudley and Thrashers… I throw this question out to you to chew on and debate. Should the NHL adopt the same policy as MLB and have the All-Star Game winner determine which conference champion gets home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals?
How would I answer the question? Simple. I would say, “No…I wouldn’t dream of such a thing”.