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The Hockey News

I give up.

I understand why the NHL holds an All-Star Game and I completely understand why it is a no-hit affair. After all, you can’t ask players who skate up to 82 games a year to lay it all on the line in an otherwise meaningless exhibition tilt. It just won’t happen.

What I don’t understand, though, is why players don’t try to score goals in the game. It is almost like they are embarrassed to shoot the puck. Time after time they are in a position to shoot, but instead, pass the puck. Sunday’s game in Atlanta was a disgrace.

I had high hopes when Rick Nash scored 12 seconds in, but those hopes were dashed when one player after another skated at half speed, wasting golden opportunities to score by passing it off.

Listen, I’m not expecting Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final and I can live with the fact there is no checking, but is it too much to ask that players such as Corey Perry and Joe Thornton break a sweat by trying to score a few goals?

Give us a reason to watch the damn game.

The All-Star Game is a big corporate schmooze and that is fine with me. But the league has to come up with a way to make the players try a little harder.

For years I have suggested the NHL pit a team of 29-and-under skaters against 30-and-over. I’m not saying we’ll see an all-out battle for supremacy, but I think with a little pride on the line, we might see just a little more effort.

Perhaps the league could put a few hundred thousand dollars up for grabs for charity to prompt the athletes to give a little more effort.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t possibly watch another lame All-Star Game like this year’s snooze fest.

Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.

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