There’s been a lot of debate about the NHL’s All-Star Game voting policies over the years. Like when people tried to vote for Rory Fitzpatrick and his votes mysteriously disappeared before he could get in. Or like when a bunch of 4chan members from /sp/ built a series of bots to vote in an all-Habs starting lineup to the game in Montreal, which gave us a Mike Komisarek overtime penalty. Or, most recently and famously, John Scott last year.
I think we can all agree that the All-Star Game doesn’t need another John Scott. But it might need Frank Corrado.
Here’s the thing about Scott, before you jump on me with “this is basically the same thing, no?”. The Vote for Scott campaign started as a form of mockery. The 6’7 enforcer was known for being, well, not very good at hockey from an NHL standpoint, producing poor metrics in about every sense of the game. He also had a history of illegal hits and a suspension record. Those were probably not helped by his large frame running into people, but he had a reputation as a villain. He was voted in as a form of mockery and revenge on him for being bad. It was an attempt to ruin the All-Star Game by voting in someone who some fans felt was ruining the Regular Season games.
Then the NHL unofficially stepped in and found a way to indirectly route him to the AHL, giving them a reason to ignore the votes. Then, Scott started talking about the situation, and hockey fans found out that he was a human being and a likeable one at that. At this point, the “maybe he deserves this vote” kicked in, and the people who disliked him agreed that they disliked the NHL even more, so they were going to put more pressure on out of spite. The result was a brilliantly fun weekend with John Scott becoming the MVP of the whole thing. It was great, but it was accidental greatness that was initiated to mock him. Thankfully, it worked out better than expected.
Back To Frankie
So with that in mind, I don’t want another situation where everybody votes for the bad hockey player to make fun of them, because the odds that it’ll end in another perfect storm like Scott’s are minuscule, and if to does, it’ll feel forced. But I don’t think that negates putting a non-star into the game, as long as the circumstances are much different. Which is why I think Corrado is the guy.
Frank Corrado is a legitimately good NHL player. He’s not going to deserve a Norris Trophy anytime soon (could win one, though), but he was an effective player for the Leafs last season and many believe that if he was playing regularly this year, he’d be much the same.
The Leafs’ coaching staff don’t agree. Toronto are 23 games into the season, and Corrado has played one game. This is reminiscent of last year, where he didn’t make his season debut until December 15th, but this time, he isn’t a recent waiver claim learning a system and recovering from under-treated injuries; he’s just simply valued less than polarizing depth defenceman Roman Polak and his regular partner Matt Hunwick. Some will tell you there’s a good reason for it. It’s been hard to quantify one, but it’s apparently there.
No matter how you feel about whether he should be playing or not, though, I think we can all universally agree that we feel bad for him. Most bubble players get sent down to the AHL to work on their game until they’re needed or get slotted in more than once every few dozen games. Due to the necessity for a waiver placement, though, the Leafs haven’t done that. They value the 23-year-old enough that they don’t want to lose him, but not enough that they’ll play him.
It’s a crappy fate for a player that even they seem to believe is good enough to play and make a positive impact on some NHL team. So while everybody else gets their time off, it would be nice to reward him with the opposite and get him into a game. Get him in front of a cheering crowd again, and even let him feel relaxed about it. If he can’t live his childhood dream of being a regular on the Toronto Maple Leafs until further notice, we may as well let him be an All Star for a weekend, no?
Besides, we can even still fit in the “us against the league” narrative with this one. After all, they gave the All-Star game to Los Angeles on Toronto’s centennial. Sure, it’s the Kings’ 50th, but Montreal got the Draft, the All-Star Game, eight billion throwback jerseys, and a bunch of other unnecessary extra festivities while the Leafs settled for the Winter Classic (but not actually). If this city can’t have the game, you may as well send someone who represents it in both team and birthplace.
How You Can Help
As of about an hour ago, the NHL All-Star Game voting page is up. You can submit a ballot ten times a day, and write in ballots are still a thing. Frank Corrado is on the list, eligible to be captain of the Atlantic Division.
So vote for him ten times a day. Then tell a friend, and get them to tell a friend. Send people to me if you think they need further convincing. Together, we can make a difference, and make this happen.