Unfortunately, there are times when the city in general, and the Blue Jackets in particular, are not held in any esteem.
The NHL All-Star Weekend provided a case in point. First, goaltender Pascal Leclaire was left off the Western Conference team. Then, Rick Nash was denied the MVP award. Conspiracy? I can't say there isn't.
Until the Blue Jackets become a consistent playoff team, they will remain second-class citizens at the league's gala events. They will remain expansionist trash, even Nash, who is one of the brightest stars in the game — as he proved to anyone who bothered to watch last night.
A few quick points here:
(1) I think you can easily make a legitimate case that Leclaire is not one of the top three netminders in the Western Conference this season (although his late hot play has seen him scoot up the rankings in that regard). He faces fewer quality shots than most other starters and sits tied for sixth in the conference in wins.
He's close, but certainly not a lock (and especially not when they're trying to fill out roster spots by having a player from every team).
(2) Arace himself seems to have a good handle on how the MVP was selected, and I can't see there being a "league" bias when members of the PHWA are doing the picking. Scott Burnside of ESPN was one of the voters and said the group picked Eric Staal after he made a great play on the winning goal. Nash's team lost.
(3) Staal and Alex Ovechkin, the two non-Nash candidates for the MVP award, don't exactly play for the league's flagship franchises.
(4) Given the volume of email I received on the selections earlier this month, Columbus just might be the only market this concerned about the all-star game.
(5) This game was played in this theoretical "expansionist trash" territory the league looks down on so much.
Nash is a great player and, yes, he probably should have been the MVP. But, honestly, a conspiracy?