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The NHL All-Star Game Is Now A Pickup Game. Whose Feelings Will Get Hurt?

Remember when you were a kid and captains were choosing up sides to play baseball, basketball, soccer, whatever? And the last kid chosen was always made fun of, because he or she wasn't really very good at the sport, but you never knew that until you let captains choose teams? That's why often elementary school teachers and coaches will just line kids up at random and count off teams, so no one's feelings get hurt.

Today, the NHL announced that the All-Star Game is going to use the pickup format this year. After the jump, check out this convoluted procedure for choosing teams:

· Fans will continue to play the lead role in the selection of All-Stars when 2011 NHL All-Star Fan Balloting presented by XM launches on Monday, Nov. 15. The All-Star Balloting process, which is entirely digital for the fourth consecutive game, runs through Jan. 3.

· From a group of 100 players on the ballot, fans will vote for their top six All-Stars by position without regard to the Conference in which the player plays. Fans will also have the ability to write-in a player of their choice.

· The three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie receiving the most votes will be named the first NHL All-Stars.

· The remaining 36 All-Stars will be named by the NHL Hockey Operations Department for a total of 42 All-Star players (3 goalies, 6 defensemen and 12 forwards per team).

· Following the selection of the All-Stars, NHL Hockey Operations will designate 12 NHL rookies to participate in the Honda NHL SuperSkills on Saturday, January 29 for a total of 54 NHL players taking part in All-Star weekend.

· After the 42 NHL All-Stars have been selected, two captains will be chosen per team by the players.

· On Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, a draft event will be held in Raleigh with all 54 NHL players (42 All-Stars and 12 rookies) during which the captains will draft the remaining members of their respective teams.

· First selection in the draft will be determined by coin flip and selections will continue on an alternating basis.

· Each team will be required to select three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards in any order they choose.

· After the selection of the All-Star game rosters, the captains will select among the 12 rookies to fill out the rosters for the Honda NHL SuperSkills.

· Each team will feature six rookies participating in various skills competitions.

· Teams will participate in six different skills, including NHL Fastest Skater, NHL Breakaway Challenge, Accuracy Shooting, Skills Challenge Relay, NHL Hardest Shot and the NHL Elimination Shoot Out.

Apologies from the Deep Dish. It may take you until Sunday, Jan. 30 just to figure all of this out, let alone the players involved trying to make sense of it.. They might as well just ditch the game -- in which hitting is nonexistent and scoring usually very high, due to players not wanting to get hurt in a meaningless contest -- and just have the skills competition. Patrick Kane thinks it's going to be "cool":

"It's different," said Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, a former All-Star. "It could be pretty cool. Sometimes its good to have a little bit different style for that kind of game. It should change it up and maybe make it more exciting. If I would be fortunate enough to go and be part of it I wouldn't care where I got picked."

Oh, I bet you will, Patrick. Would you want to be the last player chosen? Those who were always that kid on the playground will identify with that person, at least.