Stars falling out of sight

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

ST. PAUL -- It was a perfect example of taking a message to heart.

Before Daniel Briere claimed MVP honours on the ice at the NHL All-Star Game, the Buffalo Sabres centre sat in on an off-ice meeting in Dallas during which a different sort of strategy was discussed.

Marketing: A great topic for the mid-week event that some folks in Big D weren't even aware was taking place.

And judging from some negative early fan reaction over the yawn-worthy YoungStars game and disappointing skills competition, the players' marketing committee can't convince the league to implement new ideas quickly enough.

"I know the YoungStars was disappointing for a lot of people," said Calgary Flames d-man Andrew Ference, who along with St. Louis Blues forward Jamal Myers has attended every meeting since the group was formed post-lockout. "The effort was deemed unacceptable and could kill the project. There's other things that could fill that void."

One idea Ference offers is a prospects game featuring the guys fighting for NHL jobs with farm teams. He suggests it would be more competitive and give the kids a taste of the big stage.

"Fans can see guys that aren't concerned about getting hurt or going to the big party the night before. That can be fixed, I think."

As for the main event, Ference says there are plenty of positives but fans need to limit their expectations.

"People are going to be disappointed for eternity if they think it's going to be a hard-fought contest where guys are trying their hardest. It's just not going to happen with the potential for injuries. It's not feasible," said Ference.


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