ATLANTA -- After spending two hours running from coach to coach, player to player, I've got tons of stuff to churn out...
But since it seems to be the most pressing question among fans is whether a number of Stars missing from this year's contest will impact future ones, I'll tackle that first.
In short, this year's coaches do not feel the absence of some stars this season will lead to the annual contest suffering a similar fate to that of the NFL Pro Bowl.
During a coaches roundtable discussion, Thrashers GM/Coach Don Waddell said it was disappointing that Sidney Crosby wouldn't be able to attend, but noted "this weekend won't miss a beat. We'll put on a good show in Atlanta."
Senators coach John Paddock, who will serve as head coach for the Eastern Conference team, said that he views the absences the same way he sees players getting injured during the season. He noted that even Roberto Luongo, who declined to play this weekend because he wanted to be in South Florida with his wife, who is pregnant, had a perfectly valid reason for not being in Atlanta. "As I understand the situation, that's where he should be," Paddock said.
One thing that was touched upon during the roundtable was the issue of whether the season needs to be shortened (more on that later), and San Jose coach Ron Wilson tied that idea into the situation involving players needing some time to rest around the All-Star Break.
"I think we should block off a week, right off the bat, do your All-Star Game, get in here, do what you need to do and give everybody four days off, where the all-stars do get a break," Wilson said. "It is a lot to ask of these guys. I don't have a problem with that. "
But in comparing the NHL's situation to the NFL's, Wilson showed sympathy for the guys on the gridiron, too.
"I don't know how they go to a Pro Bowl. They get beat up for 20 weeks or so and then you've got to play another football game? I don't know how they do that."
I managed to catch the tail end of an interview with broadcaster Bill Clement, who said players not attending the All-Star Game shouldn't be a concern, mainly because there's so much talent to fill in.
That's just the position of some higher-ups. I'll attempt to see what some of the players think about the situation tomorrow.