There was a time no one liked to be sitting on the bench while another player gets some playing time. How times have changed. Getting benched is not what it use to be. No longer is it seen as a form of punishment, it is now viewed as a reward of some kind.
Many sports teams usually give their star players a night off in certain games. The idea here is by having your best players not face any game action, they will be at their best during the playoffs. I can understand that. Some teams rest their starters once they have clinched a playoff spot, or division title, or secured home court advantage in the post-season. But more recently, we are seeing teams sitting their whole starting line up for the entire game, even if a playoff spot is still in doubt. Is that good? I suppose many Knicks fans in New York would be pissed that they forked out $300 to see the World Champion Golden State Warriors only to find out the day before game that Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson would all be sitting out the game.
I also get that it’s the fans who end up paying their salaries, but I also want to ask which fans? I would like to think people in Pittsburgh are the ones paying Sidney Crosby’s salary. Therefore, my opinion on whether he should play or sit should not matter any more than a true Penguins fan living in Pittsburgh. If someone in a city outside Toronto bitched and whined about the Maple Leafs not dressing Auston Matthews to play in a game against their home team, I would have kindly told them to worry about their own team… then I would have flipped him/her the bird. But as I mentioned before, hockey players are a different breed than any other athlete. They don’t take nights off, or make political stands, and often plays hurt.
Giving players the odd night off is smart but I also think resting your entire starting line up is not the way to go. If mailing in a game is the secret to being a champion then I don’t want to be a part of it. I believe the team should compete in every game regardless of the circumstances. Health is important but I think when you start to worry about injuries, that is when it starts to affect your team.
In a previous post, I mentioned fatigue should be a factor when determining the winner of the game. I think the same applies to the determining the league champions. I think when teams take their position for granted, it will come back to bite them. Nobody won a title resting on their laurels. Champions ought to be measured by how much sweat they lose.