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Blog Entry

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:43 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 4:24 pm
 

By Brian Stubits

The NHL announce its full list of All-Stars on Thursday in about as poor a way as it could have. Remember when Mario Lemieux called the NHL a garage league? Maybe he was thinking of days like this.

The NHL had ample opportunities to put this front and center. They could have announced the selections on Wednesday night using NBC Sports Network and TSN. Heck, they could have made the announcement using the NHL Network instead of running a replay of a game from last night.

All of that would have been better. Instead, the All-Star selections started leaking one at a time. The first was the Florida Panthers announcing Brian Campbell would be representing them. Then the Blackhawks followed with the Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. The leaks continued until the NHL finally released the entire list of players about an hour later.

It's almost like it wasn't planned.

Anyway, on to the guys who were selected. These are the guys who will head to Ottawa for the All-Star Game and will be part of the second NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, much like the way you would pick teams for kickball at recess with two captains selecting players until they're gone.

As usual, there are a few head-scratchers in here.

Forwards

Jason Spezza (Senators), Milan Michalek (Senators), Daniel Alfredsson (Senators), Jamie Benn (Stars), Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings), Marian Gaborik (Rangers), Claude Giroux (Flyers), Marian Hossa (Blackhawks), Jarome Iginla (Flames), Patrick Kane (Blackhawks), Phil Kessel (Maple Leafs), Mikko Koivu (Wild), Joffrey Lupul (Maple Leafs), Evgeni Malkin (Penguins), Logan Couture (Sharks), Alex Ovechkin (Capitals), Jason Pominville (Sabres), Daniel Sedin (Canucks), Henrik Sedin (Canucks), Tyler Seguin (Bruins), Corey Perry (Ducks), Steven Stamkos (Lightning), John Tavares (Islanders), Jonathan Toews (Blackhawks).

Defensemen

Erik Karlsson (Senators), Dion Phaneuf (Maple Leafs), Dustin Byfuglien (Jets), Brian Campbell (Panthers), Zdeno Chara (Bruins), Alexander Edler (Canucks), Dan Girardi (Rangers), Shea Weber (Predators), Keith Yandle (Coyotes), Dennis Wideman (Capitals), Ryan Suter (Predators), Kimmo Timonen (Flyers).

Goaltenders

Tim Thomas (Bruins), Brian Elliott (Blues), Jimmy Howard (Red Wings), Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers), Carey Price (Canadiens), Jonathan Quick (Kings).

For those wondering on the breakdown, that's 24 players from the Eastern Conference, 18 from the Western. The six vote-ins all coming from the East helps with that bit of disparity, though.

Now, on to the superlatives ...

Biggest snub

You never know who actually said no to the invite. That's the caveat here. But if nothing else the players should get the honor and then decline to appear (I get the murkiness of it, but they deserve the honor).

With that said, wow, where do I begin? Teemu Selanne? Nicklas Lidstrom? Well they asked out, so no use getting bent out of shape there. So moving on ...

I understand that Nicklas Backstrom (the Capitals center, that is) is injured at the moment, but he's day to day and the game isn't for another few weeks. There is zero doubt that he has been the Capitals' best player this season, not Ovechkin, who made the roster ahead of a long list of players that probably deserved it more.

I scratch my head a little with the selection of Byfuglien on defense. Not that he is bad by any stretch, but I probably would take a few guys over him. From the Jets perspective, I would have liked to see Evander Kane more.

You could make a case -- probably not a great one, however -- for Florida's Jason Garrison, as well. He leads defensemen in goals with 11 and has a slap shot that might possibly stand a chance in the hardest shot competition against Chara and Byfuglien.

There are a few more in the forward role who seem to be more deserving. It's going to continue to come back to Ovechkin because he's the high-profile name with mediocre numbers. Thomas Vanek in Buffalo? Scott Hartnell in Philly? Kris Versteeg in Florida? Patrik Elias for the Devils? Patrice Bergeron in Boston? Patrick Sharp (who was reportedly not picked before injury concerns) Or even Radim Vrbata from the Coyotes? The lists goes on.

It goes to show how even when the fans aren't voting, star power is a big factor. It's always about a little more than just performance.

Least deserving

To make room for the snubs you obviously have to decide who shouldn't be on the list, otherwise they aren't a snub, right? Well that is pretty tough to do.

I do not think Ovechkin deserves his selection based on merit alone. But again, there's more to it than just the stats. Ovechkin gets in based on the star power and marketing more than anything else. I don't necessarily like that, but I can accept that. I think Kane falls into this category to an extent, too. All things being equal, a few of the snubs probably deserve the honor more than Kane this season, but he has a little star power that, say, Versteeg doesn't have.

I'm not terribly high on the other Caps pick of Wideman either. He's had a good season offensively, which is what this game values most, so in that regard it's OK. But even he admitted he was surprised when he was told, he thought he was getting traded.

After them (not counting the guys voted in) it gets pretty tough. Not any wholly undeserving guys (not even the above mentioned).

Keeping in mind that every team gets represented through the All-Star Game or the rookie selections, some guys are safe. That makes it tougher.

Who will be Mr. Irrelevant?

We know this much: It won't be Kessel again. Absolutely no way to predict this accurately, so my stab in the dark is going to say Couture. He's the only member from the Sharks, he is young and plays at the position with the most players, on the wing.

Who will be the captains?

The official announcement will come in a week, so for now we're left to speculate. Alfredsson is a given seeing how the game is in Ottawa. Take that one to the bank. The other was likely going to be Selanne, but now ... Iginla? Maybe you go with an old Senator in Chara? I'd take my chances it's Iginla.

Or maybe Kessel? That would be interesting.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Dec 7, 2008
Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:57 pm
 

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

Geez, James Neal even gets snubbed from this guy's snub list. 24 goals. 40 points.

Ovechkin being there is a terrible joke.




Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: January 14, 2012 12:04 pm
 

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

Not arguing with you, but I think sometimes it is over inflated.  Just from watching my home team play, Paul Martin on the Pens is a minus 8 but he is by far the most solid defenseman night in and night out that we have on our team.  But I agree, it is a lot more important than some people make it out to be.



Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: January 14, 2012 12:02 pm
 

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

James Neal.  Deserves it.  Ovechkin does not deserve it on merit alone.  What a stupid comment.  So Brodeur should be on the team based on merit alone last year when he played like crap?  Stupid.



Since: Jun 8, 2009
Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:25 am
 

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

Classic, Bob! Had nearly forgotten all about that - Canadian Bacon for those that want a timeless tongue-in-cheek rental tonight (or you can watch the Senators game...)

 



Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: January 14, 2012 9:16 am
 

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

have nothing at all to do but drink bad beer
Don't go there, here's proof:




Since: Jun 8, 2009
Posted on: January 14, 2012 8:29 am
 

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

have nothing at all to do but drink bad beer
Whoa there, "bad beer"? If you're talking about the run of the mill Labatts and Molsons products, ok, but there are MANY great beers produced at Ontario micro-brewries. Beau's Brewery in Vankleek Hill (maybe 30min south of Ottawa) makes a beer called Lug Tread (it's a lagered ale) that is great (available at the LCBO)! Grand River Brewing in Cambridge makes a beer called Galt Knife Old Style Lager - it's brewed in a "style reminiscent of pre-prohibition beers that were brewed with full bodied malts yet retained a strong hop character in the finish". Both are very good and worth a look the next time you're in Ontario.
 



Since: Feb 5, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 7:58 am
 

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

I've never watched an all-star game, and never will. But the skills competition is different. I could watch that all day! NHL should get creative and make it an east/west skills challenge extravaganza! They could even do odd-man mini match competitions. The "game" thing is a joke. They gotta give us fans a reason to watch.




Since: Jan 25, 2010
Posted on: January 13, 2012 11:11 pm
 

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

Agree totally with you Mar.  Interesting to those who say Wideman should be in.  How often was Scot Stevens in, or ROd Langway.  How often was GOnchar in, not too often.  Green was in healthy because he has also become two way player.  Give D Defensemen honor.  It isnt game it is selection which counts.  Game is BS.  THis is why I think Ovie does not belong this year and Backstrom does.  I am sure same on many teams.  Carlson is so much a better D then Wideman.  Oh well it is a game.




Since: Mar 19, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:12 pm
 

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

What a bunch of whiners.  It's an All-Star game, nothing more.  Enjoy it for what it is and don't get bent out of shape over the selections.  You can't please everyone all the time.



Since: May 15, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2012 6:12 pm
 

All-Star Game: Dissecting the picks; predictions

And THIS is why it needs to be taken out of the hands of the fans.  It has become a popularity contest, not an All-Star game.  4 out of 5 Senators are starting the game???  Are we trippin' here?  All because there are a bunch of cold-as-sh*t, bored as F, have nothing at all to do but drink bad beer, tip cows, and and vote online for there favorite crushes???  Pathetic way of filling out an AllStar line-up. 


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