by PuckStopsHere on 12/14/12 at 11:06 PM ET
The KHL All Star Game will be played on January 13th in Chelyabinsk. Today the league announced the winners of the fan balloting for the game starters. Locked out NHL players won a significant number of the roles.
Starters in the West Conference are goalie Semyon Varlamov of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, defencemen Zdeno Chara of Lev Praha (Prague) and the NHL's Boston Bruins and Alexander Ryazantsev of Cherepovets Severstal (who has never played an NHL game but holds the record for the fastest slapshot ever recorded) and forwards Pavel Datsyuk of CSKA Moscow and the NHL's Detroit Red Wings, Alexander Ovechkin of Dynamo Moscow and the NHL's Washington Capitals and Ilya Kovalchuk of SKA St Petersburg and the NHL's New Jersey Devils. Starters in the East Conference are goaltender Michael Garnett of hometown Traktor Chelyabinsk, a former Atlanta Thrasher who has been in Russia since 2008, defencemen Sergei Gonchar of Metallurg Magnitogorsk and the NHL's Ottawa Senators and Ilya Nikulin of Ak Bars Kazan and forwards Evgeni Malkin of Metallurg and the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, Sergei Kostitsyn of Avangard Omsk and the NHL's Nashville Predators and Evgeni Kuznetsov of Traktor who was the Washington Capitals first round pick in 2010.
This group of players is largely a group of transplanted NHL stars. KHL fans want to see these players in their All Star Game. If the NHL season begins before the All Star Game many of these players will need to be replaced. The KHL website has the disclaimer that In the event of any selected player being unable to participate in the All-Star Game, he will be replaced by one of the top-rated players who missed out on being selected for the teams. so they are prepared for this eventuality.
Interestingly, the top two scorers in the league right now Alexander Radulov of CSKA Moscow and Sergei Mozyakin of Metallurg have been omitted from the All Star starters because of the available high profile NHLers.
The KHL All Star Game could be the game with the largest group of high quality NHL players this season if there is no NHL season. It should be interesting to see how it plays out.
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