by PuckStopsHere on 01/08/12 at 05:00 PM ET
The starters for the NHL All Star Game were announced this week. The All Star Game itself will be played in Ottawa on January 29th with the skills competition running the day before. I thought I would announce my picks for the players who should appear in the All Star Game. I have selected at least one player from each team. Last season the NHL did not follow this policy as it had several rookies selected who participated only in the skills competition and each team was represented by at least one all star or rookie. The worst case of this was the Florida Panthers who were represented by rookie Evgeny Dadonov who is currently in the minors and has never played a full NHL season.
There are 42 All Stars. I have 36 selections to make as the six starters were selected by the fans. These players come from three NHL teams (Ottawa, Toronto and Boston). This leaves 27 teams in need of representation. That leaves nine players available to be selected from any team. I have tried not to pick any players who look likely to be injured when the All Star Game occurs.
Here are my All Star Game selections with the starters noted:
Brian Elliott St Louis Blues
Jimmy Howard Detroit Red Wings
Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers
Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings
Mike Smith Phoenix Coyotes
Tim Thomas Boston Bruins (starter)
Dustin Byfuglien Winnipeg Jets
Brian Campbell Florida Panthers
Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins
Michael Del Zotto New York Rangers
Alexander Edler Vancouver Canucks
Erik Karlsson Ottawa Senators (starter)
Duncan Keith Chicago Blackhawks
Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
Dion Phaneuf Toronto Maple Leafs (starter)
Ryan Suter Nashville Predators
Fedor Tyutin Columbus Blue Jackets
Shea Weber Nashville Predators
Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators (starter)
Nicklas Backstrom Washington Capitals
Jamie Benn Dallas Stars
Erik Cole Montreal Canadiens
Patrik Elias New Jersey Devils
Claude Giroux Philadelphia Flyers
Jarome Iginla Calgary Flames
Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs
Mikko Koivu Minnesota Wild
Joffrey Lupul Toronto Maple Leafs
Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
Milan Michalek Ottawa Senators (starter)
Ryan O’Reilly Colorado Avalanche
Jason Pominville Buffalo Sabres
Daniel Sedin Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin Vancouver Canucks
Teemu Selanne Anaheim Ducks
Jeff Skinner Carolina Hurricanes
Ryan Smyth Edmonton Oilers
Jason Spezza Ottawa Senators (starter)
Steve Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning
John Tavares New York Islanders
Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks
Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
There are players who are omitted from this all star list who are far better than players who are selected as the only team representative on some of the weaker teams. That is the usual situation when All Star Teams are announced. Given the parameters I gave myself, I think this is the most deserving group of selections based on their play so far this season as of today. The Edmonton Oilers are a challenge because my first two choices in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are both recently injured and will likely still be out when the All Star Game occurs. Thus I took Ryan Smyth. I selected Jeff Skinner in Carolina despite the fact he is currently out with a concussion. He is practising with his team and will likely be back in the lineup soon.
NOTE: I failed to mention and nobody has brought up in the comments the fact that both Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin are missing from this list. This is surprising given their talent levels and the fact that both are at the ages where their primes should occur. Crosby has been limited to eight games due to concussions and won’t likely be healthy at game time. Ovechkin has been healthy but he has played poorly enough that he doesn’t deserve a spot in this game. He isn’t even one of the top omitted forwards.
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