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My NHL All Stars

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:

Goaltenders

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)

Defencemen

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

Forwards

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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Comments

Avatar

Sorry for changing the topic a bit, but I’m curious about your personal take on something.

PSH, in a “perfect” world, do you think the all-star game should be reserved for the most deserving players, regardless of team? Or do you think the parameters you’ve set for yourself here are more or less reasonable and worthwhile?

The reason I ask is that I used to be in the former camp, and now I’m pretty much in the latter one. Considering the all-star game is more of an event for sponsors/children/casual fans than long-term fans, and all of the “real” accolades are reserved for the end of the season (postseason all-star team, individual awards, etc.),  I’d just as soon see every team represented so every young fan can have “their” guy in the game. Plus, if you’re already going to cheapen the honor by allowing for fan voting, it’s hard to take the supposed “fairness” of the selection process very seriously.

Just wondering what your take is.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 01/08/12 at 04:39 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Given that the All Star Game is a spectacle which is often one of the worst games played in the season in terms of pure hockey, yet is a high profile event for the media, sponsors and the general public, it is best if each team has a representative.  It might be a good idea to follow the AHL’s lead and expand the rosters a bit for the game to give more roster spots for worthy players after each team is given their selection.  I grew up a Vancouver Canuck fan and in the 70s and 80s most seasons no Canuck deserved to be there. but it was nice to have one there anyway.

The other side of the coin is that the All Star Game is a record of the best players in the game and we should be able to use the number of All Star Game appearances a player has as part of our criteria for Hall of Fame induction (etc.).  That misses the point of the game.  That said, I often look for All Star Game calibre seasons from players (where they would have made the game if the best players were selected and no other politics existed) as a criteria to rate players on any all time list.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/08/12 at 05:27 PM ET

Avatar

Now that Taylor Hall is healthy, I’d use him over Smyth.

A little funny how a couple of months ago the MSM was lamenting Erik Cole’s poor fit in MTL.

Posted by Ralph on 01/08/12 at 05:31 PM ET

Avatar

Timonen? Hartnell?

Posted by Philip from Jersey on 01/08/12 at 05:37 PM ET

BrendonR's avatar

Not sure what you mean there but obviously the Flyers’ rep would be Giroux, and followed by Jagr.  I guess Hartnell might fit but for me All-Star is a combination of reputation+current star power.

Posted by BrendonR on 01/08/12 at 05:45 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are both recently injured and will likely still be out when the All Star Game occurs

Is that why there’s no James Neal?

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 01/08/12 at 07:38 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Neal is not the best of the missing forwards.  Marian Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk have much better cases and could not get roster spots.  A healthy James Neal would have been left out of this game.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/08/12 at 07:59 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Neal is not the best of the missing forwards.  Marian Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk have much better cases and could not get roster spots.  A healthy James Neal would have been left out of this game.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/08/12 at 05:59 PM ET

Why?  Neal has been top 5 in goals just about all season long and is only 6 points behind Hossa and Datsyuk.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 01/08/12 at 09:23 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Hossa and Datsyuk are more complete hockey players.  They have more points and offer more beyond points in their games.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/08/12 at 09:33 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Because all those players on your list “offer more beyond points in their game,” right?

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 01/08/12 at 09:41 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Nope.  Many are there because somebody needs to represent their respective team.  Very few roster spots are available to any player on any team.  For example, after each team is satisfied with one roster spot only four forward spots remain open.  Neal didn’t beat out Daniel Sedin, Jonathan Toews, Phil Kessel or Joffrey Lupul for them.  He also wouldn’t beat out Pavel Datsyuk or Marian Hossa who also lost out on a spot.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/08/12 at 09:50 PM ET

Avatar

Why?  Neal has been top 5 in goals just about all season long and is only 6 points behind Hossa and Datsyuk.

No, because he is 6 points behind both Hossa and Datsyuk.

Posted by Garth on 01/08/12 at 10:02 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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