by PuckStopsHere on 07/03/13 at 10:35 PM ET
Most of the NHL awards were announced during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Outstanding was the First and Second All Star Teams. These were finally announced today. I can now definitively announce that if I had an award ballot, the nominees for all the awards I was interested in would not have changed.
The First All Star Team consists of Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, PK Subban, Ryan Suter and Sergei Bobrovsky and the Second All Star Team consists of Alexander Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews, Martin St Louis, Kris Letang, Francois Beauchemin and Henrik Lundqvist. Ovechkin is the first person ever to make two different All Star Teams in the same season. He made First Team All Star on right wing and Second Team All Star on left wing. Perhaps this is the reason the NHL attempted to bury the post-season All Star teams by announcing them the day before July 4th. It does seem a little silly but it was inevitable. Last year James Neal made First All Star Team at right wing and came within one vote of making Second Team All Star at right wing. The problem is that most wingers today spend time playing both wings and it is an antiquated idea to pick them as left wingers or right wingers.
The Professional Hockey Writer's Association who vote on the All Star Teams foresaw this problem and sent out a memo telling their members that Ovechkin played right wing this year and not left wing. That isn't exactly accurate. Ovechkin lined up at both wings this season. Typically he played right wing at even strength and left wing on the power play. That is a simplification, at times he didn't follow that pattern, but it was his standard practise. While Ovechkin played more time at even strength and hence at right wing, he scored about half his points in each situation. He scored 27 points on the power play and 29 at even strength. The exact breakdown of his point total by position is similar to that - although there were points he scored where his position was ambiguous at best and it cannot be clearly classified. I can see the logic in calling Ovechkin a right wing this year and also see the logic in calling him a left wing this year. He was both. The problem is the voting system requires him to be placed in one box when he actually belongs in both or neither depending upon how you look at things.
I think Ovechkin making two All Star teams in the same year is a bit silly. It is due to the fact that his position is ambiguous and he must be chosen as playing only one. That system is what is at fault. Likely this problem will continue into the future. Players will make two All Star Teams again and in other cases a player who clearly should have made an All Star Team will not because they split votes between multiple positions.
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