by PuckStopsHere on 01/30/11 at 09:18 PM ET
If the All Star Game must be played each year, I like the idea that each team is represented. The game is supposed to be a showcase and if a given team does not have any representatives, it dampens enthusiasm in that market. As a result, I am not too fond of the idea that some teams are represented only by rookies during the skills competition and by nobody in the All Star Game. It does open up a few more roster spots for deserving All Stars on teams that already have one representative, but at the expense of shutting out an entire market.
I accept that some markets might be shut out of representation if their chosen representative is unwilling or unable to attend. This happened to the Calgary Flames, when Jarome Iginla withdrew. However, the team that should be least happy with their representation is the Florida Panthers.
No Panther will appear in the All Star Game. Their only representative this weekend has been rookie Evgeny Dadonov. Dadonov is the lowest scoring rookie forward selected with 11 points (defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has one fewer point). He has the fewest games played of anyone selected to the All Star Weekend, with only 23 games so far this season. He has missed more than half of the season so far, largely because he spent considerable time playing in the AHL. He actually has one more AHL game (24) than NHL game (23) so far this season. Dadonov may have some potential, but he is not as good as several omitted rookies. This is Florida’s All Star representative? Nobody who played more than half of their games this season is worthy?
I would have picked Tomas Vokoun as the Florida representative.
The Florida Panthers have no real All Star representation. If we accept that the All Star Game is a promotional showcase of the NHL and not a serious game, it pays to have real representation in each market. Even if we accept that teams can be represented only by rookies who are not in the main game, those rookies must be significant rookies. A rookie forward who is the 25th highest scoring rookie this season who has played more AHL than NHL games so far this year is pretty crappy representation. This is an intentional situation which was not caused by a player pulling out of the game. Florida deserves better. Every market does.
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