Thursday, January 12, 2012
All-Star additions pretty close to reality
By Pierre LeBrun
As always, the naming of All-Star reserves generates more buzz for the snubs than it does for the actual players who get invited.
That’s the business we’re in, right?
Let’s make one thing clear off the top, however. Teemu Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom were not "snubbed" by the NHL. The league wanted them there but both future Hall of Famers politely declined, wanting instead to rest their old bones that weekend.
Selanne was asked by the league and said it should name Corey Perry instead. Lidstrom was proactive, a source told ESPN.com Thursday, informing the league well in advance that he’d rather rest that weekend and spent time with his family.
Both are classy men who have played in plenty of All-Star Games and have given way more to the game than the other way around. They owe the NHL nothing and no one should begrudge them for skipping this year’s event.
Now let’s take a look at who was added Thursday to the All-Star Game, which is Jan. 29 in Ottawa:
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins
Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals.
My take: Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals, Kris Versteeg of the Panthers, Patrick Sharp of the Blackhawks and Scott Hartnell of the Flyers are the most notable snubs here. Backstrom has been Washington’s best player all season long. He deserves to be there more than any other Cap, including Ovechkin. Hartnell probably fell victim to the numbers game, with many of his teammates picked. The Flyers' All-Star contingent includes Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen, as well as Matt Read and Sean Couturier being named to the All-Star rookie group. You'd think the same could be said for the Blackhawks and Sharp, given that Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews all made it from the ‘Hawks. But a source confirmed to ESPN.com that his injury is the only reason Sharp wasn't added.
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers
Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Dan Girardi, New York Rangers
Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers
Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
Alex Edler, Vancouver Canucks
Dennis Wideman, Washington Capitals
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
My take: Glad to see Dan Girardi make it. He’s been outstanding for the Rangers this season, leading the NHL in ice time. In similar fashion, the league was clever to recognize Dennis Wideman’s season. Really, no real obvious snubs here on defense. I could have made the case for Kevin Shattenkirk of the Blues or Michael Del Zotto of the Rangers, but I think the league nailed it on defense.
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues
My take: Always tough to satisfy folks in goal. There’s about a dozen netminders who deserve to go every year and only six can make it. Among those who likely deserved a shot were Marc-Andre Fleury of the Penguins, Pekka Rinne of the Predators, Niklas Backstrom of the Wild, Roberto Luongo of the Canucks and Mike Smith of the Coyotes. But part of the league’s effort in selecting these All-Stars is to try to ensure most teams are represented. Carey Price was the obvious pick from the lowly Habs.
Luke Adam, Buffalo Sabres
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Craig Smith, Nashville Predators
Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils
Adam Larsson, New Jersey Devils
Colin Greening, Ottawa Senators
Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers
Matt Read, Philadelphia Flyers
Cody Hodgson, Vancouver Canucks
My take: No issue here. One of the handy things about having these rookies around is that should a player pull out of the All-Star Game at the last second and there isn't time for a replacement, the league can find a sub from this rookie list.