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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

NHL All Star Game Now The NHL Some Star Game

Over the years the NHL All Star game has grown to become a weekend long event featuring alumni games, celebrity games, skills competitions and many other events. But despite the pomp, it's been gradually losing it's luster with many hockey fans and a lot of that has to do with that fact that there is not a lot of "real" hockey that takes place.

Today, the NHL announced the rosters after releasing the team captains over the weekend. I will just say much of a fan I am of some of these guys and as much as I enjoy watching them play, some players honestly have no business on this list.  NHL rules require all the teams be represented but that will inevitably remove some of the best players in the divisions.  You'll probably read similar opinions out there as well because, at least this year, there seems to be more omissions.

Here are the lists as they stand today...

Atlantic Division Team
Auston Matthews
Steven Stamkos TEAM CAPTAIN
Nikita Kucherov
Brad Marchand
Jack Eichel
Sasha Barkov
Mike Green (D)
Erik Karlsson (D)
Victor Hedman (D)
Andrei Vasilevskiy (G)
Carey Price (G)

Let's start with the Atlantic, or as I like to call them, Tampa Bay Lite.  In their defense, the game is being held in Tampa this year and traditionally the ballot gets stuffed with local "heros".  But come on.  There are other teams in the Atlantic other than Tampa (I know the standings don't make that clear though).  Barkov was chosen because you had to have a Panther but I would probably have picked Huberdeau instead.  And why not Morgan Reilly?  Carey Price is only there because who else do you pick from Montreal?  Last I checked, Kovalev retired.  At least Matthews and Eichel should give a little bit of non-electric offensive flavor to the team

Metro Division Team
Alex Ovechkin TEAM CAPTAIN
Taylor Hall
Josh Bailey
John Tavares
Sidney Crosby
Claude Giroux
Noah Hanifin (D)
Kris Letang (D)
Seth Jones (D)
Henrik Lundqvist (G)
Braden Holtby (G)

I don't even want to comment about the Metro team...but I will.  That lineup is so mistake ridden from a "best of the best" standpoint.  Where in the world is Carmen San D...Kessel?  Seriously, this guy gets no respect.  EVER!  Phil has 18 goals and 29 points in 44 games this season so far (that's 11th in the league by the way).  He is one of the only reasons, offensively, that the Pens haven't fallen off the grid completely.  Get Crosby out of there.  I get that he's the league poster-boy but his season has been less than AS worthy and he will be the first to tell you as much if you ask. Not only that, he hates the ASG.  Every time he gets picked, he bails for one reason or another. Chalk it up to another snub in a long line of snubs for Phil.

What in the world is Letang doing on that list?.  He should have been there some other years he was skipped over, but certainly not this year.  Why not Ghost?  Where is John Carlson?  I hate the Caps and even I know he is a better D-man this year.  I would have even went with Zach Werenski over Letang...or anyone else.  Hanafin?  No.  Also what about Bob? Bobrovsky and his Vezina should be here.  I could go on, but I won't because it's too bothersome.

Central Division Team
Patrick Kane
Blake Wheeler
Brayden Schenn
Eric Staal
Nathan MacKinnon
Tyler Seguin
John Klingberg (D)
Alex Pietrangelo (D)
Connor Hellebuyck (G)
Pekka Rinne (G)

The Central Division team is missing one player of note in my opinion.  St. Louis' forward rep is Brayden Schenn, who is having a great year, but my money would have definitely been on Vlad Tarasenko.  The guy is amazing to watch play the game.  Every time he touches the puck, something phenomenal is most likely about to happen.  Plus, he's much better suited for the skills competition.  

Pacific Division Team
James Neal
Rickard Rakell
Brock Boeser
Anze Kopitar
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (D)
Drew Doughty (D)
Brent Burns (D)
Marc-Andre Fleury (G)
Jonathan Quick (G)

Finally, the Pacific Division team is somewhat of a mystery to me.  As much of a Fleury fan I am and the fact that he is on the upstart Vegas Golden Knights that are barnstorming the league and not just with beginners luck, why is he on the list?  Because the league wanted him to be, that's why.  I'm fine with that but he has been injured the majority of the season and until recently, hasn't been in the lineup since the first week of the season.  12 games deserves an AS nod? All apologies to Flower but either Marty Jones in San Jose or Gibby in Anaheim would have been much better choices.  

The Pac has the only rookie, too.  Vancouver's Brock Boeser is definitely deserving of the nod too.  But really, this team is a bit of a dud overall if you ask me.  

The game will be held January 28th at Amalie Arena in Tampa and aired on NBC.  I'll be watching out of obligation as a hockey fan (and secretly hoping for some injury replacements) but I will most definitely be more interested in the skills competition the day before.  More on that later.

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