LCS Hockey: Born Again
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June 19, 2019
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All-Star Snubs

The NHL All-Star Game is really a whole bunch of nothing, so there's little point in getting all bent out of shape about it, but it continues to be an annual showcase for the league's incompetence.

For some reason, Gary Bettman and his merry buffoons insist on making it mandatory that each team has a representative in the game. The ridiculous rule pretty much guarantees we'll never see the best 42 players in hockey. But who cares about rewarding excellence and highlighting the game's best talent? It's more important to make certain no one's feelings get hurt. Because I'm sure if there isn't a Predator in the All-Star Game, both hockey fans in Nashville will refuse to watch the broadcast. Yeah, like anyone will be able to find it on Versus anyway.

The Eastern Conference roster is stacked. It's tough to argue with any of the forward selections, with the obvious exception of one Mr. Scott Gomez. Currently 37th in league scoring with 10 goals and 40 points in 44 games, Gomez gets invited over the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Mats Sundin, Olli Jokinen, and Marc Savard.

Gomez, of course, is the Rangers' only representative, so he has to be there, because it simply wouldn't be an All-Star Game without Scott Gomez. Yes, sir, all those New York hockey fans will be wearing their Gomez jerseys and tuning in specifically to see their hero. I mean, if it's one thing New York fans appreciate, it's one-dimensional players who sign as free agents for ungodly sums of money and then help lead the Blueshirts to last place in the division.

Malkin should be there. He's been great this year for Pittsburgh, posting 20 goals and 48 points in 43 games. He also just happens to be one of the most exciting players in the league. I can guarantee there are more hockey fans in New York who want to watch Malkin than Gomez, and they probably wish they could do it on a nightly basis.

On defense, Kimmo Timonen seems an odd choice. He has five goals and 20 points, but he's a minus-2, and the Flyers already have Mike Richards on the team, so that's more than enough. If you invite too many Flyers, someone's bound to get suspended. But if you leave Timonon in Philly, Michal Rozsival could go in his place, thus meeting the Ranger requirement. And Rozsival is having a swell first half, with 11 goals and 30 points. But if Rozsival is there, that means Gomez can get the boot, opening the door for Malkin. So really, it's all Timonen's fault. (Sunshine) you, Timonen!

Rick DiPietro and Tomas Vokoun will be backing up Martin Brodeur in net. Both deserve recognition, but what does Timmy Thomas have to do to make the team? I reckon the injuries hurt his cause. No one is going to argue he's a better goaltender than DiPietro, but he is leading the conference with a .930 save percentage and is second to Brodeur with a 2.33 goals-against average.

Out West, Roberto Luongo was voted into the starting lineup, but he'll skip the game to spend time with his pregnant wife. That's nice of him. When I get a girl pregnant, I usually just give her a fake phone number.

Since Luongo won't be there, Manny Legace, Chris Osgood, and Evgeni Nabokov will be manning the pipes. It's tough to argue with any of those picks, although Pascal Leclaire could easily replace Legace. Wait, he can't. The Blues don't have any other reps. Isn't sharing wonderful? A starter hasn't been named yet, but expect Osgood to get the nod since it will only further aggravate me.

The Western blue line is loaded with the usual names: Lidstrom, Phaneuf, Pronger, Zubov, Jovanovski, Keith? huh? Duncan Keith? Who cancelled? Listen, Keith is a nice guy and all, and he's a good young defenseman, but he's got five goals and 17 points in 44 games. That's fine, but there are a least a dozen more deserving defenders, including Brian Rafalski, who's second in the conference with seven goals and 37 points.

But again, Keith has to be there because Chicago doesn't have anyone else. Yeah, that's right, rookie phenom Patrick Kane didn't make the team. Unless voted into the starting lineup, it's impossible for rookies to make the All-Star squad. Instead, they get forced into the Young Stars Game. Kane is an All-Star. He earned the right to play with the big boys, leading the Hawks with nine goals and 39 points. And he's exactly the kind of player the league should be highlighting during the All-Star Game. But why would the NHL want to do something that makes sense? There's comfort in stupidity.

The only glaring mistake among the Western forward ranks is Jason Arnott. Again, Nashville has to have a representative, so Arnott gets the ticket, even though guys like Mike Ribeiro, Kristian Huselius, Daniel Sedin, Brenden Morrow, Daymond Langkow, Corey Perry, Dustin Brown, and Brad Boyes are all more deserving. Of the group, Daniel Sedin would provide the best story, because it's always nice having Swedish twins.



                             2007-08 Statistics 
GOALTENDERS                  GP    W    L OT   GAA   All-Star
* Martin Brodeur, New Jersey 38   23   13  2   2.11  10th
Rick DiPietro, NY Islanders  37   16   14  5   2.52  1st
Tomas Vokoun, Florida        39   19   17  2   2.65  2nd

DEFENSEMEN                   GP    G    A  Pts  All-Star
* Andrei Markov, Montreal    43   11   19   30  1st
* Zdeno Chara, Boston        43    6   20   26  3rd
Brian Campbell, Buffalo      42    4   24   28  2nd
Sergei Gonchar, Pittsburgh   39    7   27   34  4th
Tomas Kaberle, Toronto       44    6   21   27  3rd
Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia  39    5   15   20  3rd

FORWARDS                         GP   G   A Pts  All-Star
* Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh      43  18  41  59  2nd
* Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay  44  28  35  63  3rd
* Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa      41  26  30  56  5th
Scott Gomez, NY Rangers          44  10  30  40  2nd
Dany Heatley, Ottawa             42  25  30  55  3rd
Marian Hossa, Atlanta            42  16  22  38  4th
Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta          45  36  25  61  2nd
Alex Ovechkin, Washington        43  32  20  52  2nd
Mike Richards, Philadelphia      41  19  28  47  1st
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay      44  17  34  51  4th
Jason Spezza, Ottawa             36  15  37  52  1st
Eric Staal, Carolina             46  23  18  41  2nd

                             2007-08 Statistics            
GOALTENDERS                  GP   W   L OT   GAA  All-Star
Manny Legace, St. Louis      30  16  10  2  2.06  1st
Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose     41  23  12  6  2.01  2nd
Chris Osgood, Detroit        23  19   2  1  1.68  2nd

DEFENSEMEN                   GP  G   A  Pts  All-Star
* Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit  44  4  36   40  10th
* Dion Phaneuf, Calgary      44  6  23   29  2nd
Ed Jovanovski, Phoenix       40  3  22   25  5th
Duncan Keith, Chicago        43  5  12   17  1st
Chris Pronger, Anaheim       46  9  23   32  5th
Sergei Zubov, Dallas         43  4  31   35  4th

    FORWARDS                 GP   G   A  Pts  All-Star
* Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit 39  26  28   54  2nd
* Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit     44  17  36   53  2nd
* Jarome Iginla, Calgary     44  32  28   60  4th
Jason Arnott, Nashville      41  15  21   36  2nd
Marian Gaborik, Minnesota    37  21  19   40  2nd
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim        44  17  31   48  1st
Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton      44  18  21   39  1st
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles    44  17  23   40  1st
Rick Nash, Columbus Blue     41  22  15   37  3rd
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver      42   7  35   42  1st
Paul Stastny, Colorado       43  15  29   44  1st
Joe Thornton, San Jose       41  13  33   46  5th   

* denotes starter
LCS Hockey: Born Again
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