January 15, 2007

Another All-Star Controversy!

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

Is there any way that the sporting world can do away with the ridiculous every-team-must-be-represented rule for all-star games? Some of the snubs from the game this year are completely egregious. The game, like I’ve said before is supposed to be a showcase for the fans; shouldn’t they be treated to watching the best players in the league rather then a slouch playing on St. Louis who has 33 points (Bill Guerin).

Marc Savard has 56 points and is by far the highest scorer on Boston, but with Zdeno Chara on the team and the Islanders needing to send someone, Jason Blake got the nod.

Yanic Perreault can now write NHL all-star on his resume, even though he’s fourth on his own team in scoring. Both of the Sedin twins still don’t have that title, but should this year.

Usually Detroit has a high scoring team, but this year they haven’t been lighting the lamp as often. Somehow, even after Nicklas Lidstrom was voted as a starter, Henrik Zetterberg was picked with a less than impressive stat-line.

Jarome Iginla was left off the squad but Brian Rolston wasn’t. Chris Pronger, who is second in the league in defensemen scoring, will be watching the game from home, but Philippe Boucher will be playing.

There are some horrible choices to represent the teams with the poorer records. From Carolina, both Eric Staal and Justin Williams were selected over both Ray Whitney and Rod Brind’Amour. Both Whitney and Brind’Amour, two cagey veterans, have more points then Williams and Staal.

Superstar Jaromir Jagr was held out of the game in favour of line-mate Brenden Shanahan. Jagr has been playing great and is in the top 10 scorers, Shanahan isn’t that bad, but Jagr’s snub is highly noticeable.

As for goaltenders, it turns out leading the league in goals against average (Hasek) or goaltending your team to the best record in the west (Giguere) won’t get you a ticket to Dallas. Cristobel Huet got the close call over Ray Emery who could’ve made it as well.

It’s understandable that the game means nothing (unlike baseball’s midsummer classic) and people get too worked up over snubs, but some thought should be put into it. The NHL is still trying to draw fans in the U.S. but having inferior players in the all-star game isn’t going to help.

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