Sunday, January 21, 2007

My All Star Game Injury Replacements

When I posted my picks for the NHL All Star Game, I picked players who were injured and would likely miss the actual game (unlike the actual NHL picks). I promised to replace the injured players at a later time closer to the actual game. Now is the time I will make my injury replacements (with a brief reason for the picks like I did for the discrepancies between my picks and those of the NHL).

East Conference

Martin Straka New York Bangers He will replace Jaromir Jagr who is missing the game to rehab his left shoulder (which he has surgery on this off season) and to rest his injured hip. He is the only Ranger on the roster and must be replaced by a Ranger. The NHL chose Brendan Shanahan, but Straka is playing better. He has more points and a better +/-. Shanahan is more famous and can serve as a captain in the All Star Game, but Straka is better. Captain of an all star team is not a particularly important role. It's not a game where the leadership of a player or players matter much. Perhaps the East Conference captain could be Zdeno Chara, since he is the Boston captain in the NHL.

Ray Whitney Carolina Hurricanes It hasn't been well reported in the media that Rod Brind'Amour is missing the game due to injury, but he was an obvious choice who got snubbed for Eric Staal and Justin Williams who are both clearly inferior picks. He hasn't played as well since returning from his "lower body" (likely groin) injury. I think it is clear Brind'Amour is passing up the All Star Game to rest himself. Since Brind'Amour is my only Carolina pick, I need to replace him with another Hurricane. Ray Whitney being the top scorer on the team is the most obvious choice.

West Conference

Patrick Marleau San Jose Sharks Jarome Iginla will be out with a knee injury. He is not the only Flame on the roster. I also picked Miikka Kiprusoff. Thus, I am free to pick a player from any west team. Marleau is currently the third highest scorer in the west and I snubbed him, so I will add him to the roster. He is already on the actual NHL roster.

Chris Mason Nashville Predators Jean-Sebastien Giguere is out with a groin injury. He is a member of the heavily injured Anaheim Ducks (I have to replace him, Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer), but there is still one Duck left on the roster in Teemu Selanne, so I can pick from any west team. Chris Mason has the best saves percentage in the NHL and has filled in admirably when Tomas Vokoun has been hurt in Nashville so I pick him. The NHL picked Marty Turco, largely because he is the hometown choice (the All Star Game is in Dallas this year).

Mathieu Schneider Detroit Red Wings He is replacing Chris Pronger who is out with a broken foot. Pronger is another injured Anaheim Duck, but since Selanne remains in the game, I can chose from any west team. My choice came down to Schneider and Dion Phaneuf. The NHL chose Phaneuf because he is the kind of young star they want to build the "new NHL" behind. Phaneuf is 21. Schneider is 37. They have similar stats, but Phaneuf is more protected in the minutes he plays. He is often kept from the best offensive players on the opposition as he is still learning some of his defensive game. Thus, I pick Schneider as he plays tougher minutes.

Kimmo Timonen Nashville Predators He is replacing Scott Niedermayer who has a stress fracture in his foot and will rest it. Niedermayer is yet another injured Duck, but since Selanne remains in the game, I can pick from any team in the west. He was selected to the game by the NHL and is the west leading Nashville Predators leader in ice time and also sports a solid 33 points from defence, so I pick him.

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