Thursday, January 24, 2008

All Star Game Injury Replacements

The All Star Game rosters will be a bit different from those first announced a couple weeks ago. Several players announced will not be playing because of injury or other issues. Of the players voted in as starters, Roberto Luongo, Martin Brodeur, Sidney Crosby and Henrik Zetterberg will not be there. Of those announced on the rest of the roster, Paul Stastny, Sergei Zubov and Dany Heatley will not be there. Luongo's absence was known when the All Star Teams were first announced and another Vancouver player (Henrik Sedin) was added to the team and an extra goalie was selected. The other players who are missing the game have had replacements announced more recently. Added to the game will be Tim Thomas (who was a glaring omission since he leads the NHL in saves percentage), Evgeni Malkin, Corey Perry, Mike Ribiero, Scott Niedermayer and Marc Savard. It is no longer true that each team must have a representative. Both New Jersey and Colorado will not have anybody in the All Star Game.

As for the teams I picked there are eight players to replace. The seven replaced in the NHL and Mats Sundin who pre-declined an invitation. Since I do not have to add a player to make sure each team is represented, I can add the best available remaining player not on my team. Here are my additions:

Chris Osgood - The Detroit goalie leads the NHL in goals against average and will replace Luongo. Likely he made the NHL team to replace Luongo as well.

Ed Jovanovski - He is the highest scoring defenceman I did not add to my teams (in the NHL Brian Rafalski holds that position but I did not snub him). He joins Ilya Bryzgalov to give Phoenix two reps.

Mike Ribiero - I add him as an injury replacement, just like the NHL does. He keeps Dallas with a player since Zubov will miss the game.

Kristian Huselius - The Calgary forward takes my other empty slot. He joins Jarome Iginla, Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr to give the Flames four players on my teams. Only Iginla and Phaneuf will be in the NHL game.

Martin Biron - I select him as Brodeur's replacement. I think he is the best of the remaining goalies. He gives two Flyers on my teams joining Mike Richards. He is not in the NHL game, but Kimmo Timonen is there as a second Flyer.

Martin St Louis - He was selected on the NHL All Star roster and makes mine as a replacement. He joins Vincent LeCavalier as a second Lightning player.

Evgeni Malkin - Like the NHL, I add him as an injury replacement. He is the second Pittsburgh player who will be there, joining Sergei Gonchar and replaces teammate Sidney Crosby.

Marc Savard - Another player who was added as an injury replacement by the NHL who I am also adding. He joins Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas to put three Bruins in the game.

My game will not have any members of the New Jersey Devils, Colorado avalanche or Vancouver Canucks.

Had it been necessary to keep the tradition of one player per team active in the All Star Game, I had made other choices, which are a bit hamstrung a bit in order to keep that restriction.

In the West, I had four open positions. One goalie, one defenceman and two forwards and three of the players have prescribed teams - Colorado, Dallas and Vancouver. In this case, my selections were Marty Turco in goal (filling the Dallas requirement), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver requirement) and Milan Hejduk (Colorado requirement). The player who is free to be selected from any team would have been Ed Jovanovski from Phoenix.

In the East, I also had four open positions. One goalie and three forwards. The only team requirement is that one had to be a New Jersey Devil. In that case I would pick Zach Parise as my Devil and fill the remaining spots with Martin St Louis, Evgeni Malkin and Martin Biron.

Picking All Star Teams is fun. I wish the game was as much fun, unfortunately it often isn't. Expect players to have some fun, not sweat too hard, not check much and score a lot.

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