Friday, January 11, 2008

NHL All Star Rosters

The rosters for the NHL All Star Game have been announced. Here are the players that I had selected for the teams. I will list the NHL's selections and explain why I selected the players that I selected who did not make the NHL squad.

West Conference


Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks
Manny Legace St Louis Blues
Evgeni Nabokov San Jose Sharks
Chris Osgood Detroit Red Wings


Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
Dion Phaneuf Calgary Flames
Ed Jovanovski Phoenix Coyotes
Duncan Keith Chicago Blackhawks
Chris Pronger Anaheim Ducks
Sergei Zubov Dallas Stars


Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings
Jarome Iginla Calgary Flames
Henrik Zetterberg Detroit Red Wings
Jason Arnott Nashville Predators
Marian Gaborik Minnesota Wild
Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim Ducks
Shawn Horcoff Edmonton Oilers
Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings
Rick Nash Columbus Blue Jackets
Henrik Sedin Vancouver Canucks
Paul Stastny Colorado Avalanche
Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks

East Conference


Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils
Rick DiPietro New York Islanders
Tomas Vokoun Florida Panthers


Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins
Andrei Markov Montreal Canadiens
Brian Campbell Buffalo Sabres
Sergei Gonchar Pittsburgh Penguins
Tomas Kaberle Toronto Maple Leafs
Kimmo Timonen Philadelphia Flyers


Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators
Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins
Vincent LeCavalier Tampa Bay Lightning
Scott Gomez New York Rangers
Dany Heatley Ottawa Senators
Marian Hossa Atlanta Thrashers
Ilya Kovalchuk Atlanta Thrashers
Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals
Mike Richards Philadelphia Flyers
Jason Spezza Ottawa Senators
Martin St Louis Tampa Bay Lightning
Eric Staal Carolina Hurricanes

There are several players I picked who did not make these teams. I will explain why I picked them over the player the NHL selected.

West Conference

Brad Boyes St Louis Blues I will admit that Manny Legace is the Blues MVP at this point, but since Bryzgalov is the Coyotes MVP by a larger margin (and has similar numbers to Legace) and Leclaire has the best season so far of all West Conference goalies not named Luongo, I couldn't find room for Legace on the All Star team, thus I turned to Boyes. The NHL omitted both Bryzgalov and Leclaire from their team and thus had plenty of room for Legace. This was made even easier because they replaced Roberto Luongo who will not play in the All Star Game despite being voted a starter. I planned to leave all replacements of players who will be unavailable for the All Star Game until later, in part because there are often players worthy of roster spots who make it known to the NHL that they don't want to attend and I cannot know these players in advance, so it makes most sense to pick the most worthy group of players and replace those not going later on.

Ilya Bryzgalov Phoenix Coyotes His arrival in Phoenix has turned the Coyotes into a team that looks like they might now be able to slip into a playoff berth. They currently sit 10th in the West Conference and have legitimately won more games than they have lost (taking into account overtime losses). His .922 saves percentage is as good as that of Osgood or Legace and better than Nabokov and he has done it with a worse defence in front of him, thus facing higher shot quality. He is the clear MVP of the Coyotes and not Ed Jovanovski, who is having a solid year leading the Coyotes in ice time and points from defence, but also their worst +/-.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks This rookie leads Chicago in scoring and has been their MVP. Because he can play in the Young Stars Game, he was left out of the All Star lineup. The Chicago choice of Duncan Keith is far from the Hawks MVP. Keith is as shocked as anyone that he was selected.

Pascal Leclaire Columbus Blue Jackets He is the Columbus MVP. His .928 saves percentage leads all West Conference goalies who made the team. His 1.97 GAA leads all but Chris Osgood (who plays behind a better defence). Picking Rick Nash perpetuates the idea that he is the Blue Jackets star. While Nash is a good player he has never managed a point per game and this year is no exception (37 points in 43 games). His performance is less spectacular than that of Leclaire so far this season.

Brian Rafalski Detroit Red Wings So far this season, Rafalski is the second highest scoring defenceman behind teammate Nicklas Lidstrom (with 37 points). That is an all star worthy performance. He was left off because Duncan Keith and Ed Jovanovski were selected on defence as their team's lone representatives. Neither are MVPs of their teams so far. It would have made more sense to pick the players who have outplayed them so far this season.

Robyn Regehr Calgary Flames A very solid stay at home defenceman in Calgary, who is a major reason why Calgary is one of the better groups of defenders this season. His spot was lost because Duncan Keith and Ed Jovanovski were chosen as their team's lone representatives thus filling up the defence core.

East Conference

Mike Comrie New York Islanders Rick DiPietro is the Islanders MVP so far this season and was their selection, but when only three goalies are selected and 12 forwards go to the All Star team, it's easier to select a forward when neither is truly worthy based on merit, except that somebody has to represent the Islanders.

Cristobal Huet Montreal Canadiens He is having too good a season (.925 saves percentage, 2.35 GAA) to consider leaving him off for lone representative players such as Rick DiPietro (.912 saves percentage, 2.52 GAA) or Tomas Vokoun (.918 saves percentage, 2.65 GAA). So I chose other players from the Islanders and Florida and gave Huet the berth.

Olli Jokinen Florida Panthers Jokinen was left because Tomas Vokoun was the lone Florida representative. I think the difference between Jokinen and another forward (for example Marian Hossa - is Jokinen having a worse season than Hossa?) is less than the difference between Cristobal Huet and Tomas Vokoun.

Michal Rozsival New York Rangers The Rangers have been a low scoring team this year, but have won by allowing even less goals. Their defence is led by unheralded Rozsival who leads them in ice time and is among the ten highest scoring defenders in hockey this season. That makes him the Rangers MVP in my book. Problem is he is not nearly as famous as Scott Gomez, who was selected. (or Jaromir Jagr who probably does not want to play - Jagr has not appeared in an All Star Game since 2004. He has been worthy of selection in the past but declined to participate.)

Mats Sundin Toronto Maple Leafs I have to wonder if he was offered a spot and declined. I think his 48 points and team leading +/- rating in Toronto makes him a better selection than Martin St Louis or Marian Hossa who were selected as second players from their respective clubs.

Tim Thomas Boston Bruins If the goalie with the leading saves percentage in the league .930 is not an all star, I am not sure how to pick an all star goalie. I see him as the most significant omission. The knock on Thomas from a public relations standpoint is that he is not a very famous player.

Ray Whitney Carolina Hurricanes Whitney leads the Hurricanes in scoring and has done it in fewer games played than Eric Staal, but Staal is a bigger name player and not too far behind him. The NHL chose the big name over the guy who is playing better.

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