On "Marek Vs. Wyshynski", we asked your opinions on the NHL All-Star Game; specifically, how you view the midseason classic's purpose.
Should it be a fantasy hockey league come to life? The NHL apparently believes so, having instituted the fantasy draft last season and continuing the gimmick this season.
Should that fantasy draft feature superstars no matter how they've played during the first half of the season? Should it be merit-based, honoring the best players from the previous 3-and-a-half months — a more traditional set-up for an all-star game?
The rest of the 2012 NHL All-Stars will be announced on Thursday: Along with the six players who were the "first selected" by Ottawa and Toronto NHL fans, there will be 36 more veterans and 12 rookies, who will participate in the Honda SuperSkills competition at All-Star Weekend. In total, each team will have 27 players.
How you feel about those selections will likely indicate how you view the all-star game. Here's how we view it: It is, at its core, a chance to see the NHL's best players compete in unusual events and on atypical line combinations — enemies playing with enemies and so forth. Star power is what makes the weekend entertaining.
But it should also have some reverence for the players who have excelled so far this season — an all-star weekend selection acting as a nod to their accomplishments.
It should also represent all 30 teams, through the ASG roster and the rookie selections.
With that, we've selected the rest of the players we believe should make the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa.
Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators (First Vote)
Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators (First Vote)
Milan Michalek, Ottawa Senators (First Vote)
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Loui Eriksson, Dallas Stars
Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks
Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres
Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets
Dany Heatley, Minnesota Wild
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
The voting in of three Senators meant squeezing out some worthy candidates: Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils and Kris Versteeg of the Florida Panthers were on our list and had to be sacrificed.
Evander Kane is a good fit here for Winnipeg representation, as a young exciting star. We're suckers for old all-star war horses like Selanne, Iginla and Thornton. It's a good balance of stars, merit and representation of all teams.
The Ovechkin selection will be contentious. He's climbing up the goal-scoring standings now, which makes it a little easier. But Nicklas Backstrom has had the "all-star" season for the Capitals.
Bottom line: We want to see Alex Ovechkin compete during all-star weekend more than Backstrom. Such is the nature of the exhibition of hockey skills and outright star-[expletiving].
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators (First Vote)
Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs (First Vote)
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers
Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
Kevin Bieksa, Vancouver Canucks
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Dan Girardi, New York Rangers
Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues
Dennis Seidenberg, Boston Bruins
An offensive list … in, like, scoring, not in taste.
There are some obvious choices here, but to explain the less obvious ones: Girardi is the epitome of the merit-based choice for an All-Star Game. An unsung hero for the Rangers, one of the best teams in the NHL, and a guy who deserves the rub. Plus, maybe his toddler will enter the hardest shot competition. As for Bieksa, it's either him or Edler who makes the pool from Vancouver. We're more entertained by Bieksa. Also, the thought of him and a few Bruins on the same team …
Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins (First Vote)
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins.
Maybe you go Mike Smith over Fleury, but otherwise it's hard to argue with this group. Keep in mind that Price fulfills the Canadiens requirement of the scavenger hunt for us.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils
Craig Smith, Nashville Predators
Matt Read, Philadelphia Flyers
Cody Hodgson, Vancouver Canucks
Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
Luke Adam, Buffalo Sabres
Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets
Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Carl Hagelin, New York Rangers
Adam Larsson, New Jersey Devils
Finally, the rookies, and admittedly there are a few choices made to fill our personal team requirements: Faulk and Johansen. It's a group we're interested to see compete in Ottawa, especially if RNH is healthy.
What say you? Who did we snub? What are your requirements for the All-Star Game?
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