Power rankings: All-Star extravaganza

Ross McKeon

Thumbs up or thumbs down? That's what we're asking this week. Did the fans by their vote of starters, and the league by deciding the rest of the rosters for the Eastern and Western Conference squads get it right for this weekend's 56th annual All-Star game in Atlanta? Who got snubbed? Who doesn't really deserve the honor?

Power rankings are updated every Tuesday.


1. Detroit Red Wings (35-10-4, Previous: 2) – Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Chris Osgood. Honestly? Maybe the Red Wings should be invited and oppose a team of All-Stars compiled from the other 29 franchises.


2. Ottawa Senators (30-14-4, Previous: 1) – Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley (injured). Pretty easy call: When together, the trio is only the most explosive forward line in hockey. A sleeper here, too, is defenseman Wade Redden: 23 minutes a game, plus-15, six goals, and 21 points.


3. Philadelphia Flyers (26-15-5, Previous: 9) – Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen. Good to see Richards finally get recognition with his first All-Star selection even though the hockey world knew he was deserving before this. Timonen has been solid, maybe as much a reputation pick as anything. Daniel Briere would look great in this event, but his minus-12 sticks out.


4. Dallas Stars (28-18-5, Previous: 10) – Sergei Zubov in the main event and Matt Niskanen as a young star. Here's a shocker: It's only Zubov's fourth All-Star appearance. It seems like he should have twice as many. Stars leading scorer Mike Ribeiro should be included. He'd be plenty sour if this year's game was in Montreal and he'd been snubbed.

New Jersey

5. New Jersey Devils (27-17-3, Previous: 4) – Martin Brodeur. The game's best goalie will appear for the 10th time in the midseason event, but he interestingly goes without a Devils teammate for the first time.


6. Anaheim Ducks (27-18-6, Previous: 12) – Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Pronger. Where's the love for Jean-Sebastien Giguere? He's flown under the radar the first half, but without his timely saves the goal-starved Ducks wouldn't be in position to possibly return to the postseason. Corey Perry, a future All-Star, could have made it this year, too.


7. Pittsburgh Penguins (27-17-4, Previous: 5) – Sidney Crosby (injured) and Sergei Gonchar in the main event; Tyler Kennedy and Kris Letang as Young Stars. Hello? Where's Evgeni Malkin? Twenty-six goals, 56 points. He deserves to be there. OK, we know the Young Stars event is mostly a gimmick, but Letang didn't gain promotion until mid-November after failing to make the team out of camp.


8. Montreal Canadiens (24-15-8, Previous: 8) – Andrei Markov. Um, you can bet if the Habs are on pace for 98-100 points next year like they are this season there will be more than one representative, especially since Montreal is hosting All-Star Game No. 57 in its beautiful city.

San Jose

9. San Jose Sharks (25-15-7, Previous: 3) – Joe Thornton and Evgeni Nabokov. Both are clearly deserving, and where would San Jose be without them? No one else comes even close to consideration unless you count rookie Torrey Mitchell for the Young Stars where he was left off.


10. Minnesota Wild (27-18-3, Previous: 6) – Marian Gaborik. The team's leading scorer makes his second All-Star appearance as he's the only Wild player having a standout season. Brian Rolston won't be there, but he's solid in all aspects of the game and has one of the hardest slap shots around – an asset the West won't have in the skills competition.


11. Colorado Avalanche (26-18-4, Previous: 14) – Paul Stastny. The 22-year-old sophomore star had a big start and some noticeable droughts, so his selection might be a bit dubious. The thing is, with Joe Sakic injured, there's not another deserving player on the roster.


12. Calgary Flames (24-17-8, Previous: 13) – Dion Phaneuf and Jarome Iginla. Phaneuf makes his second appearance as an All-Star in just his third season. He's an All-Star defenseman, no doubt, but this game isn't for his style, at least in a physical nature, that's for sure. Forwards Kristian Huselius and Daymond Langkow are deserving as well.


13. Boston Bruins (24-18-5, Previous: 16) – Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard in the main event; Milan Lucic as a young star. Wouldn't you just like to see Chara apply a glass-rattling hit in the game? Good luck. Savard is a nice addition, but he shouldn't go over Malkin.


14. Vancouver Canucks (25-19-5, Previous: 7) – Henrik Sedin and Roberto Luongo (bailed) in the main event; Alexander Edler as a young star. What will Henrik do without twin brother Daniel? How did anyone decide which was more deserving? If Daniel shows up in Henrik's place, will anyone even know it?

St. Louis

15. St. Louis Blues (22-18-6, Previous: 11) – Manny Legace in the main event; Erik Johnson and David Perron as Young Stars. Nice story for the 34-year-old Legace to make an All-Star game when he's been basically a back-up most of his career – and he is deserving. So, too, is Brad Boyes. His 27 goals are more than twice as many as any other Blue.


16. Phoenix Coyotes (24-21-2, Previous: 17) – Ed Jovanovski in the main event and Peter Mueller as a young star. OK, someone's joking here, right? Minus-9 last time I looked. Either Shane Doan or Radim Vrbata should have gone before Jovanovski.


17. Nashville Predators (24-20-4, Previous: 19) – Jason Arnott. The offseason fire sale shed the Preds of their top players so this is the token Nashville choice. Alexander Radulov should be an All-Star, but he's not playing like it yet.

New York Islanders

18. New York Islanders (23-19-5, Previous: 15) – Rick DiPietro. This selection basically comes under the heading of needing to pick one representative from every team. One could argue Boston's Tim Thomas, Ottawa's Martin Gerber or even Philadelphia's Martin Biron should go ahead of DiPietro, but to his credit DiPietro doesn't get a lot of goal support and he keeps the Isles in most every game.


19. Columbus Blue Jackets (23-20-6, Previous: 18) – Rick Nash. No quibble with Nash's selection. With the prodding of coach Ken Hitchcock, Nash has become more of a complete player and he's led the Blue Jackets. But somehow goalie Pascal Leclaire has to be invited. He's the league leader with seven shutouts, a great save percentage and low goals-against average. C'mon.


20. Chicago Blackhawks (23-21-4, Previous: 25) – Duncan Keith in the main event and Patrick Kane as a young star. Not everyone has heard of Keith, but he's the next Chris Pronger in terms of being able to handle tons of ice time. Kane could be playing in the main event as far as we're concerned, and it's just unfortunate Jonathan Toews has been injured because he deserves to be showcased among the young stars as well. The one omission that stands out here, however, is Patrick Sharp, who has scored seven short-handed goals.

New York Rangers

21. New York Rangers (22-21-6, Previous: 20) – Scott Gomez in the main event; Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal as Young Stars. Gomez has simply been average, along with all of New York's high-priced talent. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist would have been the East starter at the quarter mark, but didn't play nearly as well in the second 20 games. The league would be better served by inviting Brendan Shanahan, really.


22. Washington Capitals (22-21-5, Previous: 27) – Alexander Ovechkin in the main event and Nicklas Backstrom as a young star. If Joe Thornton were still in the east you could have the game's best passer flanked by two great Russian snipers – Ovechkin and Kovalchuk. Is one puck going to be enough for these two?


23. Carolina Hurricanes (24-23-4, Previous: 21) – Eric Staal. Pretty easy to pick the team's leading scorer, but it would have been a nice honor for aging veteran Ray Whitney, who is a plus player unlike Staal and second in team scoring. He's been an underrated catalyst on this team the last several seasons, too.


24. Edmonton Oilers (22-23-5, Previous: 23) – Shawn Horcoff in the main event and Sam Gagner as a young star. Oilers fans probably thought free-agent signees Dustin Penner and Sheldon Souray would have a great shot at this honor, but not with the disappointing seasons they've had to date. Gagner has splendid 1-on-1 moves, the main reason he was chosen for the Young Stars event.


25. Atlanta Thrashers (23-24-3, Previous: 24) – Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa for the main event; Tobias Enstrom as a young star. The unwritten rule when picking All-Star rosters is to give every possible break to the home team, and the Thrashers are certainly benefiting as hosts. We'll really see how popular Kovalchuk is with East teammates, who might give him every opportunity to win the MVP award.


26. Buffalo Sabres (20-21-6, Previous: 22) – Brian Campbell. Tough to find an All-Star among this group this season. Ryan Miller, Derek Roy, Tim Connolly, Thomas Vanek should all be having better seasons, but that's the reason why the Sabres are only on pace for 80 points and a non-playoff finish.


27. Florida Panthers (21-24-4, Previous: 26) – Tomas Vokoun. It's the sixth straight All-Star Game in which only one Panther is invited. The year before that streak started – 1998 in Vancouver – there was no representative of Florida. What does that tell you about how it's gone for this franchise of late?


28. Toronto Maple Leafs (19-22-8, Previous: 29) – Tomas Kaberle. No, Kaberle isn't really deserving, but beyond Mats Sundin, who is? Sundin reportedly told the selection committee to respectfully remove his name from roster consideration. He says he needs the break to get away and rest. All he has to do is stop reading the newspapers and he'll feel better.

Tampa Bay

29. Tampa Bay Lightning (19-24-5, Previous: 28) – Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis in the main event; Mike Lundin as a young star. That's a substantial turnout for a struggling team. My guess is it will be St. Louis' final All-Star game as a representative of Tampa Bay. The team desperately needs to acquire an All-Star quality goalie to compete again.

Los Angeles

30. Los Angeles Kings (19-28-2, Previous: 30) – Anze Kopitar in the main event and Jack Johnson as a young star. The game is going to be something like 8-6 and Kopitar won't be able to tell any difference between the All-Stars and any other contest with the Kings. Truthfully, Dustin Brown has been L.A.'s best player. He should be going.