Yesterday, the NHL released the rest of the 2010-11 All-Stars with teams getting decided the old fashioned way. Like a pickup game with two captains choosing which players they want in what should be a fun format. Imagine Henrik Lundqvist coming up against Marc Staal or better yet, Staal facing off against brother Eric. Could the Sedins be matched up against each other or perhaps Crosby battled Malkin assuming he recovers from a concussion to play in Raleigh.
The possibilities are endless for nothing more than an exhibition showcasing the game's best talent. Thus adding a little spice to it which should liven things up for everyone involved.
The Rangers will be well represented with both Lundqvist and Staal appearing in the game while bright rookie Derek Stepan takes part in the Skills Competition. While you could make a strong case for Brandon Dubinsky over Lundqvist, it's hard to argue over the selections. Though one wonders if maybe Jonathan Quick should've gotten the nod over Henrik or hometown Cane Cam Ward, who we have always been a fan of. It'll be Lundqvist's second appearance while Marc Staal makes his first. Well deserving in our book, emerging as the Rangers' top defenseman while teamed with overlooked Dan Girardi, who you could make a case for.
The Islanders are represented by rookie Michael Grabner, whose fared well since the club claimed him off waivers from Vancouver. With John Tavares being passed up, Grabner gets the call. His nine goals rank fourth on the club with each coming at even strength. If he can become more consistent in that department, he could be a vital part of the Isles' core. One which will include Kyle Okposo, who's finally skating.
Patrik Elias goes for the Devils over team minus Ilya Kovalchuk and sentimental choice Martin Brodeur. This is probably the right call for the last place team who's still getting a decent year from the popular veteran left wing. Despite only nine goals, the classy Elias paces the club with 21 assists, 30 points and five power play goals, proving he's still a good player even in a trying year. Just look at his plus/minus (-9) compared to Kovalchuk (league worst -29). It tells you everything you need to know about the prideful Elias, who will always be one of our most admired Devils.
The Sabres will be represented by Thomas Vanek, who after a slow start has done his part pacing Lindy Ruff's club in goals (16), power play goals (8), power play points (15) and shots on goal (128). If only Derek Roy hadn't gone down, Buffalo might have a shot at getting back in it. At least Drew Stafford's (14 goals) finally fulfilling potential and Jordan Leopold (10-14-24) has been a pleasant surprise. Rookie Tyler Ennis will also take part in the skills with his 19 points showing promise for Buffalo's future.
Along with fan selections consisting of Pens Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury along with Hawks' tandem Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith, here's a look at the entire roster by team:
Ana-Corey Perry, Jonas Hiller
Atl-Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom
Bos-Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas
Car-Eric Staal, Cam Ward
Chi-Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp
Dal-Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson
NYR-Marc Staal, Henrik Lundqvist
Pit-Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Fleury
TB-Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis
Van-Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler
Wsh-Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green
Logan Couture, SJ
Jordan Eberle, Edm
Taylor Hall, Edm
Cam Fowler, Ana
Tyler Ennis, Buf
Derek Stepan, NYR
Kevin Shattenkirk, Col
Tyler Seguin, Bos
Michael Grabner, NYI
Evgeny Dadonov, Fla
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phx
Jeff Skinner, Car