The NHL has released the complete All-Star roster for the 2011 All-Star Game and, in a move that I’m sure is shocking to everyone, they picked the right players from the Vancouver Canucks. Both of the Sedins will play, after just Henrik was picked back in 2008. Joining Daniel and Henrik will be Ryan Kesler, whose career-year pace has not gone unnoticed. I’m very excited to see Kesler take the All-Star Game very, very seriously.
While arguments could be made for both Roberto Luongo and Alexander Edler, it’s difficult to argue with the selections made. For the most part, the NHL seems to have gotten it right. It’s a little baffling that Henrik Zetterberg is absent and that only one goalie was selected from the Western Conference, but with the necessity of fitting in at least one player from every team, it’s understandable to see one or two notable absences. It happens every year. Having to squeeze in players from the cellar-dwelling Oilers, Leafs, Islanders, Senators, Panthers and Devils means some very good players from top teams will be absent. Except, of course, that the Islanders and Panthers, as well as the Sabres and Coyotes, will only have rookies and sophomores participating in the All-Star festivities and no players in the actual game.
I, for one, am just glad they selected Ryan Kesler. The Sedins were obvious choices and it would have been very easy for them to select the Sedins and move on from the Canucks, leaving room for another forward. I’m thankful they didn’t, as Kesler has been one of the best players in the NHL over the first half of the season and has the potential to reach elite status if he can improve his numbers
over the second half.
Some might argue that with his offensive outburst this season combined with his usual strong defensive play, he’s already there. I hate to say it, but I disagree. With Manny Malhotra stepping in for the majority of the defensive zone faceoffs
and the toughest competition
, Ryan Kesler is being asked to do a lot less defensively, which has majorly contributed to his offensive production this year. Many were surprised when NHL.com suggested that Malhotra, not Kesler, was a frontrunner for the Selke
, but they’re absolutely right, or at least should be. The Selke will likely come down to a reputation-based award once again, instead of actually rewarding the best defensive forward from the 2010-11 season, in which case it may actually go to Kesler (which I wouldn’t cry about), but Manny Malhotra should be in consideration.
In any case, Kesler and the Sedins are All-Stars. And you know what that means…McDonald’s hockey cards! Oh wait, nevermind
. McDonalds apparently doesn’t do hockey cards anymore, which is the saddest thing I’ve heard today.
With the assumption that Kesler will take part in the fastest skater competition, what parts of the skills competition would you like to see the Sedins participate in?
Tags: Alternate Captain Mal
, The NHL All-Star Game