On January 11, 2011, Alex Edler was left off the All-Star ballot, and he took it hard. Edler channeled his secret rage into a major production increase, scoring 7 points in his next 8 games, but the rage, like Tony Stark’s arc reactor, ate away at his body from the inside, and a week later, he had to undergo surgery to repair damage in his back. Tru fakt*.
In any case, there will be no rage-induced hot streak/back explosion this year, as Edler, along with Henrik and Daniel Sedin, has been named to the 2012 All-Star Game. Cody Hodgson’s been invited as a rookie representative as well. That sound you heard is Tony Gallagher loading up the typewriter for a piece criticizing the management of Hodgson’s All-Star weekend icetime.
For the record, don’t cry over Ryan Kesler not being invited back. Like Alain Vigneault shrugging his shoulders at missing out on a trip to Ottawa with the loss in Florida, Kesler’s taking this in stride, especially since, speaking of strides, he now gets a much-needed opportunity to improve his through rest. Considering he came back from groin surgery early, I’m sure he could use some more recuperation time.
Plus the first All-Star invite is the one that matters. From then on, you’re an All-Star, and the players care far more about that lifelong distinction than playing in the game every year. That in mind, let’s get back to Alex Edler.
Edler’s invitation is an interesting one. For years, he’s been touted as a future All-Star and possible future Norris candidate, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising to see him reach the next level. He leads Canuck defensemen in scoring with 30 points, which is also good for fourth in the entire NHL among blueliners.
In short, Edler’s not undeserving of the distinction. But if you were to poll 100 Vancouver fans as to who the best Canuck defenceman has been this year, Edler would only get about a third of the votes.
The remaining two-thirds would go to either Dan Hamhuis or Kevin Bieksa, the two guys that make up the Canucks’ top shutdown pairing. Sure, they don’t have the same number of points (Bieksa has 25, Hamhuis has 21, which still puts both in the top 25 for NHL D-man scoring), but they play more minutes, see far less less powerplay icetime, and face much tougher defensive assignments. In short, when it comes to actual defending, Edler falls to third on the Canucks’ depth chart.
Yesterday, Puck Daddy released its unofficial All-Star game roster, and Kevin Bieksa, not Alex Edler, got the nod. It’s worth noting that Greg Wyshynski and co. have somewhat different criteria, however, factoring star power into the mix. If it was a close race between Hamhuis, Bieksa, and Edler before, Bieksa obviously gets a slight nod the moment you incorporate marketability. Edler’s so shy that, were we a smaller man, he’d be known for hiding in cabinets.
On those grounds, Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis is never getting an All-Star nod, which is a shame because, for my money, he’s been the steadiest Canucks’ defenceman for well over a year now. Problem is, everything the Community Man does is quiet. When the only thing more understated than one’s on-ice contributions is one’s off-ice demeanor, getting noticed is gonna be tough.
All of this is to say the Canucks have three very good defenseman, and their ranking order depends entirely on criteria. Lucky for Alex Edler, the All-Star Game’s criteria is weighted to offensive contributions. That in mind, regardless of whether he’s the most deserving Canuck defenseman, he remains deserving nontheless. Congratulations to him and the rest of the Canuck All-Star invites.
*Tru Fakts are PITB-brand yarns. They are neither true nor facts.Tags: Edler, The NHL All-Star Game, Tru Fakts