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NHL announces rosters for All-Star Game. Which local players made the team?

Taylor Hall (Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

Taylor Hall (Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)

On Tuesday, the NHL announced the rosters for the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend to take place on January 28-29 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the home of the LA Kings.  The rosters, including team captains and head coaches, are as follows:

Atlantic Division:

Head Coach – Michel Terrien (MTL)

Captain – Goaltender Carey Price (MTL)
F Nikita Kucherov (TBL)
F Brad Marchand (BOS)
F Auston Matthews (TOR)
F Frans Nielsen (DET)
F Kyle Okposo (BUF)
F Vincent Trocheck (FLA)
D Victor Hedman (TBL)
D Erik Karlsson (OTT)
D Shea Weber (MTL)
G Tuukka Rask (BOS)

Metropolitan Division:

Head Coach – John Tortorella (CBJ)

Captain – Forward Sidney Crosby (PIT)
F Taylor Hall (NJD)
F Evgeni Malkin (PIT)
F Alex Ovechkin (WSH)
F Wayne Simmonds (PHI)
F John Tavares (NYI)
D Justin Faulk (CAR)
D Seth Jones (CBJ)
D Ryan McDonagh (NYR)
G Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ)
G Braden Holtby (WSH)

Central Division:

Head Coach – Bruce Boudreau (MIN)

Captain – Defenseman P.K. Subban (NSH)
F Patrick Kane (CHI)
F Patrik Laine (WPG)
F Nathan MacKinnon (COL)
F Tyler Seguin (DAL)
F Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)
F Jonathan Toews (CHI)
D Duncan Keith (CHI)
D Ryan Suter (MIN)
G Corey Crawford (CHI)
G Devan Dubnyk (MIN)

Pacific Division:

Head Coach – Peter DeBoer (SJS)

Captain – Forward Connor McDavid (EDM)
F Jeff Carter (LAK)
F Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)
F Bo Horvat (VAN)
F Joe Pavelski (SJS)
D Brent Burns (SJS)
D Drew Doughty (LAK)
D Cam Fowler (ANA)
G Martin Jones (SJS)
G Mike Smith (ARI)

The All-Star Weekend will kick off Thursday, January 26 with the NHL Centennial Fan Arena and Friday, January 27 when the NHL reveals the remaining 67 of the 100 greatest players of all-time.  The NHL 100 event will be aired on NBCSN at 9:30pm EST.  The 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place on Saturday evening at 7:00pm EST on NBCSN.

The All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, January 29 at 3:30pm, EST on NBC.  Tickets start at $199 with an average price of $769. Staples Center parking is available for as little as $8, however. The game will be a continuation of the 3-on-3 format first introduced last year in Nashville.  The four divisions will compete in a tournament to determine the winner.

For the most part, the teams are fairly drawn, having all 30 teams represented for the weekend.  There are some obvious snubs, such as New York Rangers’ leaders in points, Kevin Hayes and Derek Stepan, each with 31.  Rangers’ Captain and defenseman, Ryan McDonagh, was chosen instead to ensure the Metropolitan Division had enough blue-liners.  For the Philadelphia Flyers, Wayne Simmonds was chosen over Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux, who each have more points on the season than Simmonds.  Not to take anything away from Simmonds, but perhaps he was chosen because Giroux and Voracek have already been involved in the all-star game in the past, and this will be his first trip.  All aboard the Wayne-Train, I suppose…

This year’s All-Star classic will feature three of the top future stars of the NHL in Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Patrik Laine.  This is assuming, however, Laine is healthy to participate after Jake McCabe of the Buffalo Sabres absolutely leveled Laine with an open-ice hit during Saturday’s 4-3 Sabres victory in Buffalo.

Montréal, Boston, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Chicago, Minnesota, Los Angeles, and San Jose are represented by more than one player.  Despite being the host city, Los Angeles is only represented by two players, while bitter division rivals, the San Jose Sharks, are represented by three players.  San Jose is the only team with three players, and Chicago leads representation with four players.

Mathematically, the Western Conference divisions will feature teams with more than two players from the same team, as there are only seven teams in those divisions, as opposed to eight in the two Eastern Conference divisions.  However, four players from Chicago?!  Come on now.  Instead of Duncan Keith on Team Subban, Kevin Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues could have been chosen as an alternative.  While Keith has more points than Shattenkirk, Shattenkirk leads the Note in points among defensemen, and he would be only the second player from the Blues, providing fairer representation to the squad.  Roman Josi from the Nashville Predators could have joined fellow-teammate and division captain, P.K. Subban, as well, if not Shattenkirk.  Yet Arizona is represented by Mike Smith, who is only there because the Pacific Division needed another goalie, and Arizona has no one else to represent them in Los Angeles.  My point is: there seems to be some integrity lost here on the league’s part in choosing the players to go to the All-Star Game.  I get it – there will ultimately be snubs no matter who gets chosen.  But, the NHL definitely could have done a better job at letting those that truly deserve to be there have their chance to enjoy the fun-filled weekend.

That being said, last year’s 3-on-3 format was a big hit in Nashville.  This year, the All-Star Game lacks the feel-good John Scott story, but the skills competition and game will be a lot of fun to watch.  Patrick Kane is back to show off his incredible shootout skills.  Will he don the Superman cape and glasses?  Will Brent Burns put on the Chewbacca mask again?  Who will P.K. Subban impersonate this year?  My prediction for fastest skater is Connor McDavid, if he participates in that event.  Alternatively, I predict Vladimir Tarasenko to win.  My prediction for hardest shot goes to Shea Weber.  Weber has won it before, and Zdeno Chara will not be present for the weekend.

Finally, for a quick update on Alexander Ovechkin and Henrik Sedin: On Monday evening, Ovi registered three points – two assists, and a goal to tie Maurice “The Rocket” Richard with 544 career goals.  “The Great 8” now has 999 points.  He will have an opportunity to reach the 1,000-point milestone Wednesday evening as the Caps host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  A goal would be extra special for point 1,000.  As for Henrik Sedin, the Sweden-native and captain of the Vancouver Canucks has been riding 996 points since January 2 when he registered points 995 and 996 in a 3-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche.  The Canucks are back in action in Philadelphia Thursday night.  Stay tuned…

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Evan is the Hockey Editor for DoubleGSports.com. He provides coverage of the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers, as well as some league-wide content.
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