Thursday, January 28, 2016

2016 All-Star Game Rosters

The rosters for the All-Star Game 3-on-3 tournament were announced some time ago, but I thought it was better to have the pool listings done during the break, just looks a little more apt that way. Oh, and of course, there are going to be roster changes, as there were a couple of players pulling out on Thursday to "injury" or "illness," which should cost each player a game after the weekend for missing out on the game.

Nevertheless, I think we're in for an interesting format this year, given that it is four teams of divisional representatives, playing 3-on-3 in hour long (or so) games, leading up to a West versus East situation.

I don't think I have to go into the circus, that was the "fan" vote for the divisional captains, which caused quite the stir, other than the NHL got what they deserved for their lack of foresight in the voting process and I'm glad they slept in the bed they made.

I think there is a real chance for another mini-game that revolves around the All-Star Game in the hockey pool, which would at least give us a reason to watch it... it could potentially make us our money back.  That's a good enough reason, right?

With that being said, let's see how this year's teams stack up and who would have had the best chance to win their money back, if it was a mini-game.

We'll start with the host team from the Central Division, who are arguably the favourites.

Player NHL Pool
Jamie Benn DAL Brian
Matt Duchene COL Jeremy
Patrick Kane CHI John S.
Tyler Seguin DAL Cindy
Vladimir Tarasenko STL Tony
Jonathan Toews ** CHI John R.
James Neal NAS Wes
Dustin Byfuglien WPG Eric
Roman Josi NAS Scott 
Shea Weber NAS Stacey M.
Pekka Rinne NAS Ryan
Derek Dubnyk MIN Derek W.

Even with the injury to Toews, this team is going to be one heck of a 3-on-3 team, to say the least.  I would have to think that the hometown Predators got to be pumped for this one, which will make this team tough to beat.

Staying in the West, we'll have a look at the Pacific Division team, which is the butt of all the jokes.

Player NHL Pool
Johnny  Gaudreau CAL Brian
Taylor Hall EDM Stacey C.
Joe Pavelski SAN Eric
Corey Perry ANA Allan
John Scott AHL Non-Pool
Daniel Sedin VAN John P.
Brent Burns SAN Dale B.
Drew Doughty LOS Derek W.
Mark Giordano CAL Derek & Dan
John Gibson ANA Clayton
Jonathan Quick LOS Brenda & Seward

So, the Pacific Division captain, John Scott, doesn't play in the NHL, let alone the Pacific Division anymore, but that's what we've got to live with or cheer on, depending on your disposition.  Otherwise, this team has its highlights, but we'll leave it at that.

Out East, we'll start with the Atlantic Division, another team that made some news, but for a completely different reason.

Player NHL Pool
Patrice Bergeron BOS Neil
Jaromir Jagr FLA John P.
Leo Komarov TOR Troy
Dylan Larkin DET Grant
Ryan O'Reilly BUF Grant
Steven Stamkos TAM Wes
Aaron Ekblad FLA Derek W.
Erik Karlsson OTT Clayton
P.K. Subban MTL Dale B.
Ben Bishop TAM Allan
Roberto Luongo FLA Kristy & Don

Their captain, Jaromir Jagr, was this close (pinching my fingers together) from not going to the game at all, citing his age and jokingly, his fear about being beaten up by the Pacific Division captain.  Both might be fair points, but we're all glad he's going anyways.

The last divisional team belongs to the Metropolitan Division, which has an injury of its own and it was to their captain, so a replacement needed to be made.

Player NHL Pool
Nicklas Backstrom WAS Troy
Claude Giroux PHI Benson
Evgeni Malkin PIT Wes
Alex Ovechkin ** WAS Neil
Brandon Saad CBJ Ryan
John Tavares NYI Eric
Evgeny Kuznetsov WAS Brian
Justin Faulk CAR Stuart
Kris Letang PIT Jeremy
Ryan McDonagh NYR Derek W.
Braden Holtby WAS Jeremy
Cory Schneider NJD Troy

On Thursday, the Islanders' John Tavares was named the Metro captain, as Alex Ovechkin pulled out of the game with a lower-body injury.  The Metro has a pretty excellent lineup of players, which should be fun to watch and my bet to come out of the East on Sunday.

So, how does this stack up in the pool?  You would think that thanks to a Waiver Draft already having been done this year, all the All-Stars would be claimed in the pool, but oh yes, let's not forget about the "fan" vote.  So, 43 of the 44 players are in the pool and yes, there are going to be some teams that are skunked, thanks to NHL operations.  If these three teams have any complaints, they should refer those complaints to NHL head office.

Dale C., John R. and Mike were all skunked this year, not having a player chosen from their pool teams to represent their division in the All-Star Game.  That's a damn shame.

On the flip side, apparently Derek W. was all over picking potential All-Stars this year, as he is best represented with four players.  Five more teams have three players a piece, so it would be a pretty good competition, one would think, if this was a mini-game.  You could always pick the likely favourites to be there, but there are injuries and controversies, so picking at the draft before the season starts is still quite the crap shoot.

Anyways, let the weekend begin!  I know I'll be watching.

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