Once again, the NHL let the fans decide and once again, they delivered. But not without some controversy once again.
Both the Eastern and Western Conference starting lineups are full of members of only four teams: Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Montreal Canadiens.
Montreal Canadiens legend and former All-Star Jean Beliveau announced the rosters on Saturday, Jan. 3, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.
In the West, Ducks goalie JS Giguere gets the start in net, while teammates Scott Niedermayer and Ryan Getzlaf are also starting for the West.
Chicago Blackhawk sophomores Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are slated to play for the West up front, while Brian Campbell gets the nod on defense.
In the East, Pittsburgh Penguin snipers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin finished 1-2 in Eastern Conference forward voting, while Montreal Canadiens winger Alex Kovalev gets the third spot.
The back end is all bleu, blanc, et rouge with Andrei Markov, Mike Komisarek on the blueline, and Carey Price in net.
It will be the first All-Star game for Kane, Toews, Komisarek, Giguere, and Price.
With controversy abounding after all the votes in the East were slated to Montreal Canadiens due to automated voting, Crosby and Malkin led the charge, ousting both Alex Tanguay and Saku Koivu in the top three forwards.
However, a late surge by Marc-Andre Fleury and Sergei Gonchar came up short.
In the West, Brian Campbell had a sizable lead on Niedermayer, who was battling with teammate Chris Pronger and Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
This if the first time the starting lineups have been so narrowly chosen, meaning that there are not a variety of teams. It was thought the East may be mostly Habs, yet the West turned out to be just as one-sided with only two teams represented.
Changes to the NHL All-Star voting may occur after a year in which the voting was not at all honest. Perhaps a change to allowing one vote per day such as the MLB does will help change the way the NHL picks its All-Star starters.
Nevertheless, many of the players deserve to be in the game, most notably Crosby, Malkin, Price, and Getzlaf. Crosby and Malkin continue to be a dynamic duo in Pittsburgh, both in the top five in league scoring.
Getlzaf has become a great asset to the Ducks with his power forward presence up front. Price has anchored the Habs net well this season and has lost once in regulation in his last 14 starts.
The All-Star Game festivities, held in Montreal this year, will begin with the Superskills Competition on Saturday, Jan. 24, followed by the All-Star Game on Jan. 25.
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