The NHL has announced the starting 6 All-Star players as voted in by the fans. The 6 players represent 2 teams in the NHL, with the Pittsburgh Penguins sending 4 players and the Chicago Blackhawks sending 2 down to Raleigh, North Carolina for the All Star Game. The Starting Forwards are Evgeni Malkin (14-19-33), Sidney Crosby (32-33-65), and Jonathan Toews (16-19-35). The starting defensemen are Kris Letang (6-27-33) and Duncan Keith (3-21-24), and the goalie selected by the fans is Marc-Andre Fleury (17W-9L-2OT, GAA 2.31, Sv% 9.18).
Wow, okay... let me try and clear my head. Reading that makes me feel like I just huffed a bag full of paint and Elmer's glue. Listen, say what you want about Crosby... I hate him, but he is a great hockey player and deserves the spot. He has the most points in the league. Kris Letang, I hate the sweater he wears on the ice but he has been great on the blue line for the Penguins and deserves a spot. However, the other 4 choices are painful. Duncan Keith has been underwhelming as a top D-Man on Chicago, how Nicklas Lidstrom (11-26-37) did not get the most votes by fans saddens me. Dustin Byfuglien by numbers alone deserves to be a starter, hell even a starting forward if you look at his numbers. Marc-Andre Fleury is a great goaltender, but his season is not equal to that of Tim Thomas or even Ondrej Pavelec. He deserves to be in the All Star game, but not the #1. Evgeni Malkin is simply a popularity vote in. Stamkos, Henrik or Daniel Sedin, Brad Richards, and many more deserve to be in front of him. Finally we have Jonathan Toews, where the same argument for Malkin applies. He is a great player but there are several better candidates for that starting spot.
Overall it was just 2 extremely popular teams getting their most popular players into the lineup, which is rather unfair. I know you want to see guys you like in the game but if these guys being voted in leaves out more than 2 players from Vancouver (#1 in the West) it will be a poor decision and the game will lack it's fun of seeing the best players together on the ice. Vancouver deserves a few spots, as do the Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, and Tampa Bay Lightning just to name a few who deserve multiple players.