Monday, January 14, 2008

Western Conference No-Star Team

Just yesterday, I posted the Eastern Conference No-Star Team, and it appears that someone in the NHL was reading, as one of my starting forwards, Marc Savard, was named as a replacement for the injured Danny Heatley. Well done on that one Gary. I suppose since I am now short a player on the Eastern side, I'll need to find a replacement, I'll take...ohhh, I don't know...Jaromir Jagr....

Today we look to the more interesting conference out West, were there were there is arguably less Star Power, but far more depth of solid players. So without further ado, here are my starting 5...


Mike Riberio
Dallas Stars

Credentials: I was thoroughly shocked that Riberio did not make the cut. He is in the Top 15 in the NHL in points, and is a strong candidate for this years Most Improved Player. While it may be frustrating to Habs fans to see Riberio explode AFTER being traded from Montreal, in what I call "John LeClair Syndrome" (henceforth referred to as JLS), he has played very well this season, and is well deserving of the prestigious starting centre position on this roster.

Kristian Huselius
Calgary Flames

Credentials: The answer: Anze Kopitar, Henrik Sedin, Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash and Shawn Horcoff. The question? "Who are 5 All-Star Forwards who have less points than Huselius?". I'll admit, I was convinced that Huselius would be the first one shipped out of Calgary on the Mike Keenan express, but I was totally wrong! The talented left winger has shown remarkable growth this year and has gelled impressively with Iginla and Langkow as one of the league's dominant lines.

Corey Perry
Anaheim Ducks

Credentials: He 24 goals and 75 penalty minutes in his first 47 games. Perry has excelled this year, easily filling the scoring gap that Selanne left. He and Getlzaf are a remarkably solid duo at both ends of the ice. Make no mistake about it, Perry will be one of the leagues dominant power forwards for years to come.


Brian Rafalski
Detroit Red Wings

Credentials: He really is a victim of circumstance here. With teammates Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Lidstrom, and Chris Osgood all making the trip to Atlanta, it would be hard to justify sending a 5th Red Wing to the big dance. None the less, he has posted All-Star numbers, as he is trailing only teammate Niklas Lidstrom for the lead in points by a d-man, and has been as solid as usual in his own end. So he really is a no-brainer for this squad!!!

Marek Zidlicky

Nashville Predators

Credentials: While Rafalski is on this team as a victim of circumstance, Zidlicky makes it by being in the right place at the right time. Last season Kimo Timonen left the Predators, and then early this season, heir apparent with the man advantage, Shea Weber, went down with an injury, enter Mr. Zidlicky. While the Predators have had their struggles this season, Zidlicky has done very well quarterbacking their powerplay, and so he gets to be surprising starter for the No-Star Team.


Pascal LeClaire
Columbus Blue Jackets

Credentials: This man is EASILY the biggest snub for either All-Star Team. Back when Troy and I tried to predict the All-Star team, I had this man as my starting goalie (mind you that was before Luongo went on his huge tear). He currently leads the league with 7 Shut Outs, and his .927 Save Percentage is better than any goalie playing that got the call. Two thumbs down for messing up on this one.

And now for the warriors from the bench...


Daniel Sedin
(Vancouver Canucks) - Daniel must feel a little left out, as his twin brother Henrik got the invitation, but he didn't, despite posting similar numbers, so I'll gladly take the prodigal son for my team!

Brad Boyes (St. Louis Blues) - It was a tough call between Boyes and his linemate, Paul Kariya, to represent St. Louis on this team, but I decided to go with Boyes, as a feel good pick. After being shipped from Toronto, to San Jose, to Boston, he appears to have finally found a home in St. Louis as he is currently on pace to break the 40 goal plateau for the first time in his career.

Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) - The surprising leader in rookie scoring gets the nod here. I understand the league not picking him for their team, as they need to give a bit of prestige to the usually dull Young Stars Game, but I would love to see what the 19 year old phenom could do with the quality linemates that he would get in this game.

Patrick Sharp (Chicago Blackhawks) - Raise your hand if you know that Patrick Sharp has more goals than Sydney Crosby. Now keep it raised if you expected that to happen. Everyone with your hand up, you are a filthy liar. Sharp has been one of the most surprising success stories of the season as the 3rd year winger has already set a career high in goals, and has played no small part in the rejuvenation of the Blackhawk franchise.

Ales Hemsky (Edmonton Oilers) - If it wasn't for a pesky injury, Hemsky could very well have his team lead in points, and be playing in Atlanta right now. He has played very well, and his smooth skating and passing mesh so well with Horcoff's heart and grind game.

Daymond Langkow (Calgary Flames) - Langkow has had a fantastic year playing with Huselius and Iginla, as he even lead the league in goals for a while at the start of the season. He has always been a solid hard-working player who I really didn't think could make it as a number one centre, but I guess I was wrong on this one.

Dustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings) - He joins Corey Perry in the "Future Dominant Power Forwards to Play in California" Club. He is on pace for 40 goals and can throw a big hit when needed.

Marek Svatos (Colorado Avalanche) - He is on pace for 38 goals and 4 assists. Now I don't want to bother looking threw the plethora of statistics, but I don't know if there has ever been a player with such a lop-sided goals-to-assists ratio. While he needs to work on his ability to move the puck, he must be doing something right to be able to score so well.

Brendan Morrow (Dallas Stars) - He joins his teammate Mike Riberio in the list of Stars forwards that were somehow omitted. Before the line up was announced I was convinced that one of them would make it, but I am shocked to see neither of them make the cut. After a nasty wrist injury limited his play last season, he has bounced back with a solid campaign thus far, and not coincidentally, his team is surging as well.


Lubomir Visnovsky (Los Angeles Kings) - I had started a write up to make him one of my starters, but I just couldn't ignore Visnovsky's brutal -14, and Zidlicky's great success story. Despite his defensive liability, Visnovsky has done well as a power play quarterback, yet again, as he is near the top of the league in scoring from the blue line.

Ron Hainsey (Columbus Blue Jackets) - Like many players in Columbus, Hainsey has been quietly successful all season. He has done wonders for Columbus's powerplay, and is a solid +6 on a team where most players are in the minus ranges.

Brent Burns (Minnesota Wild) - Has done well in making the adjustment from Right Wing to Defenseman, a very rare and impressive feat. Much like Hainsey, he has been solid at both ends of the rink, and been by and large unheralded for his successes. Don't worry boys, I noticed!!!

Craig Rivet (San Jose Sharks) - He is my "Yanic Perault" selection. His 12th season is on pace to be his most prolific, as he has succeeded in leading the Sharks powerplay where Carle has failed. And to be honest, I need a Shark on this team, and I couldn't justify putting the disappointing Marleau or Mihalek on my roster, so here we are.


Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix Coyotes) - After Bryzgalov's clutch, and seemingly forgotten, performance in leading the then Mighty Ducks to the Conference finals in 2006, I was convinced that the Ducks would ship out Gigure and put their faith this guy, as he had starter written all over him. One of the biggest surprises this year was watching Bryzgalov go through waivers and land in Phoenix. I am simply shocked that no other team could have offered the Ducks something for this guy. Even a late round draft pick would have enabled Pittsburgh, Atlanta, or Tampa to not have to worry about their goaltending woes for a very long time.

Mathieu Garon (Edmonton Oilers) - Another last minute addition, as I just deleted J.S. Gigure from the list. While this may seem like a bad decision on my part, Garon has a better save percentage, an equal goals against average, and more shut outs than his California Counterpart. Also keeping in mind that Garon has played less games, and well...he plays for Edmonton, a team that currently sits 13th in the Conference.

So there is the Wild Wild Western No-Star team, as usual there are a number of players that missed this cut including, John-Micheal Liles, J.S. Gigure, Paul Kariya, Alexander Frolov, Martin Erat, and Piere-Marc Bouchard, among others.

Now I wonder which player from this team that the NHL will take for their team when a player goes down....

Until next time,


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