Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Will Former Sens Headline All Star Selections Tomorrow?
Tomorrow is D-Day for the 2012 All Star Game selections. There will be a lot of nervous millionaires tonight, who may tell you it doesn't mean that much to them, but in reality they all want to be selected. Who wouldn't right? For a lot of them it means a bonus in their contract, but more so it's the prestige of being recognized as being one of the best in your profession.
While it won't be a Project Mayhem situation like some of our Provincial neighbors wanted, there should be a bevy of former Sens included when the announcement is made tomorrow. Some expected and one shocker, but that's what makes sports great isn't it.
First up is an easy one. Zdeno Chara patrolled the Sens blueline and was a beast in the NHL, until we decided to chose Wade Redden over him in free agency for some inexplicable reason. Since then he's been named to 5 all star teams and won the Norris and is a lock to be named to his 6th all star team tomorrow. He ranks 7th in defenceman scoring and is 2nd in the league in +/- with a +27. Wade Redden is in the AHL. Thanks Muckler.
Next up is former Sen Marian Hossa, who now plays for the Chicago Blackhawks. The right winger was a fan favorite here during his 6 seasons as a Sen until he was shipped to the ATL for Dany Heatley after a contract dispute. Hossa is an all around player and is currently 7th overall in points with 45 and 6th overall in +/- with a +23. With those impressive numbers and the Hawks tearing up the league, Hossa will also be a lock to named tomorrow.
And here comes the one that NO ONE would have predicted heading into the year. I am of course talking about the one and only Brian Elliott. Has there ever been a less likely all star candidate? Heading into the offseason, I thought his career as an NHLer was done. He was so inconsistent that I thought maybe the KHL or Europe, but the NHL was dead to him.
Instead, he comes out on fire and is 2nd in the league in save %, GAA and shutouts, with an incredible 5 in 21 starts. Add in 15 wins, which is a 71.4% winning percentage and I don't see how he can be excluded from the game. How weird will it be to see the much maligned Brian Elliott back at SBP, but in an ALL STAR UNIFORM!
I more than anyone was always hard on him. I just never thought he was good. Hell I still don't. To me it's just a lucky hot streak that he has shown he's capable of, but the numbers don't lie and Elliott deserves to make the team based on his first half performance. I can't believe I just made the case on why Brian Elliott should be on the all star team. Things I was sure I'd never have to do.
There's a few other possibilities of former Sens or guys from the Ottawa area/ties to the area, but most are far from a lock and it depends how things shake down. There are players like Dany Heatley, Vinny Prospal, Danny Briere and Logan Cotoure, who have outside shots but are unlikely to make it. The other 2 with ties to the area that will make it will be former 67 Brian Campbell and former Olympique Claude Giroux.
We won't know until tomorrow who officially makes it, but one thing is for sure, the game will have a huge Ottawa flavor with the 4 starters plus former Sens and guys who have an Ottawa history. It should make for an interesting weekend, just don't get too attached to a Brian Elliott all star jersey.