Do the math.
Four teams of 11 players. Thirty different National Hockey League jerseys, each of which should be present at any league’s all-star game.
That means there are 14 extra spots, or 14 teams that can have two players at the game — and 16 that cannot.
Pittsburgh isn’t very good this year, and Sidney Crosby isn’t even the top Penguins scorer. So Crosby doesn’t make the all-star game ahead of teammates Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, and even though there is some typical outrage to be found in hockey’s Twitterverse, I would seriously doubt there is any of that inside the walls of Chez Crosby, where he’ll be online booking a warm weather vacation in the coming days.
Remember last season, when Crosby pulled out of Columbus’ all-star weekend just 24 hours after having played 23:06 in a game for Pittsburgh? When exactly was he injured, we wondered? In the shootout?
So let’s give Crosby a break this year. He’s earned it.
He’s a fixture in every international competition, and back in 2009 he showed up to schmooze his way through all-star weekend even though he pulled out of the game due to injury. The guy deserves some beach time, and noting that both Brent Burns and Leon Draisaitl (in seven less games) have more points than Sid this season, perhaps he could use the recharge.
Here are a few more loose thoughts on the all-star game:
I’m OK with it, because, A: I am an Albertan; and B: both Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano have become elite NHL players and deserve to go. But Western Canadian logos have traditionally done little for the TV ratings in a country where Rangers fans are spread across the map. Then again, why would I care about NBC’s ratings?
• Will the media types and fan voters who drove the bus on getting John Scott into the game be the same ones who make sport of him the moment the puck drops and he can’t keep up?
Those who exercised their right to get one of our favorite fourth-liners into this game had better have his back. Because Scott is a personable, well-liked NHLer who was thrust into this position by others. Let’s try not to make this any more painful than it already is.
“You know, I think they have to fix the voting (procedure),” goalie Henrik Lundqvist told the New York Post’s Larry Brooks. “It seems like it’s not working the way it should.
“John Scott is a funny guy, but…”
• Scott becomes the only Arizona Coyote in the all-star game, which begs the question: Does the fact that fans and certain media chose Scott for their cause directly deprive a Max Domi, Mikkel Boedker or Oliver Ekman-Larsson a chance to shine in a 3-on-3 game?
It does, but they’re not the only ones we are left to wonder about.
Brandon Saad is there. Or, at least, the Columbus jersey is there. Because Saad is the only semi-viable choice from a 30th place Columbus team that, as we said before, deserves to be included as a member club.
Same with Toronto’s Leo Komarov, another good guy who was listed Wednesday as the NHL’s 75th leading scorer. He’s having a good year — for Leo Komarov. This game, we predict, is the first and last time the four words “Leo” “Komarov” “all” and “star” have or will again appear in the same sentence.
• We like the fact the league included some dangerous duos, like Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, or Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. We’re not sure how Nashville defencemen Shea Weber and Roman Josi fit into that, but it shows you that the Predators are one of the rare NHL clubs with two No. 1 defencemen, while so many others do not even have one.
• Finally, the one group that has to bring their ‘A’ game to all-star weekend, no matter the format: The goalies.
You can’t play halfway in the nets at these games, and with this format, the scoring chances will be even more prime. To Roberto Luongo, Ben Bishop, Devan Dubnyk, Pekka Rinne, Braden Holtby, Cory Schneider, John Gibson and Jonathan Quick, we wish you luck.
You’re going to need it.