Habs fans are very pleased with themselves these days. 6 players on the all-star ballot for the upcoming game in Montreal.
I recognise it is a great achievement for those players considering the recent editions of the ballot. But honestly, who makes these lists?
The NHL, for one thing, has chosen to put forward 10 goalies, 30 forwards and 12 defencemen from each conference.
For goalies that means two thirds of all NHL starters. Anyone who has to choose goalies in a pool would know that there are scarcely 8 all star worthy choices in the league. To be included in the top 20 is no achievement for Carey Price. Not when Lehtonen, Bryzgalov and DiPietro are all on there too.
And by the way, where's Tim Thomas?
The forwards too offer some slim pickings. 60 NHL forwards means an average of 2 per team. To be honest, given this is a league that still includes LA, Atlanta, Florida, Islanders, Phoenix, Toronto and Columbus, it's almost insulting to have a mere three. Though it's accurate to exclude Toronto and Florida forwards from all-star consideration, do 3 Rangers really deserve to be ahead of Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn? Does Trent Hunter?
Despite all that, my bone to pick is actually with the list of defencemen. How on earth did the NHL come up with the list they did in the East? Do the list makers even watch hockey?
First of all, why are Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney even on the ballot? They haven't played a game yet, and probably won't play much, if at all before the game.
Second, Teppo Numminen? Is this the class of the East – a 40-year-old best remembered as a Winnipeg Jet. If Gonchar and Whitney are in on the strength of making a final last spring, what's the excuse for Teppo. he played a single game this year. Buffalo's had a good start, but all-star defenceman?
Chris Phillips? Average last season, terrible to start this one.
Obviously the selection process was a bit out of whack with defencemen. Where, for example is someone from New Jersey. When we scrape the barrel with Numminen and Phillips, saying NJ relies on a team system is no excuse.
But really, thank goodness they stopped at 12 instead of the 20 the normal distribution would suggest. Goodness knows who they'd have come up with...
This NHL-generated list makes the cries for a fourth defenceman on the Habs even more comical. Komisarek is no all-star, but you could hardly argue him down lower than some of the other top 12 in the East (except by using Hamrlik, of course). It seems most teams in our conference would be thrilled to have one from Hamrlik, Markov and Komisarek, yet we bay for more.
If there's one thing this all-star ballot has made abundantly clear is that the Canadiens have top-notch personnel relative to the rest of the conference and indeed the league. The Canadiens defensive lapses must be corrected from within, not by adding another name brand player at the expense of futures.
As many votes as you like
Even though the games in Montreal this year, I'm not voting to get all six guys on as starters. Last year we enjoyed quite a nice surge after the all-star game where a single Hab was participating.
Vote them a break – vote Crosby...