It's that time of year again—All-Star Weekend!
This year's festivities, held in Ottawa, feature some of the biggest names in the league, such as Steven Stamkos and Evgeni Malkin. However, many of the league's premier players are not attending due to injury.
The following slideshow presents, in my opinion, the four biggest losses due to injury for the All-Star Weekend.
With 14 goals and 13 assists in 35 games, it's surprising that Jeff Skinner was not one of the faces in the All-Star greenroom last night. Skinner is the leading scorer for the Carolina Hurricanes, and he is tied for second in points on his team, even with a shortened season due to concussion.
Skinner was on injured reserve for the majority of All-Star voting, and no one knew when he would be back playing again until a few hours before the game against the Washington Capitals on January 15th.
Jeff Skinner is the youngest person to ever play in an All-Star game in any big four North American sport. He played last year as an injury replacement at the age of 18 years and 259 days.
As the incumbent Calder Trophy winner, as last year's top rookie, and the leading scorer for the Hurricanes, it is only logical to assume that had he not been sitting out with a concussion, Skinner would have been representing the Hurricanes in the All-Star game.
Even with a season shortened due to a separated shoulder, RNH has the most points among rookies, and he is in a three-way tie for most goals.
However, RNH only appeared on the rookie roster for the All-Star game. Brendan Shanahan and the league stated that he would have been a starter had he been healthy, but the league did not want to have to look for a last minute replacement. He only appeared on the rookie roster because that slot is a lot easier to fill than a regular slot, according to the league.
Nugnet-Hopkins would also have been the only rookie playing the the game on Sunday because he would have been a regular All-Star without injury, not just a rookie.
While RNH is still recovering, his speed and play-making ability will surely be missed in the Skills Competition Saturday and the actual game on Sunday.
Joanthan Toews currently leads the Chicago Blackhawks in scoring, and is tied for second in the league in goals. He has registered 27 goals, and 23 assists in 49 contests with the Blackhawks this season.
If it were not for the undisclosed upper body injury he suffered last week, Toews would be playing in this week's All-Star game.
The former Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP in the Blackhawks' cup win in 2010 is also the youngest player in history to become a member of the prestigious Triple-Gold Club (Olympic Gold Medal, Stanley Cup, World Championship).
Toews is one of the best shootout players in the league with a record of 14 goals in 26 attempts, or a 53.8% goal percentage. This would make him perfect for the Elimination Shootout Challenge.
The All-Star game this week will miss out on his impressive playmaking-ability, something all Blackhawks fans know about, and his knack for scoring when it counts.
Sidney Crosby- 'Nuff Said.