NHL All-Star Game Reserves: No Steve Mason, Nor Patrick Marleau?

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer IJanuary 10, 2009

In response to my most recent article about the starting lineups for the 08-09 NHL All-Star Game, I decided to write a follow-up dealing with the snubs of this year's game.

The reserves for both the Western Conference and Eastern Conference All-Stars were recently announced, and it is an absolute disgrace to see that neither Columbus Blue Jackets rookie goaltender Steve Mason nor San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau made the roster.

For those fans who haven't been paying much attention to San Jose the last couple seasons, (since their games are often played at 10 p.m. on the East Coast) you have missed a complete 180-degree turnaround in the play of their captain, Patrick Marleau.

Despite having a minuscule four fewer points than teammate Joe Thornton, Marleau actually had a better case for the all-star game. 

Being able to follow this team game in and game out living here in California, I have watched Marleau go from scapegoat to fan favorite in less than a season. 

The Sharks' captain is back to being one of the NHL's premiere forwards after having his worst statistical season of his career since becoming a formidable NHL forward. 

Marleau finished with only 48 points last season, and although he has finished with lower point totals over his career, in 2007-08 he finished with a career low -19 +/-. 

Much was made about Marleau's apparent scuffle with former head coach Ron Wilson, as the relationship between the two seemed to fizzle over the last couple seasons under Wilson's tenure.

However, new coach Todd McLellan has "changed things, forever" (borrowing a line from the summer blockbuster, The Dark Knight).

McLellan has the Sharks playing a new style that San Jose fans have never seen before, and the style has been a perfect match for their captain.  Marleau has already reached his total in goals from last season (19) and is only six points away from reaching his point total from last year as well.

Not only has Marleau been steadily picking up points, but he has also truly showed what it means to be a captain.

Every time the team seems to be struggling or falling off in their play, Marleau has been there to score the big goal or make the strong defensive play. 

He has been the man in San Jose this season, and it is even safe to say he has taken the spotlight back from Joe Thornton, who stole it from Marleau back in 2005.

How the San Jose captain wasn't selected to this year's All-Star Game is an atrocity.

Now, Patrick Marleau was a snub, but snubs happen in every sport's All-Star game, every year.  However, a key example of why the NHL's All-star voting system doesn't work is the fact that the Columbus Blue Jackets rookie sensation Steve Mason wasn't selected to the Western Conference roster.

The fans' selection of Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastian Giguere as the starter for the Western Conference directly effects the snub of Steve Mason.  Without a doubt, the Columbus goal-tender would be next in line to be on the West roster if Giguere wasn't named the starter.

It is absolutely ridiculous that both Giguere and Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo (who has been hurt for the past six weeks) have been credited with All-Star appearances and Mason left out.

Just for show, here are the stat lines for Giguere, Luongo and Mason:

Giguere: 11-9-4, .908 SV%, 2.99 GAA, 2 SO

Luongo: 11-5-2, .928%, 2.17 GAA, 5 SO

Mason: 13-9-1, .934%, 1.82 GAA, 5 SO

When it comes down to wins, save percentage, goals-against-average, and shutouts, neither Giguere nor Luongo have a stat category better than that of the rookie goaltender.

Please, somebody tell me why Mason wasn't selected to this year's All-Star game. If it weren't for the fact that Mason plays for the Blue Jackets, who clearly don't have the greatest defensive corps, Mason could potentially have even better statistics.

This is the reason why fans should not have as much power as they currently do when it comes to voting for the All-Star game.  The current system makes it so that a good amount of worthy players aren't selected.

A handful of those who read my article "NHL's All-Star Voting is a Joke" argued that fans only vote for the starters, meaning that those who deserve to make the all-star game will still be selected as reserves.

This statement has some truth to it, and yes most of the deserving players will still make it.

However, if players who don't deserve an appearance are voted as starters, they then knock off some of the deserving bubble players that deserve to be All-Stars.

Simply put, take a look at the goalies representing the Western Conference, if Wild goal-tender Niklas Backstrom is voted starter (a worthy/deserving all-star) then Giguere wouldn't be put on the roster, giving the next best deserving player (Mason) a roster spot on the Western Conference All-Star team.

Whichever way you look at it, the system needs to be changed.


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