I know that the players for next week's NHL All-Star Game held at the Bell Center in Montreal have been selected by the fans and coaches. But, I thought it would be fun to choose my own team(s) if given the opportunity.
Today, in the first of two-part series, we'll look at my Eastern Conference selections.
Please forgive me if some of my choices are at times, as clear as, the nose on your face.
Between the pipes, the Boston goaltending tandem of Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez should get the bulk of the ice time. Both Bruins have been stellar in goal so far, ranking second and third in the NHL in goals against average.
For the third period, I think Scott Clemmensen of the New Jersey Devils should get the call. He has been glue for the team ever since star netminder Martin Brodeur injured his elbow back in November. Clemmensen has 17 wins in 28 starts for the Devils.
On the East blue line, the six deserving players are as follows: Mike Green (Washington Capitals), Zdeno Chara (Boston), Jay Bouwmeester (Florida), Mark Streit (N.Y Islanders), and Andrei Markov (Montreal).
These players were selected for what they bring to the table offensively, because it is after all, an All-Star game.
All six are in the top 20 in defenseman scoring. My apologies to Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman, who is currently tied for 10th in backline scoring with 29 points. He is having a tremendous season in Beantown, often overshadowed by the behemoth he shares power play time with (Chara).
The East forwards blessed with both speed and skill were given top billing on my All-Star list. In no particular order, here are my top Eastern representatives up front.
Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin (Washington Captals), Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins), Jeff Carter (Phildelphia Flyers), Alexei Kovalev (Montreal), Mark Savard and David Krejci (Boston Bruins), and Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta Thrashers).
I'm sure my selections of the Special K's, Kovalev and Krejci, probably caused you to raise an eyebrow. But, as far as pure puck skill goes, these two are worth the astronomical All-Star ticket price.
Also, everybody should have a favorite All-Star and for me it's Alexei Kovalev. He's awesome. He should get the loudest ovation from the Hab faithful next weekend during the Skills Competition and All-Star Game.
If I chose a fourth line, it would be the pint-size trio of Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning), Zach Parise (New Jersey), as well as, Bryan Little (Atlanta Thrashers)
Tomorrow, we'll go and choose the All-Stars from the Western Conference.