Kaptain Kovalev Named Eastern Conference Captain; Thornton Named West Captain

Matt Eichel@@mattyalloutSenior Writer IJanuary 22, 2009

If NHL fans are not already incensed enough, now they are going to be complaining about the recent decision to name Alex Kovalev the Eastern Conference's captain.

After being voted on by fans in the All-Star Voting Ballots, Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Kovalev is now the captain of the East All-Stars during the All-Star Game in Montreal this weekend.

Joe Thornton was named the West's captain.

Kovalev has worn the "C" for a good chunk of the season so far and has led the Canadiens as they struggled through injuries to captain Saku Koivu, Carey Price, and others.  The Canadiens remained in the middle of the Eastern Conferences playoff pack.

Yet, there is undoubtedly going to be controversy surrounding Kovalev as the captain.

Firstly, why is he the captain when Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, both rising stars in the NHL and leading scorers in the league, are both starters for the East?

Shouldn't Sid the Kid be the captain?  Isn't he also leading a squad, perhaps that isn't doing so well.  That point aside, he is a good leader.

Secondly, why are you giving the "C" to a player who isn't even in the top 50 in NHL scoring?  Every other forward on both All-Star lineups has more points than Kovalev, couldn't you have at least given it to the likes of Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara?

And finally, isn't this just some more hype to aid in the Montreal Canadiens Centennial celebrations?  Having a Canadien player as the captain for the All-Star team?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a diehard Habs fan, but isn't this going a little too far?  I think that the All-Star voting and picking scheme has gone far from haywire to more absurd. 

Kovalev is a great player, but he is definitely not the best in the game.  Possibly a good leader, but there are other players who could match up to him in leadership.

As with Thornton—dynamite pick.  I could not have asked for a better pick when it comes to the West.  With Nicklas Lidstrom out and a young Western lineup, Thornton was an easy pick for the West. His talent, experience, and ability to lead and not only by example make him the perfect captain, even if his own captain in San Jose Patrick Marleau is playing too.

Call me crazy, but I think that the NHL is going to the dogs when it comes to the All-Star shenanigans.

But then again, isn't the NHL just going crazy period?


Matt Eichel is the Community Leader for the Montreal Canadiens here on Bleacher Report.  Matt also co-hosts Habs All Out Radio, a in-depth talk radio show devoted to all things Montreal Canadiens.  It airs weekly at www.youcastr.com/shows/habs-all-out and is hosted by Matt and Miah D.