NHL All-Star Game 2011: Power Ranking the Potential Captains
The National Hockey League has announced that 100 players comprised from all 30 NHL clubs are on a ballot to be voted on by the fans.
The fans will have the chance to select the starters for the All-Star game to be hosted by the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina on the last weekend in January 2011.
On the ballot, fans will vote for their top six All-Stars by position regardless of which conference they play. Fans will also have the ability to write-in a player of their choice.
This is the first time in many years that the NHL has changed the Eastern Conference vs. the Western Conference set-up for the All-Star game.
In 2009, the Montreal Canadiens hosted the All-Star game in conjunction with celebrating their 100 year anniversary. Joe Thornton and Alex Kovalev were named Captains of their respected conference.
This time around, after each of the two squads starting 6 players are voted on by the fans, the NHL Hockey Operations Department will fill out both squads with the remaining 36 players for a total of 42 players.
At this time two Captains will be determined.
Let's Power Rank the potential Captains...
All-Star Ballot Facts
If the NHL was a fleet of 30 boats, they'd need 30 Captains to help navigate each of these boats through rough waters and times of smooth sailing.
It takes more than a good Captain to navigate, so each team has a set of alternate Captains that act in their place when the Captain is not on the ice.
Captains and Alternates are designated with a three inch letter stitched to their jersey either a "C" for Captain and "A" for Alternate.
This is not to be confused with "A" meaning Assistant Captain, there are no assistant captains in the NHL.
One club, the Atlanta Thrashers currently do not have a Captain.
They have three alternate captains in Nik Antropov, Johnny Oduya and Andrew Ladd. None of these players names appear on the NHL All-Star game ballot for selection by the fans as a starter.
21 players who are currently Captains for their respected clubs are listed on the ballot.
Other than the fore mentioned Atlanta Thrashers, the Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues do not have their Captain listed on the ballot of 100 players for voting as a potential starter.
27 players who are currently Alternate Captains for their respected clubs are listed on the ballot.
Along with Atlanta, the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues do not have a Captain or Alternate Captain represented on the All-Star starters ballot.
That's a lot of potential All-Star game Captains, but does the NHL All-Star game need a currently serving team Captain to be Captain of an All-Star squad?
Remember that this is a fans ballot and you can certain write in your favorite player, or favorite Captain who may not be on the ballot.
Also consider that the NHL Hockey Operations Department will name another 36 players to the All-Star weekend that could very well be represented by this ballot and some of those that are not.
Out of these 42 players only two will have the honor to serve as Captain.
Remember to log onto www.nhl.com and vote!
Sleeprs To Be Named All-Star Game Captain
These players might be long shots to serve as Captains for the 2011 All-Star game, but they are truly great leaders of there teams. I call them Sleeper picks.
Who knows, one of these might just be a Captain.
Dustin Brown Los Angeles Kings— One of the up and coming Captains on one of the one and coming teams, Brown has a big part in the surging Kings and is also one of the leagues younger Captians. With Alternate Captains Matt Greene and Anze Kopitar, they form a great trio to lead the Kings into the future.
Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim Ducks— Just down the street from Brown is Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks Captain has been intrumental in the clubs recent play and is one of the teams cornerstones. Has veterans Teemu Selanne and former Montreal Canadien Captain Saku Kiovu as Alternates. Getzlaf is in good hands.
Jarome Iginla Calgary Flames— One of the longer serving and most respected Captains in the NHL, Iginla could very well be a darkhorse choice for All-Star game Captain.
Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins— Chara is another one of the well respected Captains in the NHL that. like Iginla have the ability to be selected as one of the Captains come All-Star weekend. He is the face of the Boston Bruins and will remain a Bruins for another seven seasons after extending his contract this past October.
Mikko Koivu Minnesota Wild— Not much credit is given to Mikko Koivu but he is the Wild's first Captain and rightly deserving of that honor. Koivu leads on the ice with his excellent two-way play and has a great core in Alternates Andrew Brunette and Nick Schultz.
Deserving Players To Be Named All-Star Captain
These players have the ability to lead just about any team in the NHL and why not an All-Star game?
The chance that these players have a slim, but they are a group of players who are highly respected by their teammates and other teams across the NHL.
These players are also synonymous with the organization they play for.
Rick Nash Columbus Blue Jackets— One of the few good jobs former Jackets GM Doug MacLean did while running the Jackets was selecting Rick Nash. One of the hardest working Captains. Rick has teammate RJ Umberger as one of his alternate Captains and former Edmonton Oliers Captain Ethan Moreau as the other.
Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators— Another long tenured Captain, Alfredsson would be an excellent choice to be one of the Captains come All-Star weekend. Alfredsson gets help from Chris Phillips and Mr. Carrie Underwood (Mike Fisher) in Ottawa. One of the Leagues best leaders.
Shane Doan Phoenix Coyotes— There isn't much to say about Doan that isn't already known. A feisty competitor that plays on the edge, Doan along with Alfredsson in Ottawa are in a group of long serving Captains.
Brenden Morrow Dallas Stars— When Morrow married Guy Carbonneau's daughter he instantly got a first hand resource on being a Captain 101. Morrow is the heart and soul of a Dallas Franchise that is in transition both on and off the ice. Replacing Mike Modano as Captain in Big D is no easy feat.
Vincent Lecavalier Tampa Bay Lightning— Due to injury, Vinny likely will not be available for this years All-Star game, heck make him an assistant coach! Leader of a great group of players including a young Steve Stamkos.
Best Chance To Be Named All-Star Captain
The plot thickens!
Best Chance to Captain one of the two All-Star Squads this January. Look no further that Carolina's own Eric Staal.
Hang on a minute, he is in tough with this crowd.
Mike Richards Philadelphia Flyers— One of the most diverse Captains in the NHL, Richards is a classic and fulfills the Phily requirement for a Captain. With support from Chris Pronger, Jeff Carter and under rated Kimmo Timonen, the Flyers have five players on the starters ballot.
Eric Staal Carolina Hurricanes— Nothing better that having the All-Star game right in your own barn. Eric is quietly becoming one of the best Captains in the NHL. When yo have Ron Francis to talk to every game that doesn't hurt either. Leading a team that is in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference, Staal shows his leadership skills on the ice with every shift. One of the reasons that the 'Canes have bounced back from last seasons horrible start.
Henrik Sedin Vancouver Canucks— For those who don't get to see games from the west coast often, Henrik Sedin is another player who has stepped into the Captains roles and done a wonderful job to date. (Another would be Montreal Canadien Captain Brian Gionta). Playing in a pressure fulled environment, the Canucks are expected to contend this season and a confident Sedin will only help their cause.
Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks— Jumbo Joe was a Captain for the Western Conference in Montreal in 2009 and might find himself Captain again. Joe has the ability to be an effective Captain in such events like the All-Star game and his experience might place him into contention.
Most Likely To Be Named All-Star Captain
Is it too much to assume that players named Crosby and Ovechkin will automatically be named to the two Captains for All-Star week-end in late January 2011 in North Carolina?
Maybe, maybe not.
We've mentioned hometown boy Eric Staal as a candidate. We mentioned Mike Richards, Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara.
Is there anyone we forget!
Write me in the comment section on your take as to who you believe will be the two team Captains.
But before that, how about those who are Most Likely.
Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks— A prototypical Captain. Toews will continue his quest to be one of the best Captains in Blackhawks history. Another young face of the NHL. Toews could be a player who may be counted on for years to come should this All-Star format continue after this season.
Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings— Could this be the Hall of Fame defencemans last All-Star Game? If so, this would be one of the highest honors given to one of the games best.
Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals— A division rival a Captian? Could very well happen. Ovechkin is one of the flashest players in the NHL and proved that in 2009 in Montreal as his anticks during the skills competition set him above everyone else.
Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins— Winner of the Mark Messier Leadership award, Crosby has proven his leadership skills at both the NHL and world levels. A humble person, Crosby would respect the process of this All-Star format and likely select a winning team.
It's always nice to have the home side represented.
I remember the atmosphere in Montreal in 2009 when Alex Kovalev was named Captain of the Eastern Conference All-Stars. It was an amazing feeling in the building and the Kovalev didn't disappoint.
Former All-Star Captains Jarome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier (2008 in Atlanta) are contenders to return to the Captaincy in 2011.
Also consider that other players could be considered to be one of the Captains.
Alex Kovalev was not the Captain of the Montreal Canadiens, but did fill in from time to time in the previous season. in 2009 the Montreal Canadiens did not have a Captain.
Could Zetterberg or Datsyuk be a Captain?
Why not consider Marleau, St.Louis, Pronger or even Malkin as a Captain... it will be interesting to see.
I think Eric Staal and Sidney Crosby would make fine Captains.
Although this is a new concept this season, this All-Star game sure gives a reality show feel to it.
Remember to Vote for the Starters at NHL.com starting November 15, 2010
Good Luck to all...
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