Earlier this week, the NHL named the remaining players to the Divisional All-Star teams, and with every All-Star roster there are the snubbed players. I personally picked out ten players who are not as deserving as the league assigned players, but I do not like to follow the same old boring NHL rules. First, I am not having a representative from every team. If a team sucks, players do not belong unless guys are absolutely tearing it up.
The All-Star game should be an honor given to you by the league for your efforts and the play of your team, so if Pittsburgh has five players in the All-Star game, then they have earned it. Second, I’m not naming this team just to sell All-Star sweaters, so sorry Jonathan Toews. Even JT admitted he’s not playing better than Artem Anisimov, Marian Hossa or Artemi Panarin, and I agree and appreciate JT’s honesty in the matter, for Captain Serious is also Captain Honest.
In the Atlantic Division, I only replaced two players with players whom I think are more deserving and are not faces to represent a sweater. Frans Nielsen from my beloved Red Wings is first out and Boston’s David Pastrnak is in by a landslide, and Pastrynk will be in many more games of this ilk due to his awesome skill set. The young Bruins right wing is second on the B’s in scoring with 19 goals, 31 points, and is +/- plus 14, only trailing All-Star Brad Marchand. Boston is in second place in the Atlantic while the Red Wings are in dead last, and Nielsen is third in scoring on the Red Wings with eight goals, 23 points, and +/- minus 10. There is no way he or any other Red Wing belongs in this game and that’s a fact. My second bounce out is Panthers center Vincent Trocheck. While he is having a decent year, his numbers are just marginal, and he's third on the Panthers in scoring. Mark Stone from Ottawa is his replacement, and he’s been one of the hotter players over the last 20 games and is playing much better than Trocheck.
In the mighty Metropolitan Division, I swapped out three players, including all-world talent John Tavares with his 11 goals and 27 points. In his place, I’m going with a player who has really earned the nod. Columbus forward Cam Atkinson is a no-brainer, as he's leading the NHL’s best team with 20 goals and 40 points. The second player to get the gate in this division is Taylor Hall with his nine whole goals and 25 points. Phil Kessel is more deserving of this All-Star spot than in any year of his career, yet the NHL and all its wisdom doesn’t seem to think so. Kessel is also third on his team in scoring, but he’s also seventh in the NHL in scoring with 13 goals and 41 points. Yes, Phil Kessel has 28 assists (that is not a typing error), and he belongs with his teammates Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in this game. Lastly, why in the wide wide world of sports is Zach Werenski not on the All-Star team and his running mate Seth Jones is? If Werenski wasn’t on the Columbus Blue Jackets, they would not have 60 points right now. That’s what kind of player he is. Seth Jones is really good, but this roster spot should go to the former Wolverine.
The Central Division also has three players going bye-bye in lieu of Polka’s Picks, and Jonathan Toews is not on my roster. I agree with his claim about Artemi Panarin, and he’s my replacement for Toews (look at the stats then argue with me). Next, Winnipeg Jets young center Mark Scheifele is in my All-Star game without a doubt. He leads the Jets in scoring and is one of the NHL’s future studs. Wait, he already is a stud. Out of the game now is Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon. Sorry Nate, your team stinks and your inability to consistently find the back of the net and bigger inability to defend you net has you enjoying a long weekend taking personal stock in your efforts on the ice. Finally, P.K. Subban, you are out cowboy. You haven’t played since December 15th and haven’t been all that great anyway. Just because the fans voted you Captain doesn’t make you safe from my chopping block. Dustin Byfuglien is your replacement. While just fifth on the Jets in scoring, fantasy wise, Big Buff is one of the best with his shots, hits and penalty minutes along with his scoring, making him a top four defenseman.
Finally, the defending All-Star Game Champion Pacific Division has only two players needing to be replaced, but a few Ducks were in my shotgun’s sights and I gave them a pass due to their efforts and their team's early-season success. Bo Horvat, you are bounced. While you lead your team in scoring and are one of the few bright spots in Vancouver, Leon Draisaitl is just playing much better on a better team. Leon has been the man Edmonton drafted fourth overall since this summer’s World Cup of Hockey. Second on the Oilers with 15 goals and 35 points, Draisaitl has just been a pleasure to watch this season. Lastly, Arizona goalie Mike Smith is out, and his replacement is Oilers netminder Cam Talbot. His name is all over the goalie leaderboard and not for all the good statistics. He is first in the NHL in Goals Against (95), Shots Against (1148), and Saves (1053). That means the team in front of him plays defense worse than a major junior team. Talbot is tied for fifth with three shutouts, and is also tops in minutes played at 2272. His workload alone earned him this Polka All-Star selection.
You can always reach me @PolkaPat