It’s about time. There really was no good excuse for why Scott Hartnell wasn’t on this list in the first place. He leads the entire league in power play goals with 13 and is tied for 6th overall in goals with 25, just slightly behind superstars like Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and James Neal. Hartnell will be replacing Jonathan Toews at the All-Star game, who was injured during the Blackhawks game on Monday against the Nashville Predators. Hartnell has more than earned his spot on this list. He is on pace for having the best season of his career, as he is just 5 goals shy of his career high 30 goals in the 08-09 season. This will be his first appearance in an All-Star game and he will be joining Flyers’ teammates Claude Giroux, Kimmo Timonen, and rookies Matt Read and Sean Couturier.
Toews is the fourth player originally added to the list that will not participate in the event due to injury. Mikko Koivu has been replaced by Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle, Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been replaced by the Penguins’ Kris Letang, and Minnesota’s Nick Johnson will replace the # 1 draft pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the rookie roster. Obviously, Toews belongs on this list, but Hartnell deserves a spot regardless. Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson have been named as team captains and will be selecting players for their teams at the All-Star Draft which will take place on Thursday, January 26th at 5pm PST. The actual game will take place on Sunday at 1pm PST.
There is no official word about whether or not Alex Ovechkin will be allowed to participate in the events since receiving a three-game suspension yesterday for this hit on Penguins’ defenseman Zbynek Michalek in a game between the two teams on Sunday:
Update: Ovechkin has “opted out” of the All-Star events. According to Caps GM George McPhee, Ovechkin was allowed to participate but “because he’s a suspended player, he doesn’t feel he deserves to be there, so he’s not going to go.”
So who will replace Ovechkin???