NHL

Two Pigeons: The 2018 NHL All-Stars

Welcome to Two Pigeons, where Logan and Joe from Puck Yeah Podcast look at what’s happening in the hockey world and set each other up for a few takes, because they can’t score on their own. Kakaw, kakaw!

First up: the 2018 NHL All-Stars. With the All-Star Weekend coming up later this month the rosters were announced earlier today.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

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Logan: Tampa Bay play hosts this year and they’re the hottest team in the league, it’s only fitting that four of their players feature here – it’s just scary that Kucherov, Stamkos, Hedman and Vasilevskiy are in the same team, never mind there’s also Tyler Johnson and Vladislav Namestnikov. But by having four elected, others have to miss out. Namely Mitch Marner. The Son of Marleau struggled early on in the season but his recent play shows how dangerous he is carrying the puck with confidence.

Also, is Carey Price there on name alone? Montreal are having a mediocre year backed up by equally average goaltending from their starter: 13-14-2 record, 2.89 GAA, .911 SV%, 1 shutout – the worst of the 2018 All-Star goalies. Tuukka Rask is more deserving, but the NHL needs someone from the Canadiens represented so that’s that.

Joe: First of all I want to say how much I hate this stupid every team must be represented bullshit. It’s lame and creates a “It’s not truely an All-Star but we had to be fair to the crap team” All-Star Game.

It’s true the Leafs were robbed, but not by Mitch Marner missing out, but by Morgan Rielly not being selected. Top 5 in d-man scoring, can skate like the wind, and gets beaten out by old man Mike Green. Get rid of Green and add one of the Wings young kids like Dylan Larkin or Anthony Mantha. Unfortunately, that would mean one of Tampa’s forwards miss out so that would never happen and we’re stuck with Green.

There’s nobody good on the Canadiens, even CP31 hasn’t been up to his best, but if they could, the NHL should have picked Marc Bergevin for the All-Star job he’s done at ruining this team.

METROPOLITAN DIVISION

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Logan: The Metro is so loaded with talent they should have to pay a luxury tax. Crosby, Ovechkin, Tavares, and Holtby are some of the best in the game over the past decade – with Lundqvist proving that age isn’t slowing him down either. The emergence of Josh Bailey as a late-bloomer is an inspiration and he’s only getting better. Scoring a career-best 13 goals and 43 assists last season, he’s already poised to surpass that with 12G, 38A at the halfway point of the 2017-18 season. I’ll be surprised if the Metro team don’t make it to the finals. My only question is this, where the bloody hell is Phil Kessel?

Joe: I think we both know the only person that would be upset if Phil Kessel was named to the team would be Phil. I think he’s pretty stoked he doesn’t have to go. But the real issue with this team is how Noah Hanifin got picked ahead of Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce or Justin Faulk?!

CENTRAL DIVISION

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Logan: It’s strange to see Tyler Seguin elected without Jamie Benn by his side – Seguin’s stats are only slightly better, scoring at a 0.93 points per game rate, while Benn is 0.91, they’re almost a packaged deal at this point and shouldn’t be separated. I’m a little surprised to see Brayden Schenn picked over Vladimir Tarasenko, again the numbers are almost identical but when I think of the St. Louis Blues the first player that comes to mind is always Tarasenko.

Finally P.K. Subban is getting the love he deserves after being taken for granted by the Montreal Canadiens front office. What happened to all those rumours about him being a toxic guy in the locker room? Seems like he’s doing just fine in Nashville.

Joe: Schenn to me only makes it because of Mark Scheifele’s injury – I’d even put Patrik Laine or Nikolaj Ehlers in over Schenn. And because this is an NHL event, how is there only one Blackhawk? Only Patrick Kane? Where’s Toews and Keith? I’d put Big Buff (Dustin Byfuglien) in over John Klingberg and have a skills game where you have stunt men skating across the middle with their heads down while defencemen crush them.

PACIFIC DIVISION

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Logan: Fleury! Fleury! Fleury! Going to the Vegas Golden Knights, many thought this was the beginning of the end for Marc-Andre Fleury where he could just kick back and enjoy the Vegas lifestyle – but that’s not how the Flower works. After losing his starting role with the Pittsburgh Penguins to young gun Matt Murray, he’s proving to everyone that he’s still got plenty in the tank to steal a few games with a 9-2-1 record, 1.73 GAA, .945 SV%, and 2 shutouts. The Golden Knights could have more players here, in particular Jonathan Marchessault or William Karlsson, instead the selection of James Neal feels more like a ‘one last time’ for the Real Deal.

I would argue that the Pacific Division All-Stars have the best blueline with Burns, Doughty, and Ekman-Larsson. All three are offensively gifted and could easily set up the likes of McDavid, Gaudreau, or rookie sensation Brock Boeser for a few highlight reel goals.

Also, young sniper Rickard Rakell is set to make his first NHL All-Star appearance, but I’ll leave the Ducks chat to Joe…

Joe: James “I Can’t Deal” Neal being selected annoys me. How former Ducks draft pick Wild Bill Karlsson didn’t make the team is a travesty! The other crime is OEL – he’s playing like he’s got a suit on under his gear, but gets selected over Clayton Keller, that’s rough. But hey, everyone’s got to play so I guess he’s got to make it and the fact he’s in the backend saves him too.

It’s about time Ricky Rakell gets some love! The East Coast bias fans and media will get the chance to see the unbelievable hands and skills he has. P.S. Cam Fowler was robbed…

(All photos sourced from NHL via Twitter).

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