I've always been a little against the All-Star game. It's a great way for the league to promote its big name players. No doubt it's an honor to receive votes from fans and family for your appearance in the event, but it just always strikes me as very anti-climactic.
The best part about the event, in my opinion, is the skills challenge. The game itself is just always too high scoring and to, for lack of better terms, "friendly" for my liking.
But you see, that's the thing I find interesting about it. Hockey is a game of rivalries. It's a game that allows two opposing foes to drop gloves and draw blood all in the name of hockey. And yet, some of these guys are playing together.
Crosby doesn't exactly mesh with Mike Richards. In fact, I think it's safe to say the two of them hate one another dearly. I wouldn't be surprised if there was the typical "turn your back" approach to locker room banter between the two.
Ilya Kovalchuk doesn't exactly favor Crosby either. You may remember Sid's rookie year when Kovalchuk netted a hat trick and pointed to Sid in the penalty box to emphasize his thanks for Sid taking the unsportsmanlike call. To add to it even more, Kovi even said Sid was a diver, a point that even Don Cherry jumped on. In Cherry's defense (from this blog's perspective at least) he did say that Kovi acted out of line.
Timonen from the Flyers has had a few run ins with Sid. Nothing really out of the ordinary as far as typical game contact, but there is still some blood between the Pens and Flyers. In fact, the two teams face off on the 24th, just three days before the All-Star game. There is a possibility these two guys could go into the game despising one another at an even greater level.
Brierre has his place on the line too, but I've always liked the guy. As much as I despise the Flyers, Brierre was always cool in my book. Especially when in the last battle royale between the Pens and Flyers, Brierre allegedly felt bad taking the ice on the power play when the Flyers were up by four.
Sergei Gonchar was a write-in. The fact he wasn't even included on the list baffles me, considering he's fourth in points amongst defensemen this season.
Malkin was snubbed from the festivities, but I doubt he even cares. Similar to how I hardly care about the All-Star game as well.
Will I watch it? Yeah, most likely. But I also expect that similar to last year I will switch over to something else in between periods. I don't know, All-Star games of any sport just always have the same appeal to me as a Thanksgiving Day parade.
Regardless, here's the Eastern Conference roster for the All-Star game.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Rangers
Martin St. Louis
Tampa Bay Lightning
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders