The biggest news in hockey this week is, of course, the adjustments to the All-Star game starting in 2011. The short and short of it is that fantasy hockey will become a reality. Instead of the East vs. the West, the two captains (selected by the players) of the All-Star game will get to choose the rosters. They will pick from a pool of players selected by a combination of fans and the NHL Hockey Operations Department. Following the Fantasy Draft (yes, it's actually being called that), teams will pick 12 rookies picked by the NHL Hockey Operations Department for the SuperSkills competition. Important dates for the 2011 All-Star Game:
Fan balloting- November 15th-January 3rd
2011 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft- January 28th
SuperSkills Competition- January 29th
2011 NHL All-Star Game- January 30th
Whether or not this new format will actually improve the game remains to be seen but it is a creative concept and not a bad idea to take advantage of the popularity of fantasy sports. Give credit to the NHL/NHLPA for working hard to make these changes. Also, for those of you who have Twitter, be sure to take a look at @BizNasty2point0's selections for the All-Star fantasy lineup. Even if he chose Ron Hextall as one of the goalies (ick).
A quick injury update:
-T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues is out 3 months. He broke his left ankle in the third period of the Blues' game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. St. Louis has been one of the early surprising teams this year, currently second overall in the Western Conference. Losing one of their signature offensive stars in Oshie will be a chance for St. Louis to prove they're the real deal.
But with Jaroslav Halak as the second coming of Patrick Roy/Ken Dryden, anything is possible, right? I still have no idea what the Habs were thinking when they traded him.
-Vincent Lecavalier was hurt in last night's game against the Washington Capitals. He left the ice early in the first period with a broken right hand. Apparently the break is close to the knuckle of his right index finger. Lecavalier returned to the game in the second period and played the rest of the night. Head coach Guy Boucher has since stated that he does not know if the injury will require surgery or not. Lecavalier is expected to miss 3-4 weeks, so we won't be seeing him when the Lightning come to CEC tonight.
-As I tweeted yesterday, Pens fans have another reason to be grateful we're not Devils fans (besides the obvious). Click here to see Kovalchuk's epic fail in the shootout against Buffalo. I almost choked myself (pun totally intended) from laughing so hard when I saw this video for the first time. It wouldn't have been half as embarrassing if Kovalchuk wasn't being paid so much money. If you're getting paid $100 million, you better AT LEAST get that shot off.
(I also find it hilarious that Jhonas Enroth didn't seem to realize that the game was over after Kovy's gaffe.)
Once again, I feel the need to remind everyone that I'll be at tonight's game!!!! (And I'll likely post some pictures.) Hopefully the Penguins can get it together so Marianna can see a win at her first game! Go Pens!!!!!