Hey, the NHL All-Star Game is back this season. That's neat if you like the All-Star Game.
It'll be held in February in Columbus, and it's the same format we're familiar with over the last few NHL All-Star Games: two teams will be selected from the big pool of All-Stars by two league-designated captains in a Friday night draft. The teams will then compete in a skills competition on Saturday and the game on Sunday.
Most players will be selected by the NHL, but six players will be selected via fan vote. That vote began Thursday and will run until January 1, when we're guessing the six top vote-getters -- three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender -- will be announced at the Winter Classic.
The host team always gets one of the captains. In 2011 in Carolina, Eric Staal was captain of Team Staal. In 2012 in Ottawa, Daniel Alfredsson was captain of Team Alfredsson. There was no game in 2013 or 2014.
I would bet so much dang money that CBJ fans will vote in Scott Hartnell and he'll be the captain of one team in 2015. The only other options are Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Johansen, or maybe Sergei Bobrovsky, but come on -- you know it'll be Hartnell. The NHL just won't pass up naming a character like that as captain, especially since Bob barely speaks English, Johansen just went through a disgusting contract mess with CBJ, and Dubinsky's personality is as dry as cardboard.
So this means one of two things: either we can be negative and get pissed off that this ASG will be the Hartsy Show, or we can embrace it and just make sure that Hartnell's team gets loaded up with his best friends, all members of the Flyers.
Here's how you should vote:
This works in a few different ways:
- If you send Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds to Columbus, what are the chances that Hartnell -- if named captain -- passes up on drafting them? They're literally his best friends, and they're also great hockey players. That gives us a clear team to root for on All-Star Weekend.
- Jake, G and Simmer are probably the only three Flyers worthy of even a hint of All-Star consideration this year. Maybe Mark Streit too, but chances he actually makes the team are basically slim to none.
- The Flyers are pretty mediocre otherwise, and since the NHL doesn't let you vote for Kimmo Timonen, Chris Pronger and Ron Hextall on this ballot, make a protest by leaving those spots blank.
So go ahead. Vote Giroux, Voracek and Simmonds. You can vote 10 times per day. NHL.com/vote.