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Ovechkin’s All-Star nod comes down to marketing, fan service

Jan 12, 2012, 8:53 PM EDT

58th NHL All-Star Game Portraits Getty Images

For many increasingly cynical hockey fans, pointing out All-Star Game snubs is possibly the most entertaining part of the entire process. (OK, the fantasy draft might have wrestled the championship belt away, though.)

Such critics must be having a field day with the fact that Alex Ovechkin made it into the group despite producing far below the formidable standards he set for himself. (Scoring 33 points in 41 games isn’t exactly a disaster, but yes, there were likely plenty of worthier candidates.)

The thing is, the counterargument is pretty simple: All-Star Games are essentially exhibitions for the fans and sponsors’ sake, so why not bring in the biggest draw the league has with Sidney Crosby on the shelf? Ovechkin’s teammates think that it’s a pretty simple decision, as the Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno reports.

“It’s important to have him there for the league because he draws so [many] fans,” Capitals forward Jason Chimera said. “The passion he has for the game, I think it’s a no-brainer.”

I cannot help but agree, even if it’s not the ideal scenario. Ovechkin shouldn’t be mad if Phil Kessel ends up laughing at him if he goes last in this year’s fantasy draft, though.

  1. danphipps01 - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Fanservice, eh, James? What, did the event programme this year include a strip show or something?

  2. farvefromover - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    it is funny that you think he could get drafted last…almost as funny as the amount of people that regularly read and respond to your crap

    • danphipps01 - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:32 PM

      Might want to brush up on reading comprehension there, chief. He’s not saying he will, merely that if he were to, it wouldn’t be unfair of Kessel to laugh about it given last year’s events.

      That having been said, Ovi’s amongst the least-productive offense-minded players in this game going by the numbers. There are a LOT of guys who seem much better at scoring, and since he doesn’t bring much else to the game (for instance, two-way play), well, he ain’t gonna go all that high. There are a lot of more productive forwards this season. Simple as that.

      • stakex - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM

        Its hard to argue that Ovechkin has been hot this year, but “one of the least productive offense-minded players in the game”? Thats quite a stretch, and not something I would say is reflected by the numbers.

        Ovechkin had a real stat killing stretch earlier this year in which he only had one goal and four assists in 12 games… which hurts the stats horribly. It should be noted that said stretch was not just bad for Ovechkin, but the Caps as a whole as the team went through a tough time that saw their coach fired. Take that out of the picture and he has 16 goals and 12 assists (28 points) in 29 games. He also has 9 goals and 5 assists in the 15 games since that stretch ended, which is very solid for anyone.

        Basicaly, stats can be used to say anything. The fact of the matter is, despite trouble finding the net this year, Ovechkin is still one of (if not the) best goal scorers in the league. Odds are he will still be one of the first 4 guys picked at the ASG since the guys that play against him know how dangerous he really is… even if the stats don’t show it this year.

      • danphipps01 - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM

        In THIS game. The All-Star game. Amongst the offense-first guys, he’s honestly not that dazzling. The fact that his defensive upside is nonexistant only further hurts his case when compared to some of the less-shooty guys on the list. Basically, there are a lot of players that look to be drafted ahead of him. He’s not really dazzling anyone with his play.

  3. zabala81 - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    Obviously, he and Crosby are still the most identifiable players in the NHL. NBA would do the same with lebron or Kobe

  4. icelovinbrotha215 - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Haha wow. That’s news.

  5. mianfr - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    Might as well bring him in. I mean, I think on the NBA ballots, they printed them with Shaq’s circle already punched out, so why not keep your stars in the game?

    Perhaps it’s just because it’s Alex Ovechkin, but it’s hard to say anyone was really “robbed” because of this. It’s a boring argument to make that so and so should have made it over the best player of the past five years because that player is having a rough stretch.

  6. xxshookonexx - Jan 13, 2012 at 6:37 AM

    I guess, whatever. Rather see a player who can shoot AND pass well.

  7. flyeredup2 - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    What a joke!! Just change the name to “Who is most popular game” and remove the notion of having a good season gets you to the ASG altogether.

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