The New York Islanders are sending two players to the All Star Game in Columbus, OH.
Jaroslav Halak has been named to the 2015 All Star roster pool joining team captain John Tavares. Halak replaces injured Detroit Red Wing Jimmy Howard who will be sidelined for 2-4 weeks with a groin tear. While this is a a boost to the New York Islanders’ already high profile, peace be with Howard while he recovers. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, out 3-5 weeks with a knee injury, will be replaced by Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Things keep coming up Milhouse for the Islanders this season. Tops in the East, two players (Tavares and Okposo) among the top-20 in league scoring, and rookie Anders Lee in the top-5 in goals for freshman players. The newly minted All Star goalie is in the top 5 for wins and shutouts and top-10 for GAA.
(If you want to get dirty, talk about Capuano for Jack Adams around the water cooler.)
A big drawback to sending a goalie to the All Star Game…those same injuries that allowed the Islanders and Penguins to send replacements. The All Star Game is not entirely a real game. Defensemen go but don’t defend. Their attendance is purely to win the hardest shot contest. Selke finalists, save for Patrice Bergeron, go but don’t backcheck. Oh, checking…AHAHAHAHAAHAHA. There’s no checking in an exhibition! The last guy to throw more than a kiss in the mid-year event was Wendel Clark. And people weren’t happy. Goalies are the only participants who cannot mail in their position. No defense means more busted hips, more shots to the body, more stretched muscles than one would want to count.
In reality the All Star Game is a place for the Stars to interact with little kids and big sponsors, between sessions of getting snothammered.
Any aforementioned injury could derail any run at the Stanley Cup (ohpleasenoohohpleasenoohpleasenopleaseno). Detroit and Nashville are two of the top teams in their conferences and are popular midseason choices to seriously challenge for the Cup. While systems will cover some of the damage done, hindsight cold point to these loss of these players are reasons they don’t/didn’t win the Cup.
For the goalies who do go and compete, does participation hurt the stretch run? History is a mixed bag. Since The 2000 All Star game in Toronto only 5 teams have won the Cup when their goalie has played a period of All Star hockey, and there have been 41 different goalies to play in that stretch. That means half the Games feature a Stanley Cup winner to-be, and a paltry 12.2% of all participant netminders. Additionally, no goalie has won a Cup and Olympic gold medal in the same year.
So in that light, appearing in an All Star Game does not impact the chances of winning a Stanley Cup. Or it’s a brutal blow to said chances. Or this math means really nothing and it creates its own story.
It’s great for the Islanders and great for Halak that he has been chosen as an All Star replacement, but the fear of injury looms. Here’s to Jaro playing the second period, because first period starters try hard and third period players try hard for a new car.