January 29, 2012 the NHL all star game will be played in Ottawa. The 2012 all star ballot was released this week. Like any all star ballot, some quality players were left off. A lot of promising, young players were stiffed this year. For example, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle were left off, but aging teammate Ryan Smyth is on the ballot. As always many write in players will get the call to attend the new all star players draft. Mike Smith is off to a more than solid start with the Phoenix Coyotes, but was left off the ballot. Smith is becoming a great story in the desert and the NHL. Something tells me he will be a top write in candidate if he continues his strong play this season. Although Smith was left off the ballot, his teammates Shane Doan, Ray Whitney, and 2011 all star Keith Yandle were on the ballot.
At last year’s all star game in Carolina, the NHL experimented with a new format. Rather than split the teams in half by Conference or nationality, each team’s captain and assistant captains drafted their respective teams. This provided a highly entertaining draft show, and reminded everyone of how picking teams in a school yard can become awkward. Phil Kessel was the odd man out, and picked last. Not a bad player to have fall on your team’s lap. With Kessel’s hot start this season, I think he may be drafted higher this year in Ottawa.
I for one am a huge fan of this type of all star game. What is everyone’s thoughts on the new all star game format? Who are you picking for the game? Right now I have Shane Doan, John Tavares, and Alex Ovechkin as my forwards. My defense is Keith Yandle and Duncan Keith. My goaltender is Jonathan Quick.