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Friday Roundup

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At noon today, the NHL will reveal its Eastern Conference All-Star reserves, and while one Cap is an absolute no-brainer, another is very much on the bubble.

Here, then, is the case for Mike Green:
  • He leads the NHL (tied) in goals by a defenseman with 11. In fact, of the six Eastern Conference defensemen ahead of him in scoring and not already headed to Atlanta (Andrei Markov and Zdeno Chara were voted in), he has more than twice as many goals as Wade Redden or Brian Campbell and more than Tomas Kaberle and Tobias Enstrom combined.
  • He's ninth among Eastern Conference defensemen in scoring (Mark Streit, you're a forward - you don't count) in the least amount of ice time per game and with the third-best shooting percentage of the nine.
  • He has twice as many overtime goals as any other defenseman in hockey.
  • He has a respectable plus-minus at minus-two, but is plus-six since Thanksgiving.
Alright, we can punch tickets for Campbell (perhaps as the only Sabre) and Sergei Gonchar, which leaves two open spots. Here are your prime candidates (sorry, Tomas - Mats Sundin is the only worthy Leaf):
  • Green (43 games played, 11 goals, 13 assists, 42 PIMs, -2, 99 SOG, 53 hits, 25 blocked shots, 53 giveaways, 41 takeaways)
  • Enstrom (44 GP, 3 G, 22 A, 26 PIM, +1, 54 SOG, 9 hits, 58 BkS, 32 GvA, 21 TkA)
  • Michal Rozsival (43 GP, 11 G, 16 A, 44 PIMs, -3, 67 SOG, 53 hits, 65 BkS, 32 GvA, 24 TkA)
  • Redden (41 GP, 5 G, 21 A, 36 PIMs, +12, 78 SOG, 43 hits, 57 BkS, 39 GvA, 10 TkA)
Frankly, if I had to bet, my money would be on Rozsival and Redden. Rozsival is a guy who's been around a while and is having a career year (the type of guy these games tend to reward - see, for example, Manny Legace), Redden has the reputation and both Green and Enstrom are easy snubs because they are relative unknowns both because of their ages and the markets in which they play (and they both have bright futures with plenty of All-Star opportunities ahead).

But since Turkey Day in the States, there have been few - if any - defensemen better than Mike Green, and if the League wants to reward a player who deserves to be there and can put on a show, they'd be wise to select number 52.
While we're on the topic of the All-Star rosters, could the Eastern Conference starters be a bigger collection of Alex Ovechkin/Cap killers? A quick look at each of the six as voted in by you, the fans:
  • Sidney Crosby (LW): Since entering the League, Sid's Pens are 9-1-0 against the Caps and Crosby has torched the Caps for 17 points in those 10 games.
  • Vincent Lecavalier (C): While it's true that AO has owned the Bolts (25 points in 21 games), Vinny has 31 points in 20 games against the Caps since the Great Eight entered the League.
  • Daniel Alfredsson (RW): For his career, Alfie had 50 points in 42 games against the Caps, but only 10 in nine games since the lockout. Alex has 18 points in 11 games against Ottawa.
  • Zdeno Chara (D): Z has eight points in seven games against the Caps over the past two-plus seasons, but he is a noted Ovechkin stopper. Against Chara's teams (Boston for this year and last, Ottawa in '05-'06), Ovie has only five points - and only two goals - in nine games. And when asked at last year's All-Star game who the toughest defenseman to play against was, AO didn't hesitate in naming a pair: Chara and...
  • Andrei Markov (D): His point totals aren't huge against the Caps (five points in ten games), but Alex's buddy has kept the sniper pretty well in check so far - AO has only four goals (but 11 points) in 10 career games against Montreal.
  • Martin Brodeur (G): Brodeur is 7-1 against the Caps since the beginning of the 2005-06 season and it was Brodeur's pissing and moaning that has prohibited #8 from wearing a badass mirrored visor in the NHL.
Ovechkin has only scored three goals in his career against each of the Devils and Bruins (Brodeur's and Chara's teams, respectively), and only four each against Markov's Canadiens and Crosby's Pens, and there's not another team in the Eastern Conference against whom he has scored fewer than six career goals. Hell, he had more goals in a game two weeks ago against Alfredsson's Sens as he has scored in his career against each of Boston and Jersey.

Sure, you might swap Jon Sim in there for Alfredsson, but other than that move, this year's Eastern Conference All-Star starters sure do look like a "who's who" of recent Cap killers and Ovie stoppers. Then again, these six have done a lot of damage around the League... which is probably why they're on this list in the first place.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Some reactions to yesterday's big contract extension (no, not the 'Hawks extending Brent Sopel three years) fromVogs, EMac, Tarik, Mirtle, Peerless, Tapeleg, CBL, The Globe and Mail, The Hockey News, CapsChick, Trollbez, CapsNut, (and keep checking back in the "What We're Reading" sidebar throughout the day for more reactions as they trickle in).... Am I the only one that wants to see Kamil Kreps marry Jonathan Toews and take his name? Yeah, you try telling everyone it's pronounced "Taves" then.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Scott Hartnell (3G, including the game-winner, +3, 4 SOG, 4 hits, 3 TkA, 0 GvA, 1 BkS)
  • Ross: Eight players tied with three points each
  • Norris: Mathieu Dandenault (2G, +2, 4 SOG)
  • Vezina: Ty Conklin (W, 34 saves on 35 shots against, and accolades over at Pen(i)sblog)
  • Richard: Scott Hartnell (3G)
  • Calder: Josh Harding (W, 26 saves on 27 shots against in 36:11 of relief in shootout win)
  • Aiken: Andrew Raycroft (L, 4 goals allowed on 11 shots against in just one period of work)