This was predictable.
Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green are NHL All-Stars. Should the Capitals have had some more? Well, perhaps there is this one guy . . .
At one point this year it seemed like Alexander Semin was a no-brainer All-Star. Through November he was by far the MVP of the Capitals and it looked like in a contract year he was going to play motivated hockey. He was hitting, he was moving his feet and most importantly, he was lighting the lamp.
But then Bad Sasha showed up.
Semin has not scored a goal in 14 games, dating all the way back to Nov. 28 against Carolina. The game before that he registered one of his three hat tricks with three tallies as the Caps blew away the Lightning. Since then all he has is five assists to his name, all coming in games one at a time. He, remarkably, has a +/- ratio of zero in that time span with 25 penalty minutes including 15 from his game-misconduct debacle against the Avalanche at Verizon Center Dec. 11.
Yet, Semin does have 18 goals and 17 assists on the season to go along with +8 ratio. On the surface, those are decent numbers. Semin is sixth in the Eastern Conference in goals scored (15th in the entire NHL). Yet, everything after that ranks the Russian sniper well below the league leaders. He ranks in the top 40 in points, but just barely. Same with his +/- ratio.
Are they All-Star numbers?
Statistics aside, of course Ovechkin would be on the All-Star team. Unless he completely falls off a cliff in the next several seasons (which I don’t find all that unreasonable if he continues to care only half the time or when he has the puck), Ovie should be an All-Star for life. The way certain baseball players always seem to be at the Mid-Summer Classic even though they hit .238 in the first half of the season. An All-Star game without Ovie is just no fun.
Not that the game is very much fun anyway, but you get the point.
Green deserves to be an All-Star. He has been the Capitals best player since coming back from missing a several games in October with a shoulder injury. He has the pedigree and the star power to warrant an All-Star selection. He may not have the gaudy numbers that he is used to offensively but he has shown hustle and grit, especially in the last 10 games coming out of the eight-game losing streak. He has played well enough for a February trip to to the RBC Center in Raleigh.
Looking down the rest of the roster, no other Capital really sticks out for All-Star consideration. Michal Neuvirth may have had a case in October and early November but the East has five All-Star netminders in the contest (remember, the rule were changed this year to a pickup game format hence negating conference balance in the All-Star pool — should at least make it somewhat interesting for a period or so). Neuvirth does not, and would not even if he continued to play on a consistent basis, crack that group that includes Tim Thomas (Boston), Carey Price (Montreal), Marc Andre-Fleury (Pittsburgh), Cam Ward (Carolina) and Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers).
Brooks Laich, Mike Knuble and Eric Fehr are decent veterans but do not have the numbers. The kids — Marcus Johansson, Matthieu Perreault, John Carlson, Karl Alzner etc. — do not have the pedigree or the numbers (though you can imagine Carlson joining Green on a consistent basis in the future). Semyon Varlamov has not played enough.
It comes back to Sasha. Fringe All-Star at best. Deserved some merit during the choosing but fell short of the nomination.
What say you Caps fans? Sasha an All-Star? What about the Ovie and Greenie picks? Let us know in the comments.