Here’s an excerpt from my latest TribLive.com column. To read the entire piece, click HERE.
*Don’t get mad because Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang weren’t selected to the NHL All-Star event Feb. 5 in Las Vegas, even though Letang’s omission is crazy and excluding Crosby is like the NBA not picking LeBron James, which would never happen. But it’s likely accurate to say that Crosby and Letang would rather have the time off. All-Star events are useless to everybody but the host team and city, and players participating for the first time. Representing each team kills the concept of the best playing against the best, and three-on-three isn’t real hockey. (BTW, Jake Guentzel is deserving, and could make it via the schlocky “Last Man In” ballot.)
*Tristan Jarry is the lone Penguins representative. He might be the NHL’s best goaltender. He ranks third in both goals-against average (2.05) and save percentage (.929). No goalie is better at anticipating a cross-rink pass without selling out the short side. He’s at the top of his crease and controls rebounds. But Jarry still plays in the shadow of last season’s playoff debacle vs. the New York Islanders. There’s only one way for Jarry to redeem himself.
P.S. – Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Connor McDavid are the only players easily recognized by casual hockey fans. They should automatically be in the All-Star tournament. (Ovechkin and McDavid are.) Nobody ever turned on a TV to see Chris Kreider.
All-Star events are for the fans. Never mind “deserve,” or equal representation.