I know it’s just early November, but All-Star Game procedures are already well under way.
Here in the office, plans are in the works for THN’s all-star party in Montreal and in NHL circles, the 2008-09 XM/NHL All-Star Fan Ballot list has been released.
Voting doesn’t begin until Nov. 12, but here are my top 10 players (one goalie, two defensemen and two forwards from each conference) who shouldn’t be on the ballot.
10. Ilya Bryzgalov, G, Coyotes, Western Conference
• A decent tender, but not in the class of others on the list.
9. Brad Richards, C, Stars, West
• Third-line centers are not all-stars, so it’s either him or Mike Modano and Modano deserves a swan song.
8. Rod Brind’Amour, C, Hurricanes, Eastern Conference
• If there’s a faceoff competition, he’s in. Since there isn’t, he shouldn’t be. And he’s an astonishing minus-10.
7. Rob Blake, D, Sharks, West
• Blake is no longer an elite D-man and has some stiff competition in this category.
6. Kari Lehtonen, G, Thrashers, East
• He simply doesn’t have the pedigree, or the numbers.
5. Shawn Horcoff, C, Oilers, West
• Four goals and six points in 11 games are not all-star numbers.
4. Robyn Regehr, D, Flames, West
• The All-Star Game is not a place for shutdown guys, unless your name is Rod Langway or Scott Stevens.
3. Chris Phillips, D, Senators, East
• Just like Regehr, a shutdown guy does not an all-star make.
2. Teppo Numminen, D, Sabres, East
• The 40-year-old just doesn’t have the game anymore.
1. Trent Hunter, RW, Islanders, East
• This guy isn’t even the best right winger on the Islanders. The Islanders!
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
If you enjoy this feature, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine for the exclusive countdown, Starting From 10, and other great features from the world of hockey.