The 2011 NHL All-Star game festivities will be taking place next weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, and somehow the Oilers have managed to bribe somebody to allow them to send players to the least-purposeful game of the year. Ales Hemsky finally earned an All-Star nomination while hotshot rookies Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle were invited to participate in the skills competition. In what has become true Oilers fashion of late, however, two of the three All-Star nominees are injured. Jordan Eberle is currently out rehabbing an ankle injury while Ales Hemsky is paying for his fearlessness by scraping his brain off of the inside of his skull.
With Hemsky and Eberle in need of replacing, I’ve decided to look at some of the other potential candidates on the Oilers roster. Why yes, I am neglecting the fact that the NHL will likely choose replacements from star-studded teams like Vancouver or Philadelphia.
Nikolai Khabibulin – The ‘Bulin Wall was on the initial fan-voting ballot, but failed to make the starting line-up due to fans being unaware that players from teams other than Pittsburgh were eligible. It might have also been his stats, which see him hanging out at the bottom of the goalie rankings with such luminaries as Dan Ellis, Mike Smith, Chris Mason, and Rick DiPietro.
Ryan Jones’ Hair – Winger Ryan Jones has proved to be a superlative waiver pick-up from the Nashville Predators, but being a third-liner with a scoring touch isn’t enough to get an All-Star selection. Jones’ hair, on the other hand, is a first-ballot All-Star, and all players who end up on a breakaway will be required to wear a wig in it’s likeness. It’s just not a breakaway if luxurious locks aren’t flowing freely from underneath the helmet.
Theo Peckham – Theo Peckham has emerged as the best shut-down defenceman on the Oilers this season. The All-Star game is for pussies, however, and thus there’s no “bodycheck star players through the boards then laugh” competition, which is really the only category Peckham could compete in.
Linus Omark – Omark was considered for the rookie shootout competition, but the mere mention of his name caused Dan Ellis to go into convulsions and soil himself.
Ryan Whitney – While an ankle injury has put Ryan Whitney on the shelf for the remainder of the season, he deserved an All-Star nod prior to getting hurt. On the other hand, looking at the last defenceman the Oilers sent to the All-Star game, maybe Whitney being out for the season is preferable.