Czechtacular and I are giving it another go. This year, we decided to change things up a little bit. We set some ground rules:
- Starting lineups only: 3 forwards, 2 defencemen, 1 goalie.
- No players that were named to the actual All-Star Game.
- And, since we are Habs fans, there has to be at least one short guy on the team.
- We will be drafting one coach each - but he'll be coaching the other person's team.
And here we go:
Team Czechtacular's first pick...Radim Vrbata, Phoenix Coyotes. Because he has 23 goals, which is fifth-best in the league, and his real All-Star invitation must've gotten lost in the mail but that's okay because mine is prettier.
Kudos to anyone who got the Count of Monte Cristo reference, which I doubt is anybody. But see? Pretty.
Team Rookie's first pick...
Saku Koivu, Anaheim Ducks. Big surprise there, eh? I was hoping he'd be named an All-Star so that I could go to Ottawa and see him again, and not cry.
Team Czechtacular's second pick...Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers. Because he's already used to letting a ton of goals in during regular games for the Flyers and having choice quotes about it after the game. But don't worry, on my team he'll definitely have a mic on for the whole experience just in case he wants to inform us more about blonde-girl huskies and/or solar systems.
Team Rookie's second pick...
Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames. Because Czechtacular took Bryz away from me, and that is humangas big not cool. Kipper is always great to watch, and I don't get to see him play often enough.
Team Czechtacular's third pick...
Matthew Lombardi, Toronto Maple Leafs. I know, I know. But I waited a whole season to have him back from that concussion and he's mainly here for my version of the Skills' Competition in which he'd zoom away with the Fastest Skater Award anyway, sooooo.
Team Rookie's third pick...
Mason Raymond, Vancouver Canucks. You want fast? Raymond is fast. You're losing that Fastest Skater competition, Team Czechtacular. Sorry. And my picking Raymond now is just a coincidence, because it's a known fact that I put him on my All-Star ballot every year.
Team Czechtacular's fourth pick...A Magically Healed and Ready for Action Dmitry Kulikov, Florida Panthers. There's nothing in the rules about not being able to stage our version of the All-Star Game in eight weeks, is there? Because like a lot of the Panthers this season, he's been flying under the radar with 24 points, tenth-most in the league among defensemen. Meanwhile, his D partner Brian Campbell gets to be a real All-Star as he spends his break and the next two months or so recovering from knee surgery. I cry foul.
Team Rookie's fourth pick...
Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks. He's the kind of guy you'd want on your All-Star team, representing your league. He'd probably be good for a point or two, and his stats this season are just as good as actual All-Star Ryan Suter's.
Team Czechtacular's fifth pick...Ladislav Smid, Edmonton Oilers. In my All-Star Game there are hits and blocked shots. Smid is among the league leaders in both categories. And if you're a regular watcher of Oil Change you'll know why he's the other logical choice to be mic'ed up for the weekend.
Team Rookie's fifth pick...
Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers. I never, ever thought I'd pick a Flyer, but I still sort of half-think of Simmonds as an L.A. King. He'd bring some grit and energy to the team, and if you watched 24/7 you'd know that he seems like a nice enough guy. He's maybe not as quotable as, say, Bryzgalov, but he'd get along well with his teammates and have fun with fans.
Team Czechtacular's sixth pick...David Desharnais, Montreal Canadiens. The little assist-machine (not too shabby at scoring goals against the Wings, either) that could, after getting a rough ride by many of the Habs' faithful for much of this season he's quietly emerging as a top-tier producer, so he's going to be my Tricolore representative this year.
Team Rookie's sixth pick...
Josh Gorges, Montreal Canadiens. Okay, so I coincidentally saved my Hab for last, too. His offensive skill will be an asset in the ASG. He'd have a great time. And, just in case this game goes to overtime and I need someone to score a game-winning goal, he's got it covered.
And now, for the coaches. How do you pick a coach for someone else's team, to play against you?
Czechtacular picks Team Rookie's coach...
Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks. Because moustache.
Rookie picks Team Czechtacular's coach...
Kirk Muller, Carolina Hurricanes. He might not have a moustache, but how could I not pick Kirk?
And that's our draft, ladies and gentlemen. No awkward cuts to the social media room, no confetti, no free cars. (Offers are welcome for car sponsorships for next year's draft.)