They’re the “most hated,” but they have the second-highest number of players attending the 2012 NHL All-Star game after the hometown Ottawa Senators. Alex Edler, Cody Hodgson and Henrik and Daniel Sedin will get a chance to waste away a weekend and soak up some attention while representing the Vancouver Canucks.
After the fan balloting, Daniel was 19th, Henrik was 21st and Ryan Kesler was 23rd out of the 50 forwards voted for. Edler was 15th overall out of 30 defensemen and Roberto Luongo was 10th out of 20 goaltenders. The choices made by the NHL after the fans voted of which Canucks players to include might seem surprising, but they made the right choices which should benefit all of the Canucks’ nominees.
Despite Ryan Kesler’s breakthrough season last year and his attendance in the 2011 All-Star game, he is not being sent to Ottawa this January. Maybe it is the fact that with his injury earlier in the season he has been held to 12 goals and 19 points. Maybe it is because teammates like Alex Burrows have been more consistent and productive this season than Kesler. Nevertheless, Kesler should find the break and the rest beneficial. He had surgery in July to repair the labrum in his left hip and, after weeks of recovery, has only been playing games for around three months. Perhaps this break will lead him to continue to play up to everyone’s high expectations.
It seems like as if there is no such thing as too much rest for Roberto Luongo, and if he had been chosen to attend, a trip to the All-Star game may have served as a distraction for him. He has been playing some of his best hockey lately, but this break should do the same for Luongo as it will for Kesler; more mentally than physically.
For Edler and Hodgson, this will be their first NHL All-Star game, and a chance for them to stop being overlooked. Their invitation could be seen as a recognition of their good play by the NHL, as they are quiet players who do not say much.
“It’s obviously an honor,” Edler told Canucks.com. “There’s some big players that have been there and I’m very honored. You always watch the guys that have been going there and obviously it’s a dream.”
Edler is third for points among both his team and defense in the NHL with 32. He has been consistent in his play and point production over the past few years and has served as one of the Canucks’ best defensemen during a time when injuries plagued the team. At the All-Star game, he will be joined by star defensemen such as Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara. Hodgson is honored to be attending this event as well.
“It’s a real honor. There’s a lot of good rookies in the league this year and I’m happy to be selected to go to the All-Star game,” he told Canucks.com. “I appreciate it. It’s a good group of guys here, they always make me feel comfortable and they’re the reason that I’m going.”
As one of 12 rookies selected to go, Hodgson will take part in the skills competition. So far, in his first full season with the Canucks, Hodgson has 25 points, 10 of which are goals. He has been fantastic on the road and has wowed hockey fans in the shootout. His quiet and humble demeanor made it so that he was barely recognized during the first bit of the season, but his play has been enough to prove his worth.
Henrik will be attending his third All-Star game and Daniel his second. The reason for their participation should not have to be explained. They are currently at the top of the scoring race, as they have been for a few months now, with 52 and 49 points respectively.
“It’s a privilege,” Daniel told the Province. “Go and have some fun for two days and it’s a good experience. It’s fun for the fans, but for the players it doesn’t really matter because we’re just happy to be there.”
“It means a lot,” Henrik also mentioned. “It’s one of those things that you’re going to look back on when you’re done playing that you’ve been in one or a few. It’s something you can tell your grandkids.”
The NHL All-Star events are nothing more than a chance for good players to get together and fool around on the ice and, as Daniel mentioned, it’s for the fans. Even so, it is no doubt an honor to be chosen to attend and, the four stars for the Canucks are sure to take something out of the experience.