The more I read about it, the more I like the new All-Star format.
I think it's a great thing for the NHL to take the initiative amongst all the major league sports to recreate the All-Star experience for fans and players. In all leagues, the All-Star break has become somewhat of a chore to the players - most skip the event all together to rest nagging injuries. In honor of what could possibly be an exciting All-Star draft, I've decided to create my own two sets of teams to take the ice - Heroes vs. Villains. Let me define MY terms to make one of these teams:
A Heroes player is a character guy on (for the most part) and off the ice - a white knight, if you will. Many of the Heroes are very active with charities, open and available to fans, and are amongst the league leaders in their respective positions. Some of the guys just have great stories attached to their legacies.
A Villains player is based a lot on reputation. They may have charities and are great players, but on and/or off ice activities have tended to distract from those aspects. Special consideration was taken if a player has done anything to my Ducks in any way.
For both teams, I have justified my selections. Feel free to create your own teams in the comments. And don't focus on who I left off because it's not all about stats. Let's get a draftin'...
Left Wing - Zach Parise** Ahh, the Zach Attack. I don't hide my adoration for the other #9 in my life. Parise had an outstanding Olympic games for Team USA. In the Gold Medal game, he scored the tying goal against Canada in the final 24 seconds of the 3rd period.
Center - Sidney Crosby The NHL's "Golden Boy". I can't disagree, The Kid is good. The weight of being the heir to the Great One has been heaped on him since he was a young lad, and he's handled the pressure well.
Right Wing - Teemu Selanne (C) The man is 40! I hope to be just as talented, in shape and as good looking when I'm over the hill. He still holds the record of most goals in a season by a rookie. Teemu is Ducks hockey.
Defense - Nicklas Lidstrom (A) Another 40 year old stalwart of the NHL. The quiet Swede has four Stanley Cups and six Norris trophies. While I don't like the Red Wings, I like Nicky.
Defense - Cam Fowler Quite a start to the beginning of Fowler's career. He has become one of the stable forces on the Ducks' D. Did I mention he's only 18??? At 18, I was happy I could gamble at Indian casinos.
Goalie - Ryan Miller Another one of the Olympic heroes for Team USA. His play kept the USA in the tourney, and made them the surprise of the games. Along with Dustin Brown and Mike Green, he was nominated as a 2010 NHL Foundation finalist for charitable acts.
Left Wing - Dustin Brown Uggghh. I know. I really don't want to like any of the Kings' but this guy is an outstanding human being. He is constantly raising money for various charities (see link under Ryan Miller). Another darling of the US Olympic team.
Center - Jonathan Toews Captain Serious! The youngest captain in the NHL has one Stanley Cup, one gold medal and the cover of NHL 11. From all reports, Toews is a really boring, nice guy.
Right Wing - Bobby Ryan While he may have blocked me on Twitter (reasons still undetermined), I cannot help but to adore BR. His mama must have raised him well because he's polite, ending every interview with, "my pleasure" (like they say at Chik-fil-A). Bobby has recently announced that he'll be donating $100 to Operation Homefront for every point scored. Here's to a 100 point season!
Defense - Lubomir Visnovsky I just like him. His interviews make no sense, but his smile is infectious. Lubo was a steal at the trade deadline last season.
Defense - Duncan Keith The dude lost seven teeth during the Stanley Cup finals. If that were a baseball player, he would have been hauled off on a stretcher and in the hospital for a week.
Goalie - Ilya Bryzgalov Another guy it's not hard to like, especially with interviews like this one. "Why you haf to be mad?" Aww, I miss Bryz.
Left Wing - Brooks Laich How can you not like a guy that stops to change a tire after Game 7 - a Game 7 that he lost.
Center - Saku Koivu (A) After years under the microscope in Montreal, Koivu took his talents down to south...err...to Southern California and carried the Ducks ever since. Did I mention he kicked cancer's ass?
Right Wing - Rick Nash A 2009 NHL Foundation finalist, along with Dustin Brown. Gotta admire a guy that is the face of a franchise in Columbus, Ohio...where excitement lives!
Defense - Mike Green Another 2010 Foundation Finalist (see link under Ryan Miller). He's not a great actor, but he's in that funny Geico commercial with the cavemen.
Defense - Drew Doughty. Another King I hate to acknowledge. He's ridonkulous, and if the Kings are smart, they'll let him walk away at the end of the season to the Ducks. A girl can dream, right?
Goalie - Ondrej Pavelec This is the guy that fainted on the ice. Pretty scary! He's back and playing again. Can't ask for a better ending to a story that could have been career ending.
Left Wing - Alexander Ovechkin (A) Ovie is the opposite of Sidney Crosby, and that's why the NHL obsesses about their rivalry. While he's supremely talented, he's a bit of a douche, as outlined by Puck Daddy after an interview with GQ.
Center - Mike Richards Back in 2009, Richards went all Marcel Marceaux with the Philadelphia media after comments were made about his partying ways. Probably isn't a good idea, especially when your former wingman (on and off ice) speculates on why he was traded.
Right Wing - Corey Perry Don't get me wrong, I love Perry. Really happy that he's on my team. Here's why I'm happy and others might consider him a villain of sorts.
Defense - Chris Pronger (C) I never thought I could miss a man as much as I do Pronger. He's boo'd around the league by people that haven't had him on their team. Yes, he takes cheap shots, but it hurts so good!
Defense - Dion Phaneuf A nasty hitter, as shown here running over my Getz.
Goalie - Nikolai Khabibulin Drunk driving is dangerous. I'm happy he got jail time. He could have killed someone.
Left Wing - Sean Avery Do I really need to justify this one?
Center - Mike Ribero Public intoxication arrests are always funny, especially when it happens at Ra Sushi in Plano, Texas (not sure that's a state where I want to eat raw fish). One too many sake bombs, perhaps?
Right Wing - Ilya Kovalchuk After what his contract put the hockey universe through during the summer, he will always be a villain. A cap hit of $6.66M is far too appropriate.
Defense - James Wisniewski who knew he taught American Sign Language in New York??
Defense - Shane O'Brien loves to party. I haven't checked my facts, but I'm 75% sure The Roxy in Vancouver has gone out of business since SO'B was traded.
Goalie - Dan Ellis Is really not happy with the way things have turned out on Twitter (or in his bank account, apparently). #danellisproblems
Left Wing - Steve Ott Battle of California's pageant winner for the crown of Biggest Tool in the Pacific
Center - Joe Thornton As a Ducks' fan, it's only right. And don't touch the remaining hairs on Getzy's head, Joe!
Right Wing - Todd Bertuzzi I'm not going to post the video he's most famous for. It still sickens me.
Defense - Ryan Whitney Thanks for nothing! (Except Lubo)
Defense - Stephane Robidas Shelved Matty B right back to Syracuse with this hit. The look, or lack-thereof, in Matt's eyes was terrifying.
Goalie - Roberto Luongo I just don't like him.