Nashville Predators v Columbus Blue Jackets

There are three Columbus Blue Jackets on the NHL All-Star ballot

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The National Hockey League has released its official ballot for the 2012 All-Star Game. It includes 127 players — 18 goalies, 36 defensemen and 73 forwards — with voting set to begin on Monday, Nov. 14.

And when voting begins on Monday, you’ll have the opportunity to send three members of the Columbus Blue Jackets to Ottawa for all the festivities!

Rick Nash, Jeff Carter and RJ Umberger all made the ballot. You can make a case for Nash being there because he leads the team in scoring. You can make a case for Carter because he’s been an All-Star before. And you can make a case for Umberger because…the league had a quota for guys named RJ? That’s all I got.

See, Umberger’s not just having a bad year. He’s having a terrible year (1G-4A-5PTS, minus-2) on a terrible team. He’s currently being outscored by two CBJ defensemen: Aaron Johnson (who is four points away from tying his career high of 10) and Grant Clitsome (hehe, Clitsome.)

I’m all for equal representation at the All-Star game. I also realize this might be Columbus’ lone highlight of the season (the Blue Jackets will be in highlights, of course, like Jamie Benn’s goal.)

But aren’t there some deserving guys that got left off the ballot?

Yep, sure are.

With that said, here are PHT’s All-Star Ballot Snubs.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: This may be intentional as there are no rookies on the ballot. (Last year the All-Star weekend featured a YoungStars game between rookies and sophomores, though Carolina’s Jeff Skinner got to compete in the big game.) RNH has 6G-6A-12PTS — more than Nash and Los Angeles’ Mike Richards.

David Legwand: Point-a-game player (14PTS, 14GP) for the fifth-place team in the West. Tied for 22nd overall in league scoring. Plays 19 minutes a night. NB: Despite being 13 points clear of Columbus, Nashville has the same number of players on the ballot.

Marc-Andre Bergeron: Bergeron leads all NHL defensemen in scoring. This requires no further explanation.

Jimmy Howard: Jimmy’s 6-3-1 so far with a 1.79 GAA. Jimmy’s save percentage is .928. Jimmy doesn’t understand why he’s not one of 18 goalies nominated. Jimmy definitely thinks he should be there over Jaroslav Halak. Jimmy’s actually okay with this snub, though. Jimmy might take the family on vacation during the break. Jimmy’s been looking at places in Maui. Anyway, good talk. Jimmy’ll see you around.

Niklas Backstrom/Josh Harding: Minnesota has the league’s second-lowest GAA — shouldn’t at least one of its goalies be on the ballot? If I had to pick, I’d probably go with Backstrom because he’s played more (nine starts to Harding’s five) and his stats are pretty solid: 2.05 goals-against and a .926 save percentage. Maybe Harding just canceled him out of the equation.

WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 3

Washington Capitals left wing Andre Burakovsky (65) fires a shot past Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) during the second period of Game 2 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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There’s only one game on the docket tonight, but it’s a marquee matchup.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals split their games in DC and now switch to Pittsburgh for Game 3. We’ve seen great work from the likes of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Nicklas Backstrom and maybe especially Braden Holtby so far … not to mention a considerable cast of supporting characters.

Which team will take a 2-1 lead in this captivating series?

We’ll find out on NBCSN. You can stream the game live via the link below as well:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are Game 5 start times for all four series this coming weekend

St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55) and Dallas Stars left wing Patrick Sharp (10) tangle during the second period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals, Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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When it comes to arranging your life for maximum playoff viewership, it’s never too early to plan.

The weekend may seem like a distant cry from this Monday evening, but imagine all the bruising hits, circus saves and beautiful goals you’ll get to see and share a hearty smile.

Here’s the full rundown for when each Game 5 will start … with the Nashville Predators – San Jose Sharks series needing at least one Preds win to drop the “if necessary” disclaimer (via the NHL):

· The start time for Game 5 of the Second Round series between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues has been set for 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT on Saturday, May 7, in Dallas. The game will be broadcast exclusively on NBC in the U.S. In Canada, the game will be on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

· The start time for Game 5 of the Second Round series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins has been set for 7:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 7, in Washington. The game will be broadcast exclusively on NBC in the U.S. In Canada, the game will be on CBC and TVA Sports.

· The start time for Game 5 of the Second Round series between the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators, if necessary, has been set for 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT/7 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 7, in San Jose. The game would be televised exclusively on NBCSN in the U.S. In Canada, the game would be on CBC and TVA Sports.

· The start time for Game 5 of the Second Round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders has been set for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 8, in Tampa Bay. The game will be broadcast exclusively on NBC in the U.S. In Canada, the game will be on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

After ‘rough year,’ Kronwall seeking options for ailing knee

Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler (26) is tripped up by Detroit Red Wings' Niklas Kronwall (55), of Sweden, during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Detroit. The Red Wings defeated the Jets 3-2. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
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Coming off one of the worst seasons in an otherwise solid — and lengthy — career, Detroit d-man Niklas Kronwall is already looking to ensure the knee issues that plagued him won’t continue on into 2016-17.

Kronwall is “getting opinions” about how to fix the knee, Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press. The injury limited the Swedish rearguard to just 64 games played — and those 64 games were largely played with Kronwall not close to 100 percent.

More, from the Free Press:

At 35, Kronwall is showing the wear and tear of being, at his best, a hard-hitting workhorse defenseman. Productionwise, he had the lowest numbers of his career since 2006-07, scoring just three goals and finishing with just 26 points in 64 games. (Even during the lockout-shortened 2013 season, he had five goals and 29 points in 48 games.) His minus-21 was eye-popping.

“It’s been a rough year in a lot of ways,” Kronwall said. “Definitely, a summer of good training is the first thing that you need, and the rest of it will play out as you go along.”

The Wings will be hopeful Kronwall can return to form.

He’s still got plenty of time left on his current deal — three more years, at a $4.75M cap hit — and is still considered a key part to the Red Wings defense, which wasn’t great this year and doesn’t project to be a heckua lot better next year.

If Kronwall can’t get back to form, it could push Holland even harder to make a trade to beef up the blueline.

Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon

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Jaroslav Halak took a major step in his return from a groin injury on Monday, participating in a full practice with his Islander teammates ahead of tomorrow’s Game 3 against the Lightning.

“He’s progressing,” head coach Jack Capuano said, per the Isles’ website. “I don’t know how far or where he is or when he could play, but I know that having him on the ice going through a full practice, but again it’s about conditioning and timing with goaltenders and their movement, but he’s progressing and it’s great to see.

“I don’t have a timetable yet though.”

Halak hasn’t played in nearly two months — he suffered his groin injury on Mar. 8. His initial timetable for return was 6-8 weeks, and Tuesday will mark his eighth week out of action.

It seems highly unlikely Halak will be an option — at least in terms of starting — anytime soon. He told the Isles’ site the lengthy layoff means it now feels “like the beginning of the season for me,” and Thomas Greiss has performed well through the playoffs thus far, posting a .937 save percentage and 2.06 GAA.

If anything, Halak’s goal could be to get in good enough shape to serve as Greiss’ backup at some point. J.F. Berube has filled that role during the postseason, but has yet to see any action.

Prior to getting hurt, Halak was New York’s No. 1 netminder and played reasonably well, posting a .919 save percentage and 2.30 GAA in 36 starts.