Today on NBCSN: The 2012 NHL All-Star Game

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It’s finally here. The NHL All-Star Game between Team Alfredsson and Team Chara drops the puck in Ottawa this afternoon (4:00 p.m. ET) and while it’s just an exhibition and the guys are out there to do their part to light up each other’s goalies, there are some curious juxtapositions in this game.

Team Alfredsson is made up of all the Swedish All-Stars. Daniel Alfredsson captaining the team with Henrik Lundqvist as the assistant managed to pick up Alex Edler, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Erik Karlsson.

This also means that Team Alfredsson has all the Vancouver Canucks in today’s game on their team. Comparing that with Team Chara captained by Zdeno Chara who also drafted his Bruins teammates Tyler Seguin and Tim Thomas to his side and you have a the whole Bruins-Canucks rivalry at hand. If this game were played like a playoff game, there’d be enough fire there to make sure no one tuned out.

As it is we’ll have to hope to see maybe the Sedins work some magic around Thomas or perhaps see Chara throw a bodycheck on Edler. With checking being practically forbidden, any hit would be enough to cause a stir. If all that isn’t enough drama for you, perhaps seeing Phil Kessel being coached by Claude Julien one more time is enough to get you excited.

As for the guys that will take the worst of it in the game, the goalies are ready to be shelled. Team Chara rolls with Thomas, Canadiens goalie Carey Price, and Red Wings starter Jimmy Howard. Team Alfredsson will try to hold things down with Lundqvist, Kings star Jonathan Quick, and Blues starter Brian Elliott.

For what it’s worth, Bovada Sports (formerly Bodog) has the over/under on goals scored in this game at 19.5 — Keep in mind that last year’s game ended up 11-10 win for Team Lidstrom over Team Staal and the 2009 All-Star Game was a 12-11 win for the East over the West.

Streaking: Team Chara starting goalie Tim Thomas has been the winning goalie in the last three All-Star Games. Should Team Chara get ahead while he’s in the game, Thomas will have a shot at making it four in a row. It’s a bit of a silly stat, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

See also: Breaking down Team Alfredsson and Team Chara’s lineups.

Lundqvist will start four of five remaining games

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Henrik Lundqvist has had two tough starts since returning from injury.

The 35-year-old allowed five goals in his first game back, a 6-3 loss to Anaheim Sunday, and five more in his second game, a 5-4 OT loss to San Jose Tuesday.

But Lundqvist is still the No. 1 in New York, and for that reason he’s scheduled to start four of the Rangers’ five remaining regular-season games, with the hope he’ll be able to play his way back into form in time for the postseason.

Lundqvist was not happy after Tuesday’s loss to the Sharks, even though the point the Rangers gained earned them a playoff berth.

“I’m extremely disappointed right now,” he told reporters. “I’m glad we’re in, but I want to get the job done. I want the win. We found a way to lose this one at the end.”

With the loss, Lundqvist’s save percentage fell to .911 on the season. If it finishes at that number, it would be the lowest save percentage of his NHL career.

Antti Raanta‘s save percentage, meanwhile, sits at .922. In his last start, he shut out the Kings in Los Angeles.

The Rangers host Pittsburgh tomorrow and Philadelphia Sunday. Next week, they’re in Washington Wednesday, Ottawa Saturday, and then they close out their schedule at home to Pittsburgh Sunday.

Raanta will start one of the final two games.

The Rangers are likely to face Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs.

Reinhart suggests benching him for an entire game might’ve been a stretch

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Two days after Sam Reinhart was bolted to the pine for the entirety of Buffalo’s 3-1 loss to Columbus — his punishment for showing up late to a team stretch — Reinhart discussed the incident, and didn’t sound overly thrilled about how it played out.

“It’s a coach’s decision. It’s a management decision,” Reinhart said, per the Buffalo News. “From my perspective, I would have rather battled it out with my teammates.

“I don’t think five minutes in the morning is going to influence my preparation for a game, but it was a team stretch and I should have been there on time.”

Reinhart also had this to say:

Discipline of this nature is pretty common, though the way Reinhart’s played out was a bit more dramatic. Rather than park him in the press box as a healthy scratch, the Sabres — who didn’t have an extra forward, as Kyle Okposo was out sick — dressed the 21-year-old, then sat him for the entire 60 minutes.

The Buffalo News said the move “would seem to send a deeper message than merely being scratch,” adding that “there has been friction between players and [Sabres head coach Dan] Bylsma throughout the season.”

In the club’s defense, Reinhart is hardly the first young player to be punished for lateness. Nikita Zadorov had repeated issues with punctuality and, after being suspended, was eventually traded to Colorado. Evander Kane was parked for a game last season after sleeping in and missing a practice.

Of course, each situation is unique and some will argue showing up five minutes late for a stretch isn’t on par with what Zadorov and Kane did. Which is fair. That could be why Bylsma said the club might consider a policy change.

And that could by why Reinhart’s teammate, Jack Eichel, tried to put things in perspective.

“We’re obviously not going to hold it over his head here,” Eichel said, per the News. “He didn’t really do too much wrong.”

North Dakota’s Poolman turns pro, signs with Jets

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Another day, another North Dakota departure.

Having already lost freshman Tyson Jost (signed with Colorado) and sophomore Brock Boeser (signed with Vancouver), the school has now learned that junior blueliner Tucker Poolman has signed an entry-level deal with the Jets.

Poolman, 23, was taken by Winnipeg in the fifth round (127th overall) at the ’13 draft. From the Free Press:

UND’s top defenceman was playing between 25 and 30 minutes per game and was the fourth-highest scoring blue-liner in the NCHC. He finished the season with seven goals, 30 points, 14 penalty minutes and a plus-18 rating in 38 games.

Poolman’s final campaign ended on a sour note. He suffered a shoulder injury during the NCHC championship game and was unable to play in North Dakota’s season-ending loss to Boston University in the NCAA championships.

Coming to America: Jackets assign Carlsson to Cleveland

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His Swedish season over, defenseman Gabriel Carlsson is coming to North America to play some hockey.

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced today that Carlsson, the 29th overall pick in the 2015 draft, has been assigned to AHL Cleveland.

From the press release:

Carlsson, 20, recently completed his second full season with Linköping HC in the Swedish Hockey League where he collected two goals and two assists for four points with six penalty minutes and a +8 plus/minus rating in 40 games.

Linköping was eliminated from the SHL playoffs on Tuesday.

Carlsson is listed at 6-4 and 191 pounds.