This morning the news of Thrashers defenseman Tobias Enstrom breaking his finger putting him out for 2-4 weeks and out of the All-Star Game on Sunday meant that a spot opened up in the game for another defenseman. The NHL wasted no time today in naming a replacement and chose wisely going with Phoenix blue liner Keith Yandle to take his spot.
This season, Yandle is Phoenix’s leading scorer with seven goals and 33 assists and has been one of the NHL’s better defensemen all year long. Yandle was a rather apparent snub when the players were announced for this year’s game but a glaring error is now fixed. For Yandle, it’s his first all-star selection.
As for the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft on Friday night, there’s ten defensemen in the draft pool right now thanks to Nick Lidstrom being named captain of one of the sides and Washington’s Mike Green named as an assistant captain of Eric Staal’s team. With Yandle being a solid assist man on the blue line, expect both Lidstrom and Staal to be intrigued by his addition to the pool.
While we’re on a roll talking about the All-Star Game here, with all the injuries that have come down, it’s good to see that we’re at least seeing some headway being made into seeing how the rosters will be filled out via injury replacements. Today, Minnesota’s Martin Havlat was chosen to head to Raleigh this weekend to take part in the All-Star Game to take the place of any number of injured forwards.
Havlat joins Daniel Briere as injury replacement for the game that sees Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Ales Hemsky out with differing ailments. Briere took the place of Jarome Iginla who is missing the game to be with his sick grandmother.
Havlat will team up with or play against Wild teammate defenseman Brent Burns in the game. It’s the first time since the All-Star Game was held in Minnesota in 2004 that two Wild players will participate in the game. Havlat has 13 goals and 30 assists this season and leads the Wild in scoring. Havlat was in the 2007 All-Star Game and scored two goals and an assist. His offensive game is ideal for what the game is all about. Look for him to be a sneaky star of the game.