Anze Kopitar

So, who was the biggest All-Star snub?

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The remainder of the 2015 NHL All-Star Game rosters were announced on Saturday.

While some “snubs” are probably quite happy about getting a break (especially Joe Thornton, who’s taking a nice trip to Cabo), you can bet plenty of fan bases will gripe about players who didn’t make it, even if they might not realize that all 30 NHL teams must be represented in some form.

Well, if you’re going to gripe about it, why not do it in the comfy confines of PHT? Before you vote for the biggest snub of them all, however, let’s take a look at who’s on the roster:

Fan voted: Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo Sabres
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

Forwards: 
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Rick Nash, New York Rangers
Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Defensemen: 
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

Goalies: 
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

Rookies: 
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
Tanner Pearson, Los Angeles Kings
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning

OK, did you get a chance to scan the list? Good. Pick the biggest nub in the poll below. If your guy was double-snubbed (gasp), then write him in.

Crosby, Ovechkin headline 2015 All-Star Game roster

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We already know that Zemgus Girgensons was voted into the 2015 All-Star Game alongside Chicago Blackhawks players Corey Crawford, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews. The NHL trotted out the rest of the best today:

36 Additional All-Stars

Forwards
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Rick Nash, New York Rangers
Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Defensemen
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

Goaltenders
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

6 Rookies

Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
Tanner Pearson, Los Angeles Kings
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning

The “fantasy draft” will take place on Jan. 23, with the captains for each team being announced sometime next week.

Richards ‘won’t cause a scene’ after demotion; could be healthy scratch Saturday

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Earlier today, we wrote about Mike Richards getting just 9:07 of ice time — a season-low — in Thursday’s 4-3 loss against the Rangers, and the trade rumors swirling overhead.

Today, things got worse.

Richards skated in a position next to Jordan Nolan on the “fifth line,” which suggested he could be a healthy scratch tomorrow when the Kings take on the Jets.

More, from the O.C. Register:

Coach Darryl Sutter could always change his mind before Saturday night, but clearly a message is being sent either way. Richards is a 29-year-old former 30-goal scorer whose role is quickly diminishing.

”That’s no fun, that’s no good,’’ Richards said Friday. ”I still, obviously, think I can play a lot more minutes, but at the same time, you play what you’re put in position to play. I’m not going to cause a scene or do anything to take the focus away from anything. I’m just going to come to the rink every day and play hockey.’’

The former Philadelphia Flyer — in year seven of a 12-year, $69 million deal — was thought to be a potential buyout target during last summer’s compliance window, yet retained by Kings GM Dean Lombardi in a move that could come back to haunt the Kings. While L.A. has lauded Richards for his “intangibles” and leadership ability, the fact remains he’s on pace for the lowest offensive output of his career (just 14 points through 41 games) and the organization could find itself in a cap crunch with Justin Williams a UFA this summer and Anze Kopitar the next.

Richards, to his credit, is trying to stay positive.

”You come to the rink every day and, it is what it is, to be honest,” he told the Register. ”You come here, you work, you get ready for a hockey game, just like any other year or any other time. That’s about all you can do.’’

After season-low ice time, rumors swirl around Kings’ Richards

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Last night’s Stanley Cup Final rematch was a rough one for Mike Richards.

The veteran Kings center played a season-low 9:07 in the 4-3 loss, including just two shifts in the final frame for a grand total of 81 seconds.

The man in charge of ice time distribution, head coach Darryl Sutter, didn’t name names in his postgame presser, but did allude to issues his team had against the Rangers.

Per LA Kings Insider, they included:

“We had trouble keeping up with a fast team.”

“We had some top players tonight not in the checking mood.”

“We need to get some more out of good players, that’s for sure.”

“We’ve got to continue to be better checkers right through our lineup.”

In regards to which — or, how many — apply to Richards, well, that’s up for debate. Sutter also talked about taking bad penalties and the Rangers scored a PPG following Richards’ interference penalty in the first period, so there’s that to consider as well.

That Richards had this kind of performance in a Cup Final rematch is a tad ironic. He, along with his namesake — ex-Rangers center Brad Richards — were two of the most maligned individuals last spring, thanks in large part to their onerous contracts; while New York opted to use a compliance buyout on the remainder of Brad’s nine-year, $58.5M deal, Kings GM Dean Lombardi opted against doing the same to Mike’s 12-year, $69M pact.

More: Richards: I gave Lombardi ‘my word’ I’d work harder in the offseason

It hasn’t taken long for Richards’ name to surface in trade talks, however.

The first instances came in mid-November, when a pair of TSN reports suggested L.A. was inquiring about moving Richards out of town.

“I don’t think the notion they might be prepared to part with him is necessarily performance-related as much as it is reality-related,” McKenzie said on TSN 1050 radio. “And that is on a team that’s got Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Jarret Stoll as your top three centers.

“Do you have room for a guy making that kind of money as arguably a fourth-line center?”

Now, the smoke appear to be surfacing again. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was on Fan 590 Radio Friday morning, and said the following (per Nicholson Hockey):

“Justin Williams scored another couple of goals last night. He had a really strong game. He was one of the best L.A. players in the loss. They are trying to sign him to an extension. He’s a free agent at the end of this year.

“They’re a year and a half from having to deal with Kopitar, who, by every stretch of the imagination, deserves the same contract that Toews and Kane got, and who knows what he actually wants. But they know it’s going to be a big number. So they are trying to do some things to kind of clear the decks a bit.

“I’m sure they’re calling and asking teams like Toronto and Winnipeg, where they think that maybe Richards would be willing to go, to test it.”

The trade deadline is on March 2. Stay tuned.

Related: Sutter calls out Mike Richards on game-losing goal

Poll: Are the Preds legit Stanley Cup contenders?

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The Nashville Predators are one of the big surprise teams of the 2014-15 NHL season.

Probably the biggest, actually.

Even with a healthy Pekka Rinne in goal and Norris Trophy candidate Shea Weber on the blue line, we can’t recall anyone who predicted the Preds would be 25-9-4 after 38 games, good for the highest points percentage in the NHL.

In fact, prior to the season, online sportsbook Bovada set Nashville’s point total at just 76.5. To fall short of that now, the Preds would need to finish something like 12-31-1. That’s how good they’ve been, relative to expectations.

So, with a spot in the playoffs seeming all but assured, the question is begging to be asked — do the Preds have what it takes to win it all?

The argument for ‘Yes’

Nashville has the second-best goals-against average in the NHL. And if there’s one thing that recent Stanley Cup winners have shown us, it’s that defense wins championships.

Goals against of past six Stanley Cup champs
2013-14 Kings (1st, 2.05)
2012-13 Blackhawks (1st, 2.02)
2011-12 Kings (2nd, 2.07)
2010-11 Bruins (2nd, 2.30)
2009-10 Blackhawks (6th, 2.48)

And as the Preds showed this weekend, they can also put the puck in the net. Nashville’s offense is now tied for seventh in the league, averaging 2.95 goals per game. Five-on-five, no team has a higher goals for/against ratio than the Preds, at 1.47.

The argument for ‘No’

It’s more of a subjective one. No matter how good Nashville’s numbers look right now, and no matter how much talent they have in goal and on the back end, can a team really win the Stanley Cup with Mike Ribeiro as its first-line center? Because that’s who it is for the Preds — the 34-year-old who signed for peanuts after he got bought out by the Coyotes due to “behavioral issues” and has never entered the conversation when debating the truly elite centers in hockey.

That conversation has been limited to the likes of Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Patrice Bergeron, Joe Thornton, and Anze Kopitar. You know, players that have won Stanley Cups. Or Hart Trophies. Or Selke Trophies. Or Conn Smythe Trophies.

Go ahead and search the list. Try to find a team that’s won the Stanley Cup without a top center with some serious credentials. You won’t find many.

Time to vote!