Welcome to the club: Benn, Rask earn first-team All-Star recognition

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The National Hockey League’s First All-Star Team includes a pair of first-timers – Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars and Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins.

Rask already took home hardware from the NHL Awards, as he was named the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top goaltender. The 24-year-old Benn finished 12th in Hart Trophy voting. But he enjoyed a breakout season with the Stars as their captain, with 34 goals and 79 points. Dallas also made it back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and Benn was also named to Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Blackhawks’ defenseman Duncan Keith, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby and Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry were also named to the first All-Star team.

2013-2014 NHL Second All-Star Team
GP W L OT GAA SV% SO
G Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche 63 41 14 6 2.41 .927 2

GP Mins. G A Pts
D Shea Weber, Nashville Predators 79 26:54 23 33 56
D Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues 81 25:21 8 43 51
C Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks 77 21:17 31 56 87
RW Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals 78 20:32 51 28 79
LW Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks 82 19:51 41 38 79

2013-2014 NHL ALL-STAR TEAM VOTING RESULTS

GOALTENDER

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections

1. TUUKKA RASK, BOS 506 (70-47-15) 1 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Semyon Varlamov, COL 450 (60-44-18) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Ben Bishop, TB 154 (2-29-57)
4. Carey Price, MTL 89 (3-13-35)
5. Jonathan Quick, LA 24 (2-4-2)
6. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 5 (0-0-5)
7. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ 3 (0-0-3)
8. Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT 2 (0-0-2)

DEFENSE

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections

1. DUNCAN KEITH, CHI 587 (101-25-7) 2 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. ZDENO CHARA, BOS 442 (58-42-26) 3 First Team, 4 Second Team
3. Shea Weber, NSH 432 (51-50-27) 2 First Team, 1 Second Team
4. Alex Pietrangelo, STL 253 (16-45-38) 0 First Team, 2 Second Team
5. Ryan Suter, MIN 244 (22-36-26)
6. Drew Doughty, LA 207 (15-32-36)
7. Erik Karlsson, OTT 94 (4-12-38)
8. Ryan McDonagh, NYR 53 (1-9-21)
9. Victor Hedman, TB 35 (1-4-18)
10. Matt Niskanen, PIT 34 (1-6-11)
11. Mark Giordano, CGY 31 (2-3-12)
12. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJ 22 (1-5-2)
13. PK Subban, MTL 10 (1-0-5)
14. Niklas Kronwall, DET 10 (0-3-1)
15. Jay Bouwmeester, STL 4 (0-1-1)
16. Andrei Markov, MTL 3 (0-1-0)
17. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, PHX 3 (0-0-3)
18. Brent Seabrook, CHI 2 (0-0-2)

CENTER

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections
1. SIDNEY CROSBY, PIT 677 (133-4-0) 3 First Team, 1 Second Team
2. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 378 (3-117-12) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Claude Giroux, PHI 101 (1-8-72)
4. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 32 (0-5-17)
5. Tyler Seguin, DAL 22 (0-0-22)
6. Anze Kopitar, LA 10 (0-1-7)
7. Jonathan Toews, CHI 6 (0-1-3)
8. David Krejci, BOS 4 (0-1-1)
9. David Backes, STL 1 (0-0-1)
Jeff Skinner, CAR 1 (0-0-1)
Joe Thornton, SJ 1 (0-0-1)

LEFT WING

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections
1. JAMIE BENN, DAL 446 (57-48-17) 1 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Joe Pavelski, SJ 325 (49-23-11) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Patrick Sharp, CHI 259 (26-31-36)
4. Taylor Hall, EDM 73 (0-13-34)
5. Max Pacioretty, MTL 40 (2-7-9)
6. Alex Steen, STL 26 (2-3-7)
7. Patrick Marleau, SJ 22 (1-4-5)
8. Chris Kunitz, PIT 21 (0-5-6)
9. Gabriel Landeskog, COL 11 (0-2-5)
10. Thomas Vanek, MTL 3 (0-1-0)
11. Milan Lucic, BOS 2 (0-0-2)
Ryan O’Reilly, COL 2 (0-0-2)
Zach Parise, MIN 2 (0-0-2)
14. Patrick Kane, CHI 1 (0-0-1)

RIGHT WING

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections

1. COREY PERRY, ANA 606 (109-18-7) 2 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Alex Ovechkin, WSH 299 (23-47-43) 6 First Team, 3 Second Team
3. Phil Kessel, TOR 211 (5-44-54)
4. Patrick Kane, CHI 65 (0-16-17)
5. Jaromir Jagr, NJ 14 (0-3-5)
Martin St. Louis, NYR 14 (0-3-5)
7. Jarome Iginla, BOS 12 (0-4-0)
8. Jason Pominville, MIN 4 (0-1-1)
9. T.J. Oshie, STL 3 (0-1-0)
10. Blake Wheeler, WPG 2 (0-0-2)
11. David Backes, STL 1 (0-0-1)
Marian Hossa, CHI 1 (0-0-1)
Kyle Okposo, NYI 1 (0-0-1)

Gibbons might be injured after scoring twice for Pens

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A lot happened in 2:26 of ice time for Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brian Gibbons in Game 2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

The speedy, under-sized forward scored two goals and appeared to suffer an injury during that very limited amount of time. Gibbons, 26, left early in the first period and hasn’t returned to action yet in the middle frame. As usual with these low-info playoffs, it’s unclear if this is a significant injury.

(For one quick example: it looked like St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was injured in Game 1 of his series, but it turned out that he was probably only dealing with cramps.)

On the bright side, Gibbons made a huge impact in a brief period of time. Here are video clips for both of his tallies from today:

Update: Jay Bouwmeester likely not injured after all

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Update: It sounds like St. Louis Blues fans can breathe easy:

The St. Louis Blues haven’t provided any official word regarding defenseman Jay Bouwmeester’s condition, but it appears that he probably suffered an injury during the first overtime of Game 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

As of this writing, he hasn’t returned during the second overtime period in a game that is still in progress. It’s believed that Bouwmeester suffered his undisclosed ailment while blocking a shot during that initial OT frame.

It’s been a rough and tumble affair. Jonathan Toews seemed to suffer two potential injuries in extended time, yet he came back from both potential ailments (at least for now).

The longer this goes, the higher the risk may be for more injuries. If Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper’s update from Wednesday is any indication, injury news probably won’t provide much in detail, especially following games. PHT will pass along anything useful if it happens to crop up, however.

PHT Morning Skate: Kunitz, Neal miss practice, will be re-evaluated

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Chris Kunitz and James Neal both missed Thursday’s practice. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma didn’t seem overly concerned, but it remains to be seen if they’ll play Saturday against Philadelphia. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

After starting his career with Florida and Calgary, Jay Bouwmeester said that playing with the winning St. Louis Blues over the last 11 and a half months has been “a breath of fresh air.” (Edmonton Sun)

Martin St. Louis has gotten off to a quiet start with the New York Rangers. After spending parts of 13 campaigns with the Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis is trying to find his rhythm. (Newsday)

Meanwhile, the other captain moved in that trade, Ryan Callahan, scored his first goal with the Lightning last night to extend his three-game point streak. After that marker helped Tampa Bay earn a 5-4 win over Florida, Callahan spoke of the urgency the Lightning feel. (Tampa Tribune)

Jussi Jokinen, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, would like to re-sign with the Penguins, but it looks like negotiations won’t really start to roll until after Pittsburgh’s postseason run ends. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

The United States will play against Russia for the gold medal in ice sledge hockey in the Paralympics. (Associated Press)

Dustin Brown, who has been great since the Olympic break, was limited to just 10:12 minutes in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Toronto. Kings coach Darryl Sutter insisted that Brown wasn’t hurt and it wasn’t the result of anything he did specifically. Instead, Sutter said Brown’s line was simply tired. (LA Kings Insider)

U.S. past ‘miracle’ stage in Olympic hockey (except vs. Canada)

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source:
Photo credit: AP

SOCHI, Russia – This seems to be the Olympics when everyone around United States hockey officially got sick of the Miracle on Ice. Well, it was inevitable. With the Olympics being in Russia, with famed Russian goaltender Vladislav Tretiak (who was pulled in the Miracle) lighting the torch, with my generation reaching the age of cloying nostalgia and with the U.S. men’s team looking for its first Olympics hockey gold since that 1980 team, everything pointed to overkill.*

*Which I happily participated in.

Thing is, hockey in America is nothing like it was in 1980. This was the point the U.S. hockey team kept hammering. Everything has changed. Now, professional hockey players are at the Olympic. Now, the U.S. team has some of the best players in the world. Now, the U.S. team has speed and size and depth that is the envy of almost every hockey-playing country in the world. When the U.S. team played Russia this time around, it was the Americans who were favored, and the Americans who played the villains when they got a favorable call and won in a gritty shootout.

So, yes, everybody was ready to move on from the constant reminders about a bunch of college hockey players who won a gold medal 34 years ago.

Trouble is, to get people to stop talking about the Miracle on Ice, you have to stop losing one-goal games to Canada when it matters most.

VIDEO: Highlights from Canada’s 1-0 win

The U.S. did lose another one-goal game to Canada in an Olympic semifinal Friday … this after the U.S. women one day earlier lost a crushing one-goal game to Canada in the gold medal game … this after the U.S. men lost a crushing one-goal game to Canada in the gold medal game in Vancouver, one of the most famous hockey games ever played.

To be fair, the United States’ 1-0 loss to Canada was different from the others. It felt cleaner and did not leave much room for regret. That’s because the Canadians pretty thoroughly outplayed the Americans. Was it not for some head-stand saves from Jonathan Quick – “our best player tonight,”  U.S. coach Dan Bylsma said – the score easily could have been 3-0 or 4-0.

Meanwhile the “0” on the American end of the score was more or less locked in. It is hard to imagine a team playing more suffocating defense than Canada played Friday. The U.S. power play was rendered all but useless. And other than a couple of moderate chances early and Paul Stansny’s point-blank shots in front in the second period, the U.S. rarely even threatened to score.

VIDEO: U.S. can’t find an empty net in final minute

The game was played at a high level—the speed on the ice was mesmerizing — and it was entertaining in its own way. But it really was quite a let-down from the famous gold medal game of four years ago. Well, for one thing that was a gold-medal match, while this was a semifinal just to see who would play Sweden for gold. That was a quirk in the seeding, and it definitely altered some of the emotion.*

source:
Photo credit: AP

Then there was the quiet. Here you had the two best hockey teams on earth – two of the most talented hockey teams ever put together – and it was so eerily quiet in the Bolshoy Ice Palace. Every now and again, a hearty soul would try to start up a U-S-A chant or beg the Canadians to finish one of their numerous goal-scoring chances and then it would dissolve into stillness.

Much of the time, the arena was quiet enough to read bedtime stories aloud.

So strange … but then maybe not. No event at these Olympics brought so much pain to the host country as hockey. The Russian hockey team lost to the U.S. in the aforementioned shootout that was, for many Americans, the emotional peak of these Olympics and was for Russian fans the very symbol of fraud. A goal-ahead goal by the Russians was nullified because the cage of the net was slightly off its mooring. Russians who even conceded the point that the net WAS off still believed that U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick had been the one to knock it off. Angry fans demonstrated in Moscow. Television networks replayed the disallowed goal again and again.

Then, more disconcerting, the Russian team disappeared in a 3-1 quarterfinal loss to Finland that featured no controversy and also no life from a gifted collection of Russian players who never quite came together.

So, it is logical that there simply wasn’t much enthusiasm left for the sport. Tack on the Russians’ famous reticence – something that various non-Russian figure skaters noticed during their soundless programs – and what you had was a striking lack of energy and volume. We grow so used to the biggest sporting events being loud and the tension being almost tangible.

But Friday, early in the second period, Canada’s Jay Bouwmeester – a tough defenseman not necessarily known for his playmaking abilities – slapped a pass that Jamie Benn deflected over Quick to give Canada that 1-0 lead. And then the rest of the game just kind of melted away almost unnoticed. Those sounds you associate with a close and important hockey game – the roars for developing chances, the groans when shots slip wide, the gasps when the winning team narrowly escapes – were largely nonexistent. It was a bit like being in a Vegas casino with no clocks. Time just gushes away.

VIDEO: Jamie Benn’s shot the only goal

In any case, the U.S. never came especially close to tying the game, and Canada came very close to extending the lead and it was clear, on this day anyway, that there’s still a gap between Canadian and American hockey. Maybe this is as it should be considering how intently Canadian life revolves around the sport (some 80 percent of Canada watched at least part of the 2010 gold medal game).

But it is a blow for a United States still trying to move past the Miracle on Ice. Bylsma made the point after the game that U.S. hockey is at a place now where it hardly needs a miracle to win a gold medal. He’s right, of course. All the U.S. really needs is a couple more goals against Canada. Thing is, that’s the proving to be about as elusive as miracles.