Thanks to Alex Ovechkin deciding to sit things out, James Neal can finally say he’s going to the All-Star Game.
Neal was named as the replacement for Ovechkin to head to Ottawa to be part of the All-Star festivities in Canada’s capital and he heads there as a more than deserving candidate.
Neal has 27 goals at the break, tying his career-high total. His goal total is best on the Penguins, even beating out potential MVP front-runner and fellow All-Star Evgeni Malkin. Malkin does have the edge in points, however. For Neal, missing out on being named in the first place was a bit of a surprise, but with Ovechkin opting to not go because of his three-game suspension, Neal gets the very deserving call to play.
Neal joins up with Malkin and Kris Letang as All-Star Penguins in Ottawa and is the fourth player named as a replacement for the game. Letang replaced Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle replaced Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu, and Philly’s Scott Hartnell is taking the place of Chicago captain Jonathan Toews.