Pre-game reading: A list of All-Star snubs, starting with Cam Atkinson


— Up top, learn more about the early days of Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, the late Canadiens superstar whom Alex Ovechkin tied last night with his 544th career goal.

— A list of 17 All-Star omissions. Cam Atkinson is the first name mentioned, and there’s no doubt he was deserving of consideration. Only five players in the entire league have more goals than Atkinson’s 19. But with each team requiring at least one representative, he didn’t make the cut out of the star-studded Metropolitan Division. A pair of Blue Jackets, Seth Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky, did receive invites. In a related story, Max Pacioretty, David Pastrnak, and Michael Grabner also have 19 goals and didn’t make it. (Sportsnet)

— The one guy with 19 goals who did get invited was Ovechkin. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for the minutes he plays, keeping himself healthy, playing as many games as he has,” Capitals teammate Jay Beagle said. “He sometimes gets a bad rap, but seeing him from the inside and seeing what he does and how hard he works, it’s a special thing.” (Washington Post)

— It still remains to be seen if NHLers will participate in the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, but it’s worth noting that not a single American goalie was named to the All-Star Game. Granted, Jonathan Quick is hurt, so he couldn’t play anyway. But both Ben Bishop and Cory Schneider, USA’s other two goalies at the World Cup, are having down seasons. If NHLers do go to South Korea, it will be interesting to see which three American netminders make the cut. John Gibson and Connor Hellebuyck should be in the running as well. Maybe even Scott Darling, too. (Olympic Talk)

— The Boston Bruins could probably use a winger like Gabriel Landeskog, but Joe Haggerty argues they’d be nuts to trade Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy in order to make it happen. “The notion of trading McAvoy or Carlo should be a non-starter, even for a talented 24-year-old player like Landeskog who has years of solid productivity in front of him. It appears the Bruins agree, especially now that Carlo has impressed in his first half-season in the NHL and McAvoy dominated all the big moments in helping Team USA win the World Junior championship.” (CSN New England)

— Halfway through the NHL season, it doesn’t look like Canada will get skunked again. After no Canadian teams made the playoffs in 2015-16 (for the first time since 1969-70), at least one, Montreal, seems a sure thing to be in the postseason come April. And if the playoffs started today, three others — Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton — would join the Habs. The remaining three — Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Toronto — are hardly out of the race either. (CBC Sports)

Enjoy the games!