Lundqvist wanted to make All-Star team, will rest instead

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New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist told the New York Daily News that he wanted to make the 2015 NHL All-Star Game roster, yet he’s not using that “snub” as motivation, either.

“Not really,” Lundqvist said. “I’ve been planning not to go (to Columbus in late January), spend time with family and recharge. I feel like there are a lot of good goalies and the competition is tough, but I think about it. I want to be one of those guys, obviously. I see myself as a guy that can compete against the guys that are there, but at the same time there are guys having strong seasons right now.

It’s easy to see why Lundqvist isn’t totally heartbroken about this situation, especially since he’s probably been the most consistently “All-Star caliber” goalie in the NHL during the last decade or so. He’s made three teams, yet with how erratically the events have been happening lately, his frequently elite numbers argue that he doesn’t have much to prove.

Beyond that, one wonders how many players are secretly glad to get the break, even ones who don’t profess to planning exotic vacations like Joe Thornton did. Lundqvist, 32, noted that he’ll use the break to “recharge” and spend time with his family.

In a way, the Rangers are probably glad he didn’t make it, unless this disrupts his rhythm.

Lundqvist has been absolutely lights out since December 8, winning 11 of 12 games, pitching a shutout and allowing two goals or less in all but two contests.

After another slow start (5-3-0 with a troubling .891 save percentage in October), “The King” has ranked among the league’s best once again. He probably doesn’t need an All-Star nod to confirm that.

Did you know? Caps’ Backstrom has never played in an All-Star Game

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Any All-Star roster is going to have some noteworthy snubs on it, that’s just an inevitability given how much talent there is to choose from. But if there’s one guy that stands out on the list of absentees, it’s Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom.

That’s not just because he got held off of this year’s roster, although that’s obviously part of it. With 13 goals and 41 points in 41 contests, there’s no question that he’s deserving of a spot. However, what sets him apart is the fact that he’s been consistently snubbed. In fact, the 27-year-old has never played in an All-Star Game.

This is despite the fact that since Backstrom entered the league in 2007-08, he’s tied with Daniel Sedin for ninth in scoring with 535 points in 536 contests. Only Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Martin St. Louis, Henrik Sedin, Joe Thornton, Ryan Getzlaf, and Patrick Kane have done better than him since he made his debut.

“It’s kind of sad, actually,” Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby told CSN Washington. “He’s one of the best players in the world, so it’s unfortunate.

“He’s exactly what you want in a leader. He’s not flashy, he doesn’t self-promote. That’s what you want in a guy that’s going to lead our team. We see it every day. He’s one of the very few who can play every single part of the game very well. He’s the heartbeat of our team.”

Capitals coach Barry Trotz was even more passionate on the subject.

“I was shocked he’s never played in an All-Star Game,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s a crime that he hasn’t, watching how good he is.

“Backy has been our best forward. Not taking anything away from Ovi or anybody else, but he’s been our most consistent guy night in and night out.”

As far as Backstrom is concerned, it’s not that big a deal. He’ll take the opportunity to rest minor injuries and go on a vacation with his girlfriend. At the same time, he admits it would have been an honor to finally get the chance to represent the Capitals.

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.

Goalie Nods: Sharks, Niemi look to bounce back vs. Rangers

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Niemi looks to rebound from loss vs. Blues

Antti Niemi has lost two of his last three starts – both coming against the St. Louis Blues. He has allowed 11 goals on 48 shots as the Sharks were out-scored 14-4 against St. Louis. Niemi was pulled after 33 minutes Thursday’s 7-2 loss to the Blues. Alex Stalock started the Sharks’ only other game against New York this season – a 4-0 loss on Oct. 19. Niemi is 16-10-4 this season with a 2.63 G.A.A. and a .910 save percentage.

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start for the Rangers, who will look to extend their win streak to five games.

Elsewhere…

Senators at Coyotes: Craig Anderson vs. Mike Smith

Islanders at Blue Jackets: Chad Johnson vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Red Wings at Capitals: Jimmy Howard vs. Braden Holtby

Penguins at Canadiens: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Carey Price

Hurricanes at Blues: Cam Ward vs. Brian Elliott

Flames at Canucks: Jonas Hiller vs. Ryan Miller

Jets at Kings: Michael Hutchinson vs. Jonathan Quick