We all love Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno but he shouldn’t be the team’s option for the NHL All-Star games “Last Men In” vote.
The NHL All-Star game is a fine event. The three on three format is fine, the skills competition has its moments, but overall its just a decent event. I get others enjoy the actual event it but the shenanigans surrounding the selection of players and player participation is a joke. The Columbus Blue Jackets have two players participating this year, maybe a third, but the whole process is a joke.
It started with the NHL allowing fans to vote for the captain of each divisional squad. Each team had three to five players listed as options and the NHL in their enduring wisdom left off Cam Atkinson who had been the team’s best player this year. I’ve already ranted about why this was an embarrassment so just read this again if you want to rile yourself up.
Then the captains are announced and almost immediately the Metro Captain, Alex Ovechkin, says “Nah, I’m out”. Which is fine! The guy has played so much hockey and done the All-Star schtick for years and if he wants to sit out I have no problem with that. But maybe the NHL should call Ovi and say hey man, you up for this? Cause if not well fudge the numbers (that we don’t release anyways so how would anyone know) and not put you in this position.
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Then the NHL has this “Last Men In” option where the fans can vote in two players from each division. The league went through and, again, arbitrarily picked a player from each team as the lone option for the fans to vote on. Captain Nick Foligno is having a good season, no doubt, and we’d love to see him at the All-Star Game again, but let’s be honest, Artemi Panarin is much more deserving.
The Breadman is leading the team in points with 43, more than double Foligno’s production. That mark is good for 30th overall in the entire NHL. He is doing all this with almost no production on the power play and amidst contract distractions that can’t make it easy to perform. He is clearly more worth of not only All-Star selection, but the opportunity for fans to vote for him.
The same with young star Pierre-Luc Dubois. PLD is second on the team in goals and assist and playing a fantastic two way game against in a division that has some of the league’s best centers. What the 20-year-old is accomplishing this year is incredible and worth of consideration.
Again, this is nothing against Nick Foligno and we will be voting for him like crazy. But the league wants to hold this event to showcase it’s stars and reward the players that have had excellent seasons thus far. Both Panarin and PLD are better options for the “Last Man In” option and the NHL once again has messed up their chance to showcase stars and reward high performing players.