By Daniel Friedman
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The NHL All-Star Game is set to take place Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee, and the league hopes the new 3-on-3 format and division tournament will breathe life back into the event.
But there were less roster spots to go around, and some pretty glaring omissions. Here are 10 players who, surprisingly, won’t be participating:
1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
Crosby is the face of the league and, arguably, the best player over the decade since he joined it.
2. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington
Ovechkin, the greatest goal scorer of his era and arguably one of the greatest of all-time, was actually voted into the All-Star Game. He unexpectedly pulled out after Wednesday night’s game, citing a “lower body injury,” and will have to miss a game after the break for skipping out on the festivities.
3. Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers
It hasn’t been the best season for Lundqvist, statistically speaking, and the two goaltenders playing for the Metropolitan Division squad (Braden Holtby, Cory Schneider) are more deserving. That said, it’s strange to see him healthy and not playing in the game.
4. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim
Getzlaf’s resurgence might’ve come too late to earn him a spot, but he’s usually an automatic here.
5. Artemi Panarin, Chicago
The Russian rookie is having a superb season, riding shotgun with Patrick Kane in Chicago and recording 46 points.
6. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles
Kopitar just signed a monster contract extension with the Kings, and he deserves every cent.
7. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona
This must’ve been an oversight, yes? Drew Doughty’s fantastic, but OEL’s had the better season.
8. John Klingberg, Dallas
He probably should’ve made it over Roman Josi, who isn’t undeserving but hasn’t been as productive as Klingberg.
9. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington
Kuznetsov has exploded for 48 points on the season. But hey, Sidney Crosby didn’t make it, either.
10. Corey Crawford, Chicago
Pekka Rinne’s had a rather mediocre year, but the game is in Nashville so he’s going. Crawford, on the other hand, has actually played well enough to deserve a spot.