Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Blogger All-Star Game 2011

Matt of DownGoesSpezza.com and I have made a little friendly bet between ourselves. As a Blackhawks (me) and Flyers (him) pair of bloggers, it's only natural for us to feel a little... competitive after last year. So we took the All-Star Game roster and held our own draft.

We're going to run this two ways: one, we're both going to set lineups and run them through NHL11 and see whose team wins. Then we're also going to see how the real players do in the real ASG weekend.

Whichever of our teams does overall better will be declared the winner. Whoever the loser is will have to change their Twitter avatar to the picture of the Captain of the other person's team: in Matt's case, that means he would have to change his avatar to Jonathan Toews; in mine, that would be Mike Richards; and have to keep it up for a week. 

We picked our rosters based on ASG rules. I got Coach Q and Haviland; Matt got Vigneault/Laviolette. We then picked first our team Captain, then our two alternative captains (following the two forward/one defenseman rule); and then we followed the format that all goalies had to be chosen by the 10th round and all defensemen by 15th. After we picked our teams, we then picked six rookies apiece.

We'll have our lineups figured out later, but for the meantime, here's our teams. Players are posted in the order they were picked by us in the draft.

* * *

TEAM HOCKEYBROAD (a.k.a. "Team Toews") - Blue jerseys

Coach: Quenneville/Haviland

Team Captain: Jonathan Toews (C) - Shouldn't be surprising to anybody who knows I like the Hawks and that I admire Toews' skills not only with the puck, but his leadership skills. Olympian. Conn Smythe winner. Captained the Stanley Cup winning team. Gives his all every single game.

Alternative Captain 1: Steven Stamkos (C) - I admit I partially picked Stamkos so I could get him before DGS could - one of the NHL's top snipers/scorers; but he's an impressive player. Think he'd also work well with Toews.

Alternative Captain 2: Nicklas Lidstrom (D) - One of, if not the most experienced of the All-Stars; his experience in the ASG and his skill with the puck made him my top D-man choice. (That, and Matt beat me to Buff.) 

Tim Thomas (G) - His season this year. Enough said.

Alex Ovechkin (LW) - After watching 24/7 for the Winter Classic, and knowing his antics from some past years, Ovechkin will add fun and sass to a team. And Ovie paired with Captain Serious would actually be good.

Carey Price (G) - Like his performance this year. And loved his pre-season sass.

Patrick Sharp (LW) - My favorite Blackhawk. Oh, and tied for 3rd most goals in the league doesn't hurt, either. Super-skilled with the puck; makes things happen.

Daniel Sedin (LW) - Choosing between the Sedins is tough. Daniel's the scorer; Henrik sets up the plays. Knew DGS would choose whichever one I didn't!

Kris Letang (D) - Racking up the assists for Pittsburgh. I like two-way D-men who shine.

Marc-Andre Fleury (G) - Have to admit I ended up with Fleury because DGS had already picked his 3 goalies. But loved Fleury's sass in 24/7. Love goalies with a sense of humor.

Tobias Enstrom (D) - Enjoying watching this Swedish defenseman on the Thrashers. He's also among the tops in the league on assists. Again - 2-way D-men!

Dan Boyle (D) - Olympian. Another D-man who is racking up assists left and right. Sharrrrk!

Marc Staal (D) - Ok, I admit I liked the idea of the two Staal brothers playing together; had to get both Staals on the team first. 
Martin St Louis (RW) - Already got Stamkos; needed to get his wingman. Not to mention that St. Louis, in his own right, is a putting up points and assists at a blazing clip.

Erik Karlsson (D) - Admittedly, Karlsson was the last D-man available and I was down to spot #15. His numbers aren't bad, however.

Loui Eriksson (LW) - Another Swede! (Maybe I'll be Team Sweden.) Another Olympian! Another guy racking up great numbers, especially assists.

Matt Duchene (C) - NHL sophomore already on pace to beat his impressive rookie year.

Eric Staal (C) - Hometown Captain. Great stats this year. Was surprised to pick him up this late in draft.

Corey Perry (RW) - One pace to have a career year. Other than that, not really sure why I picked him.

Patrick Kane (RW) - I was trying to get DGS to pick up Kane, thus giving him two Blackhawks on his squad (ha ha *coughcough*), but he didn't fall for it.

Patrik Elias (LW) - To be on pace for his past years' records on a year when the Devils are playing badly means that Elias is still making a lot of effort on a team that's having issues winning.

Rookie squad: Picked 'em because I like their play, or they're lighting up the scoresheet. Oh and Shattenkirk? One of the best hockey names of the year.

Logan Couture
Kevin Shattenkirk
Taylor Hall
Derek Stepan
Tyler Seguin
Cam Fowler

My lines:
Alex Ovechkin (LW) - Jonathan Toews (C) -  Corey Perry (RW)
Daniel Sedin (LW) - Steven Stamkos (C) - Martin St Louis (RW)

Patrick Sharp (LW) - Eric Staal (C) - Patrick Kane (RW) 
Loui Eriksson (LW) -  Matt Duchene (C) - Patrik Elias¹ (RW)

Nicklas Lidstrom (D) - Tobias Enstrom (D) replaced by Keith Yandle (D)
Kris Letang (D)  - Marc Staal (D)
Erik Karlsson (D) - Dan Boyle (D)

Marc-Andre Fleury (G) - 1st period
Carey Price (G) - 2nd period
Tim Thomas (G) - 3rd period

¹ Elias is a left winger. Known for his ability to score from anywhere on the ice, however, he probably would not have much issue filling in at right wing.

* * *

TEAM DOWN GOES SPEZZA (a.k.a. "Team Kesler") - White/red jerseys

Coaches: Vigneault/Laviolette

Team Captain: Ryan Kesler
Alternative Captains: Dustin Byfuglien, Sidney Crosby replaced by Paul Stastny

Duncan Keith (D)
Jonas Hiller (G)
Cam Ward (G)
Henrik Lundqvist (G)
Henrik Sedin (C)
Shea Weber (D)
Zdeno Chara (D)
Claude Giroux (RW)
Brent Burns (D)
Mike Green (D)
Anze Kopitar (C)
Jarome Iginla (RW) replaced by Danny Briere
David Backes (RW)
Brad Richards (C)
Rick Nash (RW)
Evgeni Malkin (C) replaced by Paul Stastny
Phil Kessel (RW)
Ales Hemsky (RW) replaced by Martin Havlat

Rookie squad:
Jordan Eberle replaced by Jamie McBain
Jeff Skinner called up to main squad; replaced by PK Subban
Michael Grabner
Tyler Ennis
Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Evgeny Dadonov

Feel free to run these through your own NHL11 simulation and let us know the results!

* * *

-- First simulation run of original teams resulted in a 2-1 win by team Toews over Team Kesler. Go go team blue!
-- 1/26: Teams updated with replacement players; we will run another sim of the game w/new lines

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