Not only has The New York Rangers had one of the best starts to the season, but New York is 24-6-2 since Oct. 29. After a slow beginning to the season with an uninspiring 3-3-2, the Rangers have fans cheering since they haven’t been first in the Eastern Conference so late in the season since 1995-96. Thanks to impressive netminding, leadership and scoring skill New York can boast three players who are heading to the All-Star Game in Ottawa on Jan. 29.
The League’s Hockey Operations Department tabulated votes preparing to fill all slots on the All-Star roster. Scrambling Tuesday afternoon they took on the task to name the 36 remaining all-stars and 12 young stars for the All-Star Game Jan 26-29 at Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place. Choosing the most deserving five goaltenders, 10 defensemen, 21 forwards and 12 rookies to join the six players selected in fan balloting took much preparing for the announcement Thursday afternoon.
Rangers Coach John Tortorella clinched a coaching spot for the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game. The coach of the team in each conference with the best points percentage halfway through the season, which was Jan. 9, will participate in the All-Star festivities. Tortorella was guaranteed a spot because Boston’s coaching staff, led by Claude Julien, paved its way into the All-Star Game by winning the Stanley Cup last season.
Was there any doubt that Henrik Lundqvist would rank in the top-five for goaltenders? No snub for King Henry with 209,943 votes earning his passage to the All-Star Game. Lundqvist is 17-4-1 since Nov. 3. Three shutouts and holding opponents to two or fewer goals in 21 games this season earned the Swede a well-deserved trip to Ontario.
New York’s top forward racking up votes on the All-Star ballot was Marian Gaborik with 133,374 votes ranking him 27th. Gaborik made the cut as the Rangers leading scorer and third int he league with 23 goals.
Dan Girardi, the defenseman with the most ice time for the Rangers, will represent the blue line for New York. The veteran earned 78,411 votes as the leading write-in candidate. Girardi is the epitome of the stalwart blueliner for the Bluehsirts and deserves the nod for Ottawa.
Brad Richards received votes ranking at No. 36 with 86,001 points but did not make the roster. Richards’s popularity stems from his high-profile New York debut with a nine-year $58 million dollar contract. Since arriving in New York, Richards scoring spurt has been a burst of inspiration for the Eastern Conference leaders. Richards’s private life, dating actress Olivia Munn, has also given Richards some extra time in the media.
Defenseman Marc Staal who has been out most of the season with post-concussion symptoms received 87,902 votes for the 22nd spot, but did not make the cut. Staal returned for the Winter Classic Jan. 2 after suffering a concussion sustained in February from a hit by his brother, Eric, the Carolina Hurricanes’ captain
Rookie Carl Hagelin was rumored to show off his speed at the Honda SuperSkills competition Jan. 28 at All-Star Weekend but he was not selected. The former University of Michigan captain has stepped up for the Rangers and he’s playing like he’s a natural New Yorker. Talents like Hagelin’s have granted the opportunity for the Rangers to exhibit their robust style.
The All-Star roster fosters the tops 27 players representing the excellence in all 30 teams, including the accomplishments and improvements on the season.