Wednesday, January 11, 2012
All-Stars to be announced tomorrow -- will Tavares (and Moulson) get the call?
The NHL will announce the remaining 36 all-stars tomorrow, and assuming that they are not all from the Ottawa Senators (who already have four players in the game), there is a good chance that John Tavares will get his first invite to the game, which will be played on January 29th in Ottawa.
Tavares has cracked the Top-20 in scoring with his recent play (he's tied for 20th) and his 39 points (14-25-39) have come on just 93 Islander goals. He is only 11 points behind Henrik Sedin's league-leading 50 points, but Sedin is playing on a team that has scored 49 more goals than the Islanders. Tavares is on pace to have the first 80-point season by an Islander since Ziggy Palffy had 87 in 1997-98.
You could make the point that Tavares' linemate Matt Moulson also deserves an invite. Moulson became the 8th player in the NHL to reach 20 goals this season last night (Radim Vrbata later became the 9th) -- he is the first Islander with three 20+ goal seasons since Jason Blake. Moulson, who also leads the Isles in +/- and in power play goals; he is one of two players in the NHL to open the scoring 7 times this season (Evander Kane is the other). Moulson is on pace for 41 goals this season; Jason Blake is the only Islander to have 40 goals since the lockout -- the last to have more was also Ziggy Palffy, also in 1997-09 when he had 45.
Given the Isles' place in the standings, this will be a tough sell, however. I expect Tavares to get an invite but not Moulson.
Mark Streit was the last Islander to play in the All-Star Game, back in 2009. There was no game due to the Olympics the following year and while Michael Grabner represented the Isles in the skills competition for rookies last season, he did not play in the game. The Isles have not had two players selected in the same season since 2002, when both Alexei Yashin and Mark Parrish were selected.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick