Posted 11 November 2011 - 01:33 AM
Who do you take off to put Howard on? The only realistic choice I can see (considering both skill and the fact that teams should have at least a couple guys on the ballot) is Jaroslav Halak. And that's because Halak has effectively lost his starter role this season to Brian Elliott, who has had a better season so far than Jimmy Howard - and would therefore be a better replacement.
Howard might play well enough to make the game, but leaving him off the ballot is reasonable. He's an average starter on a team with a bunch of players who are "can't be left off" players. If you could only put four Wings on, who would they be? Z, Dats, Nick, and Kronner. That's the correct answer. Howard, Franzen, Filppula all are good players, but they are all secondary to that top-four. It's like Sakic-Forsberg-Roy-Ozolinsh for the Avs during their heyday. You can push for Foote, but Ozolinsh was the team's top defenseman and one of the best in the league. Kamensky and Ricci deserve mentions as important forwards, but none crack that foursome.
So it's as much about the Wings having a bunch of star players as it is about Howard not being a star player. It's like the All-Star ballot version of how people perceived Chris Osgood; "he's not one of the top three or four players on a great team, and he's given up a couple of bad goals in his career. He's average at best."
If Howard plays like he's capable, he'll be an All-Star. If he plays like he did last year, Joey MacDonald or a trade acquisition will be starting for the Wings in the playoffs.
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