Yesterday, the NHL All-Star Game voting went live. This is currently a captain-only vote, so rather than voting for all your favorite Los Angeles Kings, you can only choose one. At least, one per ballot, and you get ten of those per day. So you technically could vote for a bunch of guys, but we’re pretending you get one precious vote.
How should you use it? We have some suggestions.
Carlos: The Kings are a team fans outside LA love to hate, so you know it sticks in their craw that the center piece of the NHL's centennial celebration will be held at Staples Center. What King embodies that hatred more than our lovable former captain, Dustin Brown? Imagine the venom spewed on blogs across America when it is announced that Brown, master of the dive, breaker of knees, is allowed to contaminate this year's All Star festivities, like an anti-John Scott. The fact that Tomas Hertl will likely miss his chance to play in the game due to a knee injury only makes Brown's selection all the sweeter.
Derek: Drew Doughty. I know it's boring, not exciting, obvious, use whatever word you want to describe it. Doughty is just my favorite player in the entire league to watch play. The way he controls the game is peerless in the NHL, and a joy in the All-Star format. Plus, I still feel like he is underrated around the league. He just won the Norris Trophy, but I've heard too many people besmirch his victory and that is not okay with me.
Eric: I’ve already made a case for Alec Martinez, but there's no one I'd rather see than Anze Kopitar. I don't care that his production is a little off, or that he's been injured, or that Jeff Carter has the better resume. We're in LA, and do we really want Connor McDavid captaining the Pacific Division in our hometown? No. Pick our captain to be the captain.
Jack: Peter Budaj should get to man his home net during this season's all-star weekend. In addition to giving the Kings much needed goalie relief, Budaj has been a top-10 performer in the league this season. Only a few goalies have won more games and rank higher than him in GAA. It would make for a great story, although he certainly would not be out of place.
JJ: I vote for Peter Budaj. He has valiantly kept the Kings in the playoff race in the absence of Jonathan Quick with a 12-7-1 record and 2.09 GAA. Those are good numbers in their own right.
James: It's rather frightening to think where the team would be without Jeff Carter. He's 32nd in the league in points but 12th in goals, and knowing how hard both are to come by for this team I'd say he's well deserving of a spot on the Western Conference roster... or North America roster... or whatever roster the league is running out this year.
Alternatively: Jordan Nolan! His pummeling of Jared Boll was fantastic; I firmly believe he received 100+ congratulatory texts/calls from players across the league that night. If John Scott can get a nod, so should Nolan.
Robyn: I was wavering between Devin Setoguchi and Peter Budaj because they both have great, ASG-worthy stories. But I'm giving the edge to Budaj as the 34-year-old journeyman whom no one really believed could do it. He's been a surprising revelation and has given the Kings a chance to win every night. What more can you ask from a third stringer, especially one who might only be in the organization in the first place because Patrik Bartosak was an abusive asshole to his girlfriend and because JF Berube got claimed on waivers?
Sarah: I’m sure the early favorites to represent the Kings at the All Star Game will be Anze Kopitar or Jeff Carter, but why not use your NHL-given right to vote to honor Trevor Lewis? He’s universally recognized by his teammates as an unsung hero in the game; heck, he scored one of the most memorable goals (shorthanded!) in last season’s playoff run. Other players may have slicker moves or better hands, but maybe Lewis can net some highlight-reel goals -- there’s gotta be an empty net at some point in the game, right? Besides, maybe we can get him to revisit this outfit for the breakaway competition:
Now that you’ve heard our say, go vote here! Carter, Doughty, Kopitar, and Martinez actually have their names on the ballot, but you can write in anyone you want. Have at it.