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Lightning Round: Hey there, All-Stars

Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy get the nod for the mid-season festivities

2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game - Metropolitan Division v Atlantic Division Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

We’re a little bit behind congratulating Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy for their All-Star selections, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less proud. Of course, we’re still a little disgruntled at the fact that Steven Freakin’ Stamkos wasn’t chosen outright for the team, but there’s still a chance he joins his buddies as part of the Last Men In selection. Go vote for him here.

Even if The Captain doesn’t make it in (and what’s the deal with the NHL not giving him the “C” on the social media images?) having two players selected to a 10-person roster is pretty good, especially considering every team needed representation. Stamkos, despite being sixth in the league in scoring, was likely a victim of that rule.

Drake Batherson was the lone Ottawa Senator named to the team while Dylan Larkin was named as the Detroit Red Wings’ representative. With both of those forwards getting selected, and honestly they are the best choices from those two teams, there just wasn’t a spot for Stamkos (yet).

He still has a chance to get in through the fan vote, or if one of the other players bow out due to injury. The mysterious one-game injuries so a player doesn’t have to go are almost as big of an All-Star tradition as the fastest skater competition.

There was no doubt Andrei Vasilevskiy was getting named to the team. It’s the fourth All-Star selection for the goaltender and he is, without a doubt, one of the top goaltenders in the entire league, let alone the Atlantic Division. Are his numbers where they normally are? Not yet, but if you’re playing 3-on-3 hockey, who else do you want in the net? Plus he’s the reigning Conn Smythe winner.

All Victor Hedman is doing is averaging a point per game as a defenseman. Rasmus Dahlin is the only other blueliner on the Atlantic team as of right now so Hedman will be getting plenty of ice time during the game. This is Hedman’s third selection.

As of right now, the game is still planned for February 5th in Las Vegas. The players are really looking forward to it:

“Obviously it’s a great experience and it’s especially a great city, Vegas,” Vasilevskiy said. “…It’s the perfect city for the All-Star Game. I’m looking forward to it. …. me and Victor and I’m hoping [Steven Stamkos] will join us too (Last Men In vote). It’s a good experience to meet with all the best players around the League and have fun together.”

The skills competition will take place the day before and will feature the return of the breakaway challenge. Do we get another Jagr tribute?

Lightning / NHL News

Victory at home [Raw Charge]

You don’t get extra points for winning pretty or lose points for winning ugly. The Lightning walked away from last night’s game with two points and that’s all that matters. Brayden Point, Ross Colton, and Alex Killorn scored for the Bolts as they won their third game in a row.

How the ‘School Bus Line’ drives the Lightning [Tampa Bay Times]

They’re not young. They’re not fast. They aren’t going to lead the team in scoring or make any All-Star teams. They’re just going to do their job and drive puck possession. For a third line, that’s exactly what the Lightning need.

Beer me that beer:

Ex-NHL player gets deal in sex assault case [The Hockey News]

Reid Boucher pled guilty to a third-degree count of sexual misconduct against a minor. In 2011, the then 17-year-old Boucher had two inappropriate with sexual encounters with the 12-year-old daughter of his billet family. Originally charged with first-degree sexual misconduct, Boucher pled guilty to the lesser charge and will avoid any jail time. Meanwhile, the victim has “struggled with substance abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm in order to cope with the pain”.

Mathieu Darche among finalists for Canadiens GM position [Sportsnet]

Montreal is reportedly down to their final three candidates for the open general manager position. Lightning Director of Hockey Operations Mathieu Darche and former Arizona Coyote Daniel Briere are among the finalists. The organization is expected to make a decision in the upcoming days.

NHL All-Star Snubs and Surprises [ESPN]

Not listed on the Worldwide Leader’s list of snubs - Steven Stamkos. Does that make him a double snub? He didn’t make CBS Sports list either. Triple snub!