I'm hearing rumblings that when the NHL releases its list of the remaining 36 players to play in the All-Star Game Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C., both Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson will be named.
This will be the first All-Star Game for either, and it's kind of neat they are going together.
It's a surprise to many that Richards has never been named before. There are myriad reasons. There was no All-Star Game last season because of the Olympics or he would have been a lock. He also has been a slow starter in the past and has piled up his points after the All-Star Game, which allowed him to slip through the cracks a few times. He also was on a Tampa Bay team where Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis were pretty much locks to go every season.
So, it should be a special trip for him. He ranked seventh in the league in scoring last season with 91 points and ranks sixth this season with 49 points, so he clearly is what the league is looking for in terms of All-Stars.
Eriksson last season ranked 23rd in the league in scoring with 71 points and he currently ranks eighth in the league with 46 points. It will be a surprise to some to see his name on this list, but he definitely has earned it and I think the Stars would have been very disappointed if he wasn't named.
The All-Star Game is going through some major changes this season. The East/West format is gone, and they will instead have the 42 players (six have already been voted in by the fans) vote for two captains. The two captains will then have a draft to pick up the two teams. The draft will be held Jan. 28 and shown on Versus and TSN.
So we'll see how this all shakes out.