COLUMBUS, Ohio - The NHL all-star game has lost some of its lustre as stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin joined the group of injured players who pulled out of the event.
The cornerstones of the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise are out with lower-body injuries. They'll miss all-star weekend along with Sergei Bobrovsky of the host Columbus Blue Jackets, MVP candidate Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings and Erik Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche.
Some of the early injuries gave the league some time to find replacements, but late scratches presented a major problem with most of the viable replacements already out of reach on vacation.
The show will go on, with rookies like Filip Forsberg getting called up to play in the game, but veterans are mixed on banged-up stars choosing to rest rather than appear at the NHL's showcase event.
There are still plenty of stars here including Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Those players are out to put on a show even in the absence of Crosby and Malkin.