The debates over All-Star Game MVPs have raged after almost every one of the 50-odd All-Star Games that have been played.
Well, NHL.com is getting a head start on that argument by picking the MVP of the 2001 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover.
Not surprisingly, there was little consensus.
The NHL.com staff picked five different candidates and the only thing they have in common is they all are forwards. Not, surprisingly, two of the three Carolina Hurricane players in the game received consideration from the staff writers.
|MATT DUCHENE (Avalanche):
It's hard to pick a goalie as MVP, so I will pass on Cam Ward. But he will play the best period of the All-Star Goalies (looking for similar results from Jonas Hiller). Patrick Sharp is going to play well early, but Matt Duchene will score two, assist on two and make for a great interview at the MVP podium.
|STEVEN STAMKOS (Lightning): Sometimes the obvious answer is the right answer. His speed and rocket of a shot are tailor-made for an event like this, and with some of the game's best set-up men on his side, a big game is nearly a foregone conclusion. He will justify being a first-round pick.
Well, for starters, he's the hometown boy and captain/general manager of Team Staal. He'll receive cheers each time he touches the puck and will undoubtedly play an integral role in a victory -- whether it be for a no-look pass or finish in the offensive zone.
He's beloved here and something tells me the members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association who will vote for this award are smitten with Raleigh's 18-year-old sensation. Skinner will cap off the weekend with a huge performance in front of Caniac Nation, which adores him.
|DAVID BACKES (Blues):
I'm going against the grain here. It may be an All-Star Game, but Backes only plays at one speed and that should make him successful in a game that usually lacks grit. I see the hard-nosed Backes crashing the net and getting a couple of lunch-pail goals in what is usually a free-flowing, high-skill game.