ARLINGTON, Va. - After Alex Ovechkin became the Washington Capitals' only player headed to the NHL all-star game, teammates Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom said all the right things Thursday about not being chosen.
Their coach and some other members of the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference were a tad less diplomatic.
"We know on merit that Nick and Mike and maybe Alex Semin should all be on that, but that's not how the scenario goes and it's not because they don't deserve to be on that," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's the way the whole thing is situated - the way they pick."
Goalie Jose Theodore, twice an all-star for other teams, also spoke strongly.
"There are some stars but it's not all the stars," Theodore said. "The league should really review the system."
Boudreau called the all-star voting "dumb" last week, when reigning MVP Ovechkin was left out of the Eastern Conference's starting lineup chosen by fans. Ovechkin did get his third all-star selection Thursday, but Boudreau wasn't pleased about the other reserve choices for the Jan. 25 game in Montreal.
"As a personal opinion, I don't agree with the process," Boudreau said. "People would much rather see the best players in the world rather than one representative of every team.
"But that's the way it is for now, so that's the way we'll live with it."
Boudreau could join Ovechkin at the all-star game as the East's assistant coach if Washington wins one of its next two games.
Green led NHL defencemen with 18 goals last season and is currently fourth with 10, despite missing 12 of 41 games for the Southeast Division leaders. He ranks first among defencemen in average points per game.
Backstrom's 45 points rank second on his team and seventh in the conference, and he's tied for the league lead with 22 power-play points.
"I don't think it lessens at all how good of a year they've had, both those guys," forward Matt Bradley said. "And, I mean, to us, they're all-stars.
"And I think everybody around the league who's played against them knows they're all-stars."
Semin's 14 goals and 20 assists in only 23 games - he was leading the NHL in scoring before getting injured in November - put him second in the league in points per game with 1.48.
"I don't know why Semin is not over there. And Greenie and Backie are, like, top players in the league right now," said Ovechkin, who entered Thursday tied for the NHL lead in goals with 27 and second with 53 points. "It's pretty strange to me."