Lidstrom, Datsyuk Drop Out of All Star Game
Stephane Robidas' inclusion was not a surprise to anyone who read Mike Heika's blog Sunday. Patrick Marleau's inclusion was less surprising, perhaps, given the year he's had. The real surprises, however, came with the news that both Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and forward Pavel Datsyuk would sit the game out due to injury, leaving the Wings without ASG representation aside from Mike Babcock.
That Datsyuk was injured was not news after last night's loss to Phoenix. The assumption among frequentors of the Detroit hockey blogosphere was that he would not play in the Game, chosing to rest. The unspoken assumption, it seems, was that one of his teammates would be invited to go instead. Someone like Henrik Zetterberg or Marian Hossa, the thought went, should go over Marleau.
The reported injury to Lidstrom was a definite surprise. It did not seem likely that he had suffered an injury the night before, since he finished the game and looked good doing it, with two goals to his credit. I wrote on my blog that it must be the kind of small injury that players develop over the course of a long season, which is what it did turn out to be. Brian Rafalski seemed the logical replacement, as he has had a strong year playing as Lidstrom's partner. That Robidas was going over Rafalski was ludicrous.
Of course, the explanation for the apparent slight is that the League offered Hossa, Zetterberg, Rafalski, whoever, a spot but they declined, choosing instead to spend the weekends with their families. Ansar Khan confirmed this by emailing the League, since PR head John Hahn did not know himself.
As strange as it is that the ASG won't have any Red Wings on the ice, this Detroit fan is content in the knowledge that his whole team got nearly a week off after a tough road trip. I'm glad the League can't force anyone to go, even though this move doesn't do the NHL many favors on a marketing level.