The NHL All-Star Game is this weekend in Nashville, and while teams around the league are sending their best players to play in a 3-on-3 tournament, one of the biggest stars will be absent.
Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has been ruled out for the festivities this weekend after the team released a statement saying Ovechkin is nursing a “lower body injury” and is using the break to rest and gear up for the remainder of the season. Ovechkin is not only one of the NHL’s most popular players, but he was also voted captain of the Metropolitan Division for the weekend by fans. His absence presents a big problem for the NHL: How do you go about replacing a star like “The Great Eight”?
In my opinion, there is one option that would satisfy all parties around the league, and it’s very simple. The NHL needs to replace Metro Division captain Alex Ovechkin with Pacific Division captain John Scott.
Now, before you go calling me crazy, the idea actually makes perfect sense. The Capitals already have 2 players set to attend the game in goalie Braden Holtby and center Nicklas Backstrom. And while Scott has no affiliation with the Metro Division, he technically isn’t even on an NHL roster so what difference does it make?
Replacing Scott as the captain of the Pacific Division is an even easier task. Right now the Arizona Coyotes are the only team in the NHL without a representative in Nashville. As you may recall, they traded Scott to Montreal in early January. Arizona is having a great bounce back season and is very deserving of an All-Star rep. Here are 4 very deserving members of the Coyotes who could fill in as Pacific Division captain:
1) Max Domi – Domi is a Calder Trophy candidate for rookie of the year. His hands are among the best in the game and seeing him alongside players like Johnny Gaudreau and Drew Doughty would be terrifying to opponents. Domi is 4th in rookie scoring this season with 32 points.
2) Oliver Ekman-Larsson – The Swedish defenseman is finally getting the respect he deserves and will be a finalist for the Norris Trophy when the season is finished. OEL is 2nd among NHL defensemen with 14 goals, and is tied for 2nd among all skaters with 6 game winning goals.
3) Anthony Duclair – Not too far behind Domi in the rookie scoring race is teammate Anthony Duclair. “The Duke” is one of the fastest players in the game. Not only would he be a favorite for “fastest skater” in the Saturday skills competition, but watching him skate up and down the ice in 3-on-3 would be a real treat for fans.
4) Shane Doan – “Captain Coyote” is 39 years old, but don’t tell him that. Doan leads Arizona with 17 goals this season and one final All-Star Game appearance would be a memorable end to a career that’s surely winding down. If the ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr can handle the up and down action of 3-on-3, then there’s no reason why Doan can’t.
You can’t replace Alex Ovechkin’s talent on the ice or even his flare off of it, but this scenario is win-win-win for everyone involved. John Scott still gets to be an All-Star captain, Arizona fans get to see one of their young (or old) stars play in the All-Star Game, and Washington still sends 2 players to Nashville while resting their most important asset. Get it done, NHL!