Right now, the list of players who have dropped out of the All-Star Game is pretty impressive: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Ales Hemsky, Jordan Eberle, Tobias Enstrom...it's looking more and more like the Pro Bowl. So far, Martin Havlat has been added to the game to bolster the numbers, and it's a well deserved invite. But there's still spots to fill, and one of those should go to a hard working, dedicated leader who, while maybe lacking some flash and gaudy numbers, is a star for representing his franchise and setting the tone for everyone on his team.
That leader is Patrice Bergeron.
Granted, the NHL could find some shootout specialist to triple-deke the goalies out of their skates, and make the casual fans happy. In my mind, though, the All-Star Game should be a reward for players who truly lead their teams, maybe not on the score sheet or in the stat lines, but in how they play and how they carry themselves. Bergeron does not appear at the top of scoring or assist lists. But he is top 10 in +/-, and his attitude and work ethic have turned him into a critical, core component of the Bruins.
Normally, without the extravagant numbers, I would have difficulty in recommending such a player to the ASG. It's especially difficult this year with so many players having fantastic seasons. But the situation that has presented itself means that the NHL has the opportunity to reward a player who means the world to his franchise and it's fans.
It's time to make what we know official.
Patrice Bergeron. All Star.