Since the NHL does not have an all-star game this season because of the lockout, and since the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are less than 11 months away, we came up with a different way of picking a 2013 NHL all-star team.
What if, for the all-star weekend, the NHL organized a four-on-four tourney between eight teams: Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, the United States and a team made up of players from the rest of the world?
Each team would be allowed a roster of two goalies, four defencemen and six forwards. So, based on the first half of the 2013 NHL season -- and assuming everybody has 100 per cent health -- whom would you select to represent their country?
Here are our suggestions:
Goalies: Roberto Luongo (Vancouver), Carey Price (Montreal).
Defencemen: Dan Hamhuis (Vancouver), Kris Letang (Pittsburgh), Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis), P.K. Subban (Montreal).
Forwards: Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Rick Nash (N.Y. Rangers), Eric Staal (Carolina), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay), John Tavares (N.Y. Islanders), Jonathan Toews (Chicago).
G: Ondrej Pavelec (Winnipeg), Tomas Vokoun (Pittsburgh).
D: Jan Hejda (Colorado), Jakub Kindl (Detroit), Zbynek Michalek (Phoenix), Marek Zidlicky (New Jersey).
F: Patrik Elias (New Jersey), Jaromir Jagr (Dallas), David Krejci (Boston), Tomas Plekanec (Montreal), Jiri Tlusty (Carolina), Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia).
G: Kari Lehtonen (Dallas), Tuukka Rask (Boston).
D: Toni Lydman (Anaheim), Joni Pitkanen (Carolina), Sami Salo (Tampa Bay), Kimmo Timonen (Philadelphia).
F: Valtteri Filppula (Detroit), Mikko Koivu (Minnesota), Saku Koivu (Anaheim), Lauri Korpikoski (Phoenix), Jussi Jokinen (Carolina), Teemu Selanne (Anaheim).
G: Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus), Semyon Varlamov (Colorado).
D: Sergei Gonchar (Ottawa), Andrei Markov (Montreal), Fedor Tyutin (Phoenix), Slava Voynov (Los Angeles).
F: Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey), Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh), Alex Ovechkin (Washington), Alexander Semin (Carolina), Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis).
G: Peter Budaj (Montreal), Jaroslav Halak (St. Louis).
D: Zdeno Chara (Boston), Andrej Meszaros (Philadelphia), Andrej Sekera (Buffalo), Lubomir Vishnovsky (N.Y. Islanders).
F: Marian Gaborik (N.Y. Rangers), Michal Handzus (San Jose), Marian Hossa (Chicago), Tomas Kopecky (Florida), Richard Panik (Tampa Bay), Tomas Tatar (Detroit).
G: Viktor Fasth (Anaheim), Henrik Lundqvist (N.Y. Rangers).
D: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Phoenix), Tobias Enstrom (Winnipeg), Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), Niklas Kronwall (Detroit).
F: Nicklas Backstrom (Washington), Patrik Berglund (St. Louis), Loui Eriksson (Dallas), Daniel Sedin (Vancouver), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver), Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit).
G: Craig Anderson (Ottawa), Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles).
D: Paul Martin (Pittsburgh), Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis), Ryan Suter (Minnesota), Keith Yandle (Phoenix).
F: Patrick Kane (Chicago), Ryan Kesler (Vancouver), Max Pacioretty (Montreal), Zach Parise (Minnesota), Bobby Ryan (Anaheim), James van Riemsdyk (Toronto).
Best of the rest
(Yes, we know Germany didn't qualify for the Olympics, but we needed them to fill out this team).
G: Thomas Greiss (Germany, San Jose), Jonas Hiller (Switzerland, Anaheim).
D: Rafael Diaz (Switzerland, Montreal), Christian Ehrhoff (Germany, Buffalo), Dennis Seidenberg (Germany, Boston), Mark Streit (Switzerland, N.Y. Islanders).
F: Mikkel Boedker (Denmark, Phoenix), Damien Brunner (Switzerland, Detroit), Jannik Hansen (Denmark, Vancouver), Michael Grabner (Austria, N.Y. Islanders), Anze Kopitar (Slovenia, Los Angeles), Thomas Vanek (Austria, Buffalo).
The Boston Bruins will be the final club to hit the halfway point when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins
The Bruins already enjoy one of the best second-quarter performances at 9-1-1 for 19 points. But the top three teams in the second 12-game segment were the Chicago Blackhawks (11-0-1), Anaheim Ducks (9-1-2), followed by the Bruins, Montreal Canadiens (8-1-3) and Los Angeles Kings (9-3-0).
The worst teams in the second quarter were the New Jersey Devils (3-7-2), Tampa Bay Lightning (4-8-0) and Florida Panthers (3-6-3).
Here are the midway-point records for each NHL team:
Boston (17-3-3), 37 pts
Montreal (15-5-4), 34 pts.
Pittsburgh (16-8-0), 32 pts.
Toronto (15-9-0), 30 pts.
Carolina (14-9-1), 29 pts.
N.Y. Rangers (13-9-2), 28 pts.
Ottawa (12-8-4), 28 pts.
New Jersey (11-8-5), 27 pts.
Winnipeg (12-11-1), 25 pts.
Philadelphia (11-12-1), 23 pts.
N.Y. Islanders (10-11-3), 23 pts.
Washington (10-13-1), 21 pts.
Tampa Bay (10-13-1), 21 pts.
Buffalo (9-13-2), 20 pts.
Florida (7-12-5), 19 pts.
Chicago (21-0-3), 45 pts.
Anaheim (18-3-3), 39 pts.
Los Angeles (14-8-2), 30 pts.
Minnesota (13-9-2), 28 pts.
St. Louis (13-9-2), 28 pts.
Detroit (12-8-4), 28 pts.
Vancouver (11-7-6), 28 pts.
San Jose (11-7-6), 28 pts.
Dallas (12-10-2), 26 pts.
Phoenix (11-10-3), 25 pts.
Nashville (10-9-5), 25 pts.
Colorado (10-10-4), 24 pts.
Calgary (9-11-4), 22 pts.
Edmonton (8-11-5), 21 pts.
Columbus (8-12-4), 20 pts.
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