Schneider Named to All-Star Team

With the NHL All-Star Game mini-tournament coming up later this month in Nashville, it was time to announce the teams that would take part.

The format this year will feature an all-star team from each of the NHL’s four divisions facing each other in a three-on-three tournament.

Each NHL team will be represented with at least one player, with the captains from each division voted on in fan balloting. For the Metropolitan Division, the captain is Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. The division-leading Caps will send two other players to the tournament: forward Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby. Capitals coach Barry Trotz will also be coaching the team due to Washington being in first place in the division at the time of the cutoff. Pittsburgh will also be sending two players: forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang. The obvious omission here is Sidney Crosby, who has been having a down year. Claude Giroux will represent Philly, Brandon Saad will represent Columbus, Justin Faulk will go for Carolina, John Tavares will represent the Isles and Ryan McDonagh is the Rangers’ representative.

Of interest to Devils fans is the Metro Division’s other netminder: Cory Schneider of New Jersey. Cory beat out other Metro candidates like Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers and Jaroslav Halak of the Islanders. But it cannot be denied that he deserves it. He is ranked fifth in the league amongst all goalies in saves (872), sixth in save percentage (.928), sixth in goals against average (2.07) and sixth in shutouts (3).

But more than his stats, he is the Devils team MVP this year and, arguably, last season too. He helped keep them in games they have had no business being in. Right now, he has the Devils in a playoff spot at the midway point of the season, something no one would have seen coming in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the franchise. Cory makes a good representative for the Devils in the mid-season classic.

It also helps that the Devils have played so well in the new three-on-three overtime format. This gave Cory a leg up on some of the other goalies in the division. He will be a real asset to the Metro Division team with the games being three-on-three. Holtby is going because he has been playing really well for a first place team, so that puts Cory in some good company.

Being chosen for the game as a goalie is not an easy feat, especially when the choices are only confined to your division. The Metro Division is, as I mentioned, loaded with great goalies. Some other goaltenders who will be representing their teams are Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay) and Roberto Luongo (Florida) for the Atlantic Division, Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota) and Pekka Rinne (Nashville) for the Central Division and John Gibson (Anaheim) and Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles) for the Pacific Division.

That is a great group to be lumped in with and Cory has shown that he belongs in the elite of the NHL.

A few other All-Stars with New Jersey roots include Jaromir Jagr, former Devil now playing for the Panthers voted captain of the Atlantic Division (against his wishes) and Salem, New Jersey-native Johnny Gaudreau of Calgary playing for the Pacific Division.

The Devils could have easily sent some other candidates: Mike Cammalleri and Kyle Palmieri have been having good seasons, with Palmieri, in particular, topping his goal-scoring total from previous in his career. But, overall, the team is comfortable with Cory as their sole representative. He was a good choice.

The new format should be a good shot in the arm for the NHL’s All-Star Game and it is nice to see that Cory Schneider will get to be a part of it. Congratulations to Cory!

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