Nicklas Backstrom snubbed from All-Star game


Prior to this season, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had never made an All-Star game appearance.

And this season, despite leading the Capitals in points with 41, five more than his wingman Alex Ovechkin (selected for his sixth appearance), Backstrom was left out again.

In fact, Ovechkin was the only member of the Caps to make the All-Star game.

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For anybody who has watched the Washington Capitals this season, it’s clear as day that Backstrom has been the motor of this team. He’s constantly making plays and setting up his teammates for success.

He only has 13 goals, but that’s not his role on the team. His role is to set up those goals, which he has done beautifully all season. With 28 assists on the season, he by far leads the Caps in that category and eighth in the NHL in assists.

Even without the original East vs. West format – this season features a “fantasy draft” in which two captains select their team, much like the NFL – Backstrom should have been selected for his first All-Star game. His 41 total points has him tied for 11th in total points in the league.

So, according to voters, the 11th ranked player based on points isn’t worthy of being called an All-Star?

Even head coach Barry Trotz doesn’t agree with it, as he told Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post,

"Ovi’s played very, very well. But Ovi’s been there a million times it seems since Day One. And Nicky hasn’t, which absolutely astonished me … I can’t wrap my head around it or my hands around it that he hasn’t been there."

Obviously, there are a number of factors that took place for this snub to happen.

For starters, Backstrom was up against not just the top centers in the East, but the top Centers in all of the NHL. The Caps also struggled during the early part of the season before picking it up during December.

And one of the biggest reasons is that Backstrom has always been shadowed by Ovechkin. The two have been linemates for years, and goals usually get more of the glory than an assist, although the former often doesn’t happen without the latter.

Word around the Capitals’ clubhouse is that Backstrom is fine with being left out of the All-Star game. But, even if that’s the case, the NHL got it wrong by leaving him out.