The Mirtle All-stars

They may tell you differently, but this is the team NHLers really want to make.

No it's not. That doesn't even make sense. But with the all-star team reserves set to be named for the Western Conference tomorrow and the Eastern Conference on Friday, here are my somewhat wacky picks for the 30 reserve players.

Please note that I'm taking into consideration everything, including defensive and special teams performance, and that there's no need to name a player from each team.

Eastern Conference

Martin Brodeur's already in, meaning the fans took the easy way out. The East hasn't exactly been kind to netminders this season, but the contenders for these two spots basically boil down to Tim Thomas, Cristobal Huet, Tomas Vokoun, Martin Biron, Martin Gerber, Henrik Lundqvist and Rick DiPietro. I choose:

Tim Thomas, Boston: Gets the nod here for a ridiculous save percentage (.931)
Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers: Has kept the lowest-scoring team in the league in the hunt

Sergei Gonchar, Pittsburgh: Has been surprisingly solid defensively
Paul Martin, New Jersey: Plays the toughest minutes as new No. 1
Brian Campbell, Buffalo: One of the few bright spots for Sabres
Tobias Enstrom, Atlanta: Calder candidate has impressed in every way

Dany Heatley, Ottawa: Twenty-five goals and plus-32
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay: On pace for 97 points
Jason Spezza, Ottawa: NHL's top player in points per minute (5-on-5)
Mats Sundin, Toronto: Could be a career year at age 36
Mike Richards, Philadelphia: Suddenly an offensive dynamo
Alex Kovalev, Montreal: Best season in five years
Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta: Dominant offence, terrible defence
Alex Ovechkin, Washington: Leads NHL in power-play goals
Scott Gomez, Rangers: So much for a slump

Western Conference

Roberto Luongo was the no-brainer choice made by the fans, but there have been several terrific netminding performances in the West this season (Chris Osgood and Manny Legace get honourable mentions). Here are my picks for the two other deserving goaltenders:

Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose: Has started every game and leads league in wins
Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix: His play with the Coyotes has been Hart-worthy

Chris Pronger, Anaheim: Top defensive defender is fifth in points among blueliners
Sergei Zubov, Dallas: Ageless wonder has been terrific
Brent Burns, Minnesota: 22-year-old star in the making
Derek Morris, Phoenix: Plus-10 despite matching against top lines every night

Mike Ribeiro, Dallas: As much production as Thornton so far
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim: Doing it all for Ducks and plus-17
Jonathan Toews, Chicago: Has been a star when healthy
Paul Stastny, Colorado: Facing tough assignments with Sakic out
Brenden Morrow, Dallas: Incredibly underrated star
Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton: Terrific year despite power-play struggles
Patrick Sharp, Chicago: Top penalty killer on pace for 40 goals
Kristian Huselius, Calgary: Imagine that — a huge year under Keenan
Joe Thornton, San Jose: Quietly having another great season

Honourable mentions:
East: Vokoun, Coburn, T. Kaberle, Antropov, Whitney, Horton
West: Osgood, Rafalski, Ohlund, Lehtinen, Hemsky, H. Sedin

Eastern Conference
Martin Brodeur
Andrei Markov, Zdeno Chara
Sidney Crosby, Vinny Lecavalier, Daniel Alfredsson

Western Conference
Roberto Luongo**
Nicklas Lidstrom, Dion Phaneuf
Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Jarome Iginla

UPDATE Luongo's opted to pull out of the game, so I'm going to give his spot to Osgood. I know he plays for the best team in hockey but a 19-2-1 record (!) and proof from the numbers junkies is enough to earn him the spot.

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