Amid much fanfare, the AHL All Stars were announced today. Representing the Phantoms will be Goalie Anthony Stolarz and Center Nick Cousins. Before I get off on a rant here, let me just say that both of those young men deserve the honor, and I’m proud to have them represent our team in Syracuse at the end of the month. I’ve been a fan of Stolie all season long, and Cousins–I wear his jersey to about half of the games. Let’s just say I had them both on MY ballot. (Editor’s note: Kram doesn’t really get a ballot.)
The glaring omission by the AHL is winger Petr Straka. Straka leads the entire AHL in goals. That’s 30 teams spread across four divisions and not one player has more goals than Petr Straka. I guess the Atlantic division didn’t need a guy who scores goals? It’s an absolute snub, and I don’t like it. You want to win hockey games? Guess what, you have to score goals. Assists are all fine and dandy, but you win games with goals. You want to ask me to take a player off the roster so that I can get Straka on? Sure, I’ll take off anybody–anybody who’s scored fewer goals than Petr Straka this season. Straka deserves the honor. He deserves to play. He deserves what ever kind of check they get for playing in the fake games (it’s 3/3 and 4/4 stuff similar to what the NHL is also doing this year.)
I guess the thing that has me even more upset–and why this is a separate post and not merely a mention in tomorrow’s “Hockey Night” post–is that no one is really saying it. Media covering the Phantoms are rightfully praising the play of Stolie and Nicky, but few and far between are the mentions of Straka getting snubbed. On Twitter nary a mention–so much so that I thought perhaps he’d made it and that I had mis-read it. Once fans started questioning, many of those in the media dismissed the issue or tried to justify it in some way. He has the most goals. He’s been snubbed, and that needs to be said. This isn’t as bad as complaining about overtime taking too long, but it’s close.
So now I feel better–perhaps Strax can get some rest and stay out of the skates for a couple days and come back afterwards with a chip on his shoulder and score even more goals. And, yes, as Rotruck pointed out, there are often injuries and call-ups and whatnot which could impact the final roster by the time we get to January 31–so maybe he does still get to go.
But I say he was snubbed.
(Cover Photo: Cheryl Pursell)