Dallas Stars Daily Links: All-Star Game Less than Stellar without Crosby, Malkin

Because if there's one thing more exciting than exhibition games, it's meaningless games without the best players there. Also, a look back at the Wizard's photobombs, and Derian Hatcher finally gets a hockey team again.

Just when you had finally convinced yourself that maybe you would flip on the old boob tube to catch a few glimpses of tiny nets and halfhearted stickhandling, disaster went and reared its stupid head.

From The Hockey News:

Early Thursday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced superstar center Evgeni Malkin would not participate in the 2015 NHL all-star game in Columbus due to a lower-body injury. Early Thursday evening, they took even more wind out of the event by removing fellow phenom Sidney Crosby from all-star weekend for the same reason. The team specified no timetable for Malkin’s return to action, while Crosby is expected to miss approximately one week and won’t be allowed to play in Pittsburgh’s Jan. 27 game.

Having both players back in the lineup is obviously the proper priority for Penguins management, but the undeniable reality is the absence of both stars is a big blow to an all-star game that’s going to be without hometown hero Sergei Bobrovsky for injury reasons and without P.K. Subban for preposterous reasons – and it underscores how much lustre the game has lost. [THN]

I'm assuming that "lower-body injury" is code for "I will tear an abdominal muscle ripping off those paintball jerseys if you seriously try to make me wear them."

I'm not one to gripe about the All-Star Game, really. I have fond memories of delightedly watching Jeremy Roenick laying a hit on an unsuspecting Alexei Zhitnik. I loved the idea of Al MacInnis bombing slapshots like it was a video game sidequest he did just to earn some extra rupees. And last time, when the goalies raced? I love that with all my heart.

Players miss the All-Star Game, and it stinks. Kids love seeing them, and it is cool to see the players line up against each other, even if you have to enjoy the game a little differently than you watch a playoff tilt. Jeff Marek often says that the best way to look at it is, "it's the best game of shinny you will ever see." I think there's something to that, even if a few faces are missing.

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Enjoy the All-Star Weekend. Please keep me posted on Victor E. Green's leapfrog competition, if you would.

Mark Stepneski has a nice look at what the Stars need to improve down the stretch. Hint: the penalty kill and power play. [Stars]

John Klingberg is already part of many fantasies, but he's also an underappreciated player on fantasy hockey teams. [NHL]

Patrik Nemeth is slowly coming back. He is holding sticks and everything now! I miss that guy. [Stars]

Filip Forsberg will be replacing Malkin this weekend in the All-Star Game. [NHL]

And the Central will also send Brian Elliott to replace Officer Bob. [KMOV]

Sergei Bobrovsky's injury means Columbus has to punt on the season. Doesn't it? [THN]

Seriously, Ray Whitney really was the OG photobomber. [Puck Daddy]

Sean McIndoe does a little All-Star Draft of his own. [Grantland]

Derian Hatcher and David Legwand have bought the OHL's Sarnia Sting. Those jerseys remind me of something. [Yahoo]

Canada should probably win the Miss Universe competition. Also, isn't "universe" a little pretentious? Could be some foxy aliens out there on Pluto. (We'll know this summer!) [CBC]

Finally, from the 1996 All-Star Game, it is the Glow Puck. This is the precursor to the first down line, and it was screwed up by Fox, but it was also way ahead of its time: