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January 20, 2012 | 3:30pm ET
Oilers captain "baffled" at Eberle All-Star snub
By Jimmy Kerr, Edmonton Correspondent
TheFourthPeriod.com

EDMONTON, AB -- When the NHL released the rest of the All-Star Game roster this week, there was one name noticeably missing for Edmonton Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff.

Jordan Eberle, who leads the Oilers in scoring with 43 points in 41 games, didn't make the cut and wasn't invited to All-Star weekend on account of a knee injury that's got him watching from the press box at the moment.

"Him not being selected is baffling to me," Horcoff told 630 CHED. "Especially since there's a chance of him, at least from what I understand, there's a chance of him coming back."

Eberle sprained his knee on January 7th in a loss to the Dallas Stars, but is expected back in the lineup by the end of the month. The NHL apparently called the team prior to the list coming out to let them know that Eberle would have been selected, if not for the injury.

"If he works hard and does come back, it'd be an unfortunate instance for him," said Horcoff. "I've never heard of the league coming out and making statements like that before, so it's interesting."

Isn't every team supposed to be represented at the All-Star Game though?

That's where Ryan Nugent-Hopkins comes in.

The 18-year-old wasn't invited to take part in the game, as he too is injured, but is scheduled to compete in the rookie skills competition. That is, if he's healthy.

To recap: neither Edmonton's leading point-getter, nor the league's top rookie will get a chance to be All-Stars this season because they are both nursing injuries two weeks before the big game.

Wouldn't it make more sense for the league to give them both the nod, and then announce replacement players? Oilers head coach Tom Renney says it's a delicate issue, but not one that the team plans on raising a fuss about.

"They've had great years, obviously they're very, very important players to us," said Renney after the news broke. "I think they're important players to the league, they're just a continuation of great young players, great young talent in the NHL right now."

Renney says it would be selfish of him to suggest that the league should have taken the 'replacement' route on this topic, but I'm not so sure about that.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with acknowledging a player for putting up All-Star numbers in the first half of the season, and then giving someone else an opportunity to play in the game if that guy can't. It's not like there's a shortage of high-end talent in the league!

Then again, this is a game that will feature three defencemen who, as of this weekend, are "minus" players on the year and a goalie with a losing record. If that's not bad enough, five teams (the Oilers, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Avalanche and Devils) won't even be represented in the main event.

Maybe they should call it the "Some-Stars Game" -- What do you think?

Jimmy Kerr is the Edmonton Correspondent for TheFourthPeriod.com.

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