The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin will be heading to the All-Star game after all as the Russian sniper was one of five injury replacement players added to Sunday's game.
Malkin, along with Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas have been added to the Eastern Conference roster while Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer and forward Corey Perry have been added to the West along with Stars forward Mike Ribeiro.
The players named today replace Colorado Avalanche forward Paul Stastny, Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg, Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov, New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and Penguins forward Sidney Crosby. Crosby will miss the next six to eight weeks of the season as he recovers from a high ankle sprain suffered during Friday's game against the Lightning. Crosby led all players in fan All-Star balloting and was scheduled to start the game.
Meanwhile Stasny is recovering after getting his appendix removed on January 17th. Zetterberg is resting and aching back while Zubov is attempting to recuperate from groin and foot injuries. Brodeuer will miss the game because of a family obligation that has come up.
His withdrawal means neither goalie voted into the starting lineup will play. Western Conference starter Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks pulled out of the game to be with his pregnant wife in Florida.
When the reserve rosters were originally announced, Malkin appeared to be the biggest snub as he is 11th in the league in scoring with 26 goals and 30 assists in 48 games. NHL on TSN analyst Mike Milbury had suggested that the NHL was 'teaching the kid a lesson' for skipping the 2007 NHL Awards show where Malkin captured the Calder Memorial Trophy as the League's top rookie.
The addition of Niedermayer is peculiar considering that the reigning Conn Smythe trophy winning defenceman missed the majority of the season as he weighed retirement. It will be Niedermayer's fifth All-Star appearance while Malkin, Ribeiro, Perry and Thomas will all be making their All-Star debuts.