Luongo out, LeClaire in

cbjlogonew.jpgleclaire.jpgUPDATE: See Below.

It looks like the French Alfalfa is going to start in goal for the Western Conference All-Star team. Way to go, Pazzy.

LeClaire was a “distant second” in voting, but Luongo has a very pregnant wife to take care of. Therefore, the Columbus netminder will fill the slot. Even though LeClaire did not win first place in the All-Star voting, he is still second in the NHL in GAA with a 1.97, and is tied for first place in the Three Stars standings.

In other Blue Jackets news, some outlets are (prematurely) starting to talk about Columbus’ chances to make the playoffs. Sure, it might happen; the Jackets are in a small group that will compete for those last two or three spots. Chicago is one team that is probably in that group, and they’ve been playing pretty hot and cold, which might help the Jackets’ chances.

My suggestion, though: don’t get your hopes up. The team is perfectly capable of making it, but things can change so quickly in January that it’s a little early to start getting excited about the chances for postseason. Personally, anything that proves the team is headed in the right direction from recent years past should be good enough. It seems that the consensus is that, while competing is good enough for this year, the playoffs would be a “bonus.” Next season, after Hitch has worked the bugs out, would probably be the time to start expecting more from this team.

Oh, and finally, good on ya, Nik. Took the hit earlier this week, played sore tonight, and gave some payback. And wasn’t Vyborny’s long pass setting up Nik for his second goal a thing of beauty?

Thanks to MotSaG reader Matthew for the LeClaire tip.

So… the assumption was that since LeClaire was #2 in voting, he’d get the nod. However, the NHL clearly disagrees, and has decided to snub Pazzy from the game after all.

A league spokesman said the department considers many factors, including fan voting and the desire to represent all 30 teams, though that is no longer a requirement.

Translation: “There weren’t enough Red Wings on the team.” Detroit’s Chris Osgood will take Luongo’s place. Shame.

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