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2011 NHL All-Star Game: Penguins' Stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin To Miss Game

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Sidney Crosby will miss the 2011 All-Star Game next weekend in Raleigh thanks to lingering concussion struggles, according to a report from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Crosby's line mate, Evgeni Malkin, is also likely to miss the game with a knee problem that's kept him out of Pittsburgh's last two games. 

Crosby missed the 2009 All-Star Game in Montreal due to injury. 

Now the questions turn to who will replace the two Penguins' stars, as well as Ales Hemsky of the Oilers, who will also likely miss the game with a concussion. By all indications, it's getting to the point where potential replacement players have already made plans for next weekend. Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers told the Delaware County (PA) Times on Sunday that he would turn down an invitation for that very reason.

There are rookies heading to Raleigh next weekend to take part in the Skills Competition on Saturday night, and according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, those players could fill the holes.

As of Saturday, the league was kicking around how the rookies would be chosen for the game. Would they be part of Friday's fantasy draft, or would the rookies win their way into the game by excelling in Saturday night's skills event? Both are interesting ideas.    

Interesting indeed. The NHL has done a fantastic job in thinking outside the box for this 2011 All-Star Game, and it appears that there's more than the usual excitement surrounding the game as a result. And that's without Sidney Crosby, who woulda thought?