Adam Pelech’s consistently steady defensive game often goes overlooked in the NHL. But he’ll soon get a chance to show off his skills to a wider audience.
Pelech was announced on Thursday as the Islanders’ lone All-Star representative — so far — for the Metropolitan Division, his first selection to one of the league’s marquee events. The All-Star weekend, Feb. 4-5 at Las Vegas, will again characterize three-on-three play, plus skills competitions.
Mathew Barzal, the Islanders’ representative to the last two All-Star Games, is a candidate for the fans’ Last Man balloting by Monday.
Pelech, 27, scored his first goal of the season against the Devils at UBS Arena. He has five assists by the first 24 games. But the strength of his game is in the defensive end, particularly with his positioning and stickwork, though he can also be a physical presence at 6-3, 205 pounds.
The All-Star Game will go ahead as schedule already after the NHL opted not to send its players to the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.
“I think the All-Star Game is fun for the guys who get invited,” said defenseman Scott Mayfield, who has been part of NHL Players’ Association meetings. “I think it’s a fun weekend for the fans. I know it’s something the league wanted to keep.”
Pageau, Aho babies arrive
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and defenseman Sebastian Aho were unavailable after their wives both gave birth on Thursday. It was the first child for each associate.
Palmieri, Martin not dressed
Kyle Palmieri was not activated off injured save despite practicing with the Islanders since Jan. 3 after a lower-body injury kept him out of three games. Palmieri has just one goal and six assists in 25 games and coach Barry Trotz said on Dec. 30, “we’ll see if we put him back in” when healthy.
Matt Martin was a healthy scratch in favor of Ross Johnston.
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