The NHL All-Star break is upon us, and with it comes the chance to look back at the top players of the season's traditional "first half." The fans got their opportunity to pick their All-Stars for the game in Dallas, so I'll make my picks for the fantasy All-Star squads -- first and second teams -- through the first three-plus months of the season:
Goalie: Martin Brodeur, Devils. Age (he's now 34), the new rules, the strain of playing virtually every game, etc., it doesn't seem to matter what you throw Brodeur's way, he continues to maintain his stance as one of the best goaltenders in the NHL year after year. This year, though, is really shaping up as one that's truly special, which says a lot for a guy with three Stanley Cup titles, two Vezina Trophies and one who will be making his ninth career All-Star appearance on Wednesday. Brodeur is on pace for career highs in wins (50), shutouts (14) and save percentage (.928), and as the traditional "second half" dawns, he'll be only 76 wins short of Patrick Roy's all-time record. Plus, Brodeur wasn't even the No. 1 goalie selected on average, as Miikka Kiprusoff was the No. 1 pick overall in a huge number of leagues, while Brodeur settled in closer to the fifth pick overall. And if you're wondering whether he can keep this up, Brodeur's 191 wins, 2.16 goals-against average and 35 shutouts in 353 career games after the All-Star break sure are encouraging.