By RUSTY MILLER/AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Some of the best players in the world – Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and anybody wearing a Detroit Red Wings or Colorado Avalanche jersey – will be absent from the NHL All-Star game on Sunday.
Yet the list of American-born talent at the game is longer than it’s ever been.
When the sport’s best showcase their talents, there will be nine U.S. born and bred players. It’s the largest red, white and blue contingent since the NHL went to this format in 2003.
“That upsurge has been there,” said Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette, born in Norwood, Massachusetts, who will serve as a head coach in the annual goal-fest held for the first time this year in Ohio’s capital city.
“There’s good players all over the world, there really is. But the U.S. has definitely made strides and continues to make…
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