When the best players in the National Hockey League arrive in Raleigh for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover next weekend, the Washington Capitals will have two representatives included among the elite. Alex Ovechkin will be playing in his fourth All-Star Game, having recorded a total of 6 points in his ASG appearances to date, while Mike Green will be hitting the ice in his first ASG experience (as an alternate captain).
Green, a two-time member of the NHL’s end-of-season NHL First All-Star Team and a two-time Norris Trophy runner-up, has led NHL defensemen in goals for three years in a row. He has also been tops among NHL defensemen in points for the past two seasons and is one of only two active defensemen with a 70-point season in his career – the other being Lidstrom, the opposing Captain. This season he ranks fourth in ice time per game among NHL defensemen.
To add a little more excitement to this year’s game, the league has implemented a bit of a different format. Players will still get to show off their niftiest dekes and shooting tricks along with their blazing speed during the always-entertaining Honda All-Star Superskills Competition on Saturday, January 28 (who can forget Ovi’s props and getup during the 2008-2009 exhibition – always the personality)!
But the new addition of the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft may bring back memories of being selected by their childhood pals in preparation for shinny on the backyard frozen pond for many. The two team captains, Raleigh fan fave Eric Staal and future Hall of Fame Detroit defenseman Nick Lidstrom, will be picking their teams by selecting among the uber-talented roster of players voted in by the fans. The captains will be assisted in the selection or “draft” by their alternate captains: our own Mike Green and Vancouver’s Ryan Kessler will be help select “Team Staal” while Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis and Chicago’s Patrick Kane will serve as judge and jury in drafting “Team Lidstrom.” One of the exciting aspects of this new system will be watching to see if any of the team leaders leave their real-life team mates off of their bench and the big question, will the Sedin twins finally be separated? The All-Star Fantasy Draft will take place on Friday, January 28 at 8 p.m. and will be televised on VERSUS.
All of these events lead up to big game pitting the best of the best against each other. The 2011 NHL All-Star Game will be broadcast on VERSUS on Sunday, January 30 at 4 p.m. and we know our boys will represent us well!
By Leslie Silvey (Musings of a Hockey Mom)