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NHL "All-Star Game" News Thread

3564 Views 79 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  panoo
Associated Press
Nov 10, 2006, 5:28 PM EST

Maxim Afinogenov, Buffalo; Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa; Patrice Bergeron, Boston; Daniel Briere, Buffalo; Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina; Erik Cole, Carolina; Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh; Chris Drury, Buffalo; Patrik Elias, New Jersey; Peter Forsberg, Philadelphia; Simon Gagne, Philadelphia; Brian Gionta, New Jersey; Scott Gomez, New Jersey; Dany Heatley, Ottawa; Marian Hossa, Atlanta.

Jaromir Jagr, N.Y. Rangers; Olli Jokinen, Florida; Saku Koivu, Montreal; Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta; Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay; Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh; Michael Nylander, N.Y. Rangers Alex Ovechkin, Washington; Brad Richards, Tampa Bay; Miroslav Satan, N.Y. Islanders; Brendan Shanahan, N.Y. Rangers; Jason Spezza, Ottawa; Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay; Eric Staal, Carolina; Mats Sundin, Toronto.

Jay Bouwmeester, Florida; Dan Boyle, Tampa Bay; Brian Campbell, Buffalo; Zdeno Chara, Boston; Tomas Kaberle, Toronto; Bryan McCabe, Toronto; Chris Phillips, Ottawa; Brian Rafalski, New Jersey; Wade Redden, Ottawa; Sheldon Souray, Montreal; Henrik Tallinder, Buffalo; Alexei Zhitnik, N.Y. Islanders.

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey; Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh; Olaf Kolzig, Washington; Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta; Henrik Lundqvist, N.Y. Rangers; Ryan Miller, Buffalo; Andrew Raycroft, Toronto; Cam Ward, Carolina.


Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose; Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit; Pavol Demitra, Minnesota; Shane Doan, Phoenix; Marian Gaborik, Minnesota; Martin Havlat, Chicago; Milan Hejduk, Colorado; Ales Hemsky, Edmonton; Jarome Iginla, Calgary; Paul Kariya, Nashville; Patrick Marleau, San Jose; Andy McDonald, Anaheim; Mike Modano, Dallas; Brenden Morrow, Dallas; Ladislav Nagy, Phoenix.

Rick Nash, Columbus; Markus Naslund, Vancouver; Brian Rolston, Minnesota; Joe Sakic, Colorado; Daniel Sedin, Vancouver; Henrik Sedin, Vancouver; Teemu Selanne, Anaheim; Ryan Smyth, Edmonton; Steve Sullivan, Nashville; Petr Sykora, Edmonton; Joe Thornton, San Jose; Keith Tkachuk, St. Louis; Doug Weight, St. Louis; Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit; Nikolai Zherdev, Columbus.

Rob Blake, Los Angeles; Scott Hannan, San Jose; Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit; John-Michael Liles, Colorado; Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim; Mattias Ohlund, Vancouver; Dion Phaneuf, Calgary; Chris Pronger, Anaheim; Robyn Regehr, Calgary; Mathieu Schneider, Detroit; Lubomir Visnovsky, Los Angeles; Sergei Zubov, Dallas.

Manny Fernandez, Minnesota; J.S. Giguere, Anaheim; Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago; Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary; Roberto Luongo, Vancouver; Dwayne Roloson, Edmonton; Marty Turco, Dallas; Tomas Vokoun, Nashville.
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NHL ASG news thread

Shawn P. Roarke | Senior Writer
Jan 18, 2007, 11:30 AM EST

This week, Crashing the Net captures the All-Star spirit. With the All-Star Game set for Jan. 24 in Dallas, CTN takes All-Star angles with many of its features. In the Opening Faceoff, CTN picks a team it believes would be capable of beating either the Eastern or Western Conference All-Stars. The Breakaway, as usual, is observations from around the world of hockey, including some All-Star notes. Working the Boards chats with St. Louis Blue Lee Stempniak, who was named this week to the Western Conference roster for Wednesday’s YoungStars Game. Finally, the Penalty Box answers comments from the readers, including seven All-Star-themed rants.

As always CTN hopes you enjoy this offering and urges you to drop us a line with your thoughts, complaints and suggestions. CTN can be reached at [email protected]. Also note that because the All-Star Game falls on a Thursday, CTN’s usual publication date, this feature will take a one-week sabbatical before returning on Feb. 1.


Opening Faceoff

Unlike many people, Crashing the Net has little complaint about the rosters selected for this year’s All-Star Game festivities.

CTN understands that there are limited spots available to slot in the cream of the NHL crop and that political and emotional components work heavily into the selection process. Sure, there are great players left off the rosters for a variety of reasons -- injuries and team representation playing the most key roles in the process.

But, in hearing all the complaints -- both logical and illogical -- from hockey fans about the selection process, as well as the many arguments espoused in support of the unsuccessful “Vote for Rory” campaign, CTN got to thinking about the fact that there are many great players who were not even considered for this year’s All-Star stage for a variety of reasons.

Then, in the way CTN’s convoluted mind sometimes work, the idea of forming a team of unselected players that could compete against either the Eastern Conference or Western Conference All-Stars took hold.

In my scenario, this team – the egotistically named CTN All-Stars – would challenge the winner of next Wednesday’s 2007 NHL All-Star Game to a challenge match, much in the way that local club team from Mystery, Alaska challenged the New York Rangers in the mostly forgettable movie Mystery, Alaska.

It is not per se the traditional All-Snub team, as there are many other players deserving of that honor. Rather, it is a legitimate dream team that CTN believes would be capable of winning any game against any opponent, including the All-Star Game victors.

CTN would serve as the GM of said team, assembling the talent, picking the coaching staff and handling the innumerable intricacies of this hypothetical challenge if it were to take place. Sadly, it will only happen in CTN’s head, and perhaps in a computer simulation.

CTN pictures the challenge, if accepted, taking place Thursday night, the day after the real All-Star Game, at Texas Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in nearby Irving. After all, everything has to be big in Texas, so why not an outdoor game with room for more than 70,000 fans. This would channel the spirit of the hugely successful Heritage Classic in Edmonton a few years back.

All of the gate proceeds would go toward the prize pool in a winner-take-all format to add some spice and legitimacy to the game. To further boost attendance, CTN would do its best to bring the surviving members of Texas-based Pantera back together to play the national anthem, provide between-period entertainment and, maybe, a post-game reunion concert.

But enough of the outside trappings, the game would be the unquestioned star here. And, the CTN team means business.

CTN would secure Jacques Lemaire of the Minnesota Wild as the coach. The man knows how to win, and just as importantly, he knows how to play the two-way game necessary to neutralize and eventually better the collection of stars he will have to face. Peter Laviolette of Carolina and Craig MacTavish of Edmonton would be the assistant coaches as a reward for last year’s successes.

Then, CTN would assemble a traditional 20-man roster to play a complete game, maintaining the necessary balance between the skill players fans want to see strut their stuff and the role players that all winning teams count on.

Members of the CTN team would be pulled from the pool remaining after players from the All-Star and YoungStar games are removed. Presently injured or unavailable players would also be exempt from being selected.

Here, without further ado, is how CTN would populate the team to win the First Annual CTN Challenge Cup.


Dominik Hasek (Detroit) and Chris Mason (Nashville). CTN would like to see Mason start the game because he was among the League’s best before Tomas Vokoun recently returned from injury. He would be hungry to shine on such an international stage. If, however, he falters who would you rather have to tap on the shoulder in a relief role? Hasek, who would start stretching about an hour before the game, would be the man to hold the fort as the CTN stars clawed their way back into the game.


CTN believes in balance in his defensive pairs. There’s nothing wrong with a run-and-gun defender, as long as there is a stay-at-home guy to cover for him when said offensive-minded D man pinches. With the collection of offensive talent on the opposition’s blue line, that becomes even more important as the winning All-Star team will often be throwing a fourth or fifth man into the attack during transition.

As a result, CTN has tried to strike a delicate balance between defenders adept at moving the puck in transition and quarterbacking the attack in the offensive zone with defensemen who understand their primary job is to stay back and blunt forays into our attacking zone.

Tampa Bay’s Dan Boyle and Detroit’s Mathieu Schneider would be out first two puck-moving options. Each would see considerable time on the power play. Montreal’s Andrei Markov would also serve this purpose, although he can play a solid two-way game. Calgary’s Robyn Regehr and Carolina’s Mike Commodore would provide the defensive conscience of this team, each drawing on recent big-game experience to handle the other team’s cavalcade of stars. Ottawa’s Anton Volchenkov would be the sixth defenseman, used as an intimidating presence. He has 125 hits and 154 blocked shots, just the combination CTN craves.

Here is how they would be paired:



CTN avoided the easy route of picking the best 12 non All-Star forwards, regardless of position. Instead, CTN tried to put players in their proper positions and in roles they are used to playing.

Because this is a Jacques Lemaire-coached team and CTN, as the GM, similarly subscribes to a defense-first philosophy, the team will have a pure checking line to counter our opponent’s most dangerous forward unit. While there is a plethora of great checkers available – after all, these players are not usually rewarded with All-Star appearances – CTN felt that a ready-built unit with built-in chemistry would be best suited for the task. Therefore, CTN would select the Devils' checking line of John Madden, Jay Pandolfo and Sergei Brylin, simply the best in the business.

But, CTN is not so naïve as to not understand that we will not win this game 1-0. In fact, CTN believes an all-Russian unit will carry the offensive load with Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk centering Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk and Buffalo’s Maxim Afinogenov. This trio has combined to score 56 goals and 136 points so far this season.

The second scoring line would feature the vastly underrated Andy McDonald (33 assists) feeding pucks to former Anaheim teammate Paul Kariya, now with Nashville, and Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson. That unit can claim 43 goals and 142 points.

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Quebec singer Fumanti hopes to score with anthem at all-star game

Canadian Press
Jan 22, 2007, 6:47 PM EST

MONTREAL (CP) - Giorgia Fumanti admits she doesn't know a lot about hockey but she's hoping to score big when she takes to the ice at the NHL all-star game in Dallas.

The 31-year-old Quebec singer won't be donning pads or wielding a stick - she's been chosen to sing a bilingual version of the Canadian national anthem at the start of Wednesday's game.

"It's such a pure magic moment where I will share my heart with so many millions of hearts," she said in a telephone interview from Dallas. "This is very special. I'm a new Canadian so it's a perfect start for me and it's really touched my heart a lot."

Fumanti saw some hockey back in her native Italy, although she noted most of the players were Canadians. Since her arrival in Quebec three years ago, her friends have been filling her in on the sport.

And she has a favourite team - "Montreal, of course."

There's a lot about hockey the raven-haired soprano can relate to, she says.

"I think it's beautiful because it's a passion," she said. "And it's a passion for me to sing."

She hopes that passion will carry through to all the players and fans when the puck is dropped after her solo.

"I will enjoy the game after, I'm sure," she said with a laugh.

Fumanti was picked for the all-star game after EMI Music, her record company, approached the NHL.

Fumanti, whose style is a blend of pop and classical music, is happy to sing O Canada for reasons other than a chance to express appreciation to her new home.

"It's wonderful music and at the same time it's very easy," she said. "Normally when I sing songs they are more complicated. So this is a perfect time where, in a simple song, I will put all my heart."

Fumanti has been a professional singer since she was 28 and her career has been taking off in the last six months. Her second album is coming out in March and she has just completed a tour of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea with renowned tenor Jose Carreras.

She came to pursue her career and be with her manager who is based in the Montreal area.

"I arrived in Canada, no English, no French," said Fumanti, who now speaks both languages. "It was very, very special for me to see that so many different people could live so well together."

But she didn't originally plan to be a singer when she was growing up in Aulla, a city north of Tuscany, and instead figured she would be a nun or a missionary.

"I was very shy," she remembers with a chuckle. "At 17 years old, I discovered my voice in the church (choir) and it was a big surprise."

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NHL ASG news thread

Canadian Press
Jan 22, 2007, 8:07 PM EST

DALLAS (CP) - Marty Turco looked around at all the young guns Monday and made a prediction.

"It'll be a game," said the Dallas Stars netminder. "The young guys I think will be going after it."

With 20 first-time all-stars - most on the youthful side - could the 55th NHL all-star game Wednesday night have a little more edge to it with the new kids on the block trying to make an impression?

"It could be, that's interesting," said San Jose Sharks winger Jonathan Cheechoo, another first-time all-star. "There's a lot of young guys out here and I think they want to come out and prove they belong and maybe that'll bring a bit of competitiveness to it."

In reality, no one's expecting the all-star game to be marred by an actual bodycheck. But the young guys may be skating a little harder than the norm in this event.

"The young guys are always more excited," said Anaheim Ducks greybeard Teemu Selanne, playing in his 10th all-star game. "I remember my first year, I was so excited."

Veteran goalie Martin Brodeur frowned when he heard the theory.

"It's depends if the older guys get to them before that. Got to set the ground rules for them," he said with a laugh.

"But that's a good question. You do have a lot of young players here who will make the game spectacular. With having younger guys maybe it will be different. Geez, now I have to get ready," the nine-time all-star added with another chuckle.

First up Tuesday night comes the skills competition and YoungStars Game, the appetizer to the main event.

All eyes both nights will be on Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, both making their all-star debuts. Both are decidedly giddy already.

One couldn't make more than two strides in a crowded media interview area Monday at American Airlines Center and not hear their names mentioned. And most of the time it came from other players, who gushed about the two super sophomores.

"There's lot of guys with passion for the game, especially those two young guys, Crosby and Ovechkin," said Carolina Hurricanes centre Eric Staal.

Staal is just 22 himself and playing in his first all-star game. But like many players on hand Monday, Staal recognized what the two dynamos are doing for the game.

"I know our games usually start three hours later on the West Coast so I often watch Crosby and Ovechkin play early," said San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton. "They're a special kind of player and I think everyone realizes that."

Thornton won both the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Trophy last season. Now he figures both will be Crosby's for many years to come with Ovechkin pushing him hard.

While all the other players were brought out like cattle in a large interview area Monday, Crosby and Ovechkin held a joint news conference. That came a few hours after both were present at the NHL's new uniform launch.

"The NHL is in great hands with those two kids, they're great ambassadors," said Turco. "They've made the game about them because of their play. They've earned it."

Both handled all the media attention with the smooth savvy of 15-year veterans. Except Ovechkin is just 21 and Crosby 19.

"There's a lot of questions coming my way about being the face of the NHL and things like that," said Crosby. "I don't put that pressure on myself to be that person but I also believe that hopefully I can be part of that group of guys that can show a good example and hopefully bring interest to the game.

"I do my best to play my part and be a good role model," he continued. "The easiest way to do that is by your on-ice performance. I think I'm one of a group of guys that does put the responsibility on my shoulders but I don't think it's solely on me."

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NHL ASG news thread

Associated Press
Jan 22, 2007, 8:20 PM EST

DALLAS (AP) -Martin Brodeur is used to coming to All-Star games to catch up with friends, guys he knows from Team Canada and previous midseason gatherings.

On Monday, he might as well have worn one of those "Hello, my name is ..." badges.

The All-Star festivities feature so many new players that the days leading up to Wednesday night's game are more get-to-know-you sessions than reunions - even if first-timers Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin need no introduction to anyone who has followed the post-lockout NHL.

"A lot of young players are a big part of the league, so for us older guys it's kind of nice to get to know them, talk to them and see how they are," Brodeur said. "Really, they're the future of our game."

The past has been amazingly swept away by this new wave of talent.

Consider this: Brodeur and East teammate Brendan Shanahan have played a combined 15 All-Star games; the rest of their teammates have played a combined 11.

On the West squad, Joe Sakic, Teemu Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom hold a 28-15 experience advantage over their teammates.

"The young guys today are a lot more talented than when we broke in," said Sakic, the Colorado forward who is a 12-time All-Star and the West's captain. "There are so many of them, and that's what is so great about this game right now. They're going to be the leaders of this league, and the league is going in the right direction with them."

Not that it's so terrible being invited back as one of the old guys.

"You've still got to be doing some right to be selected," he said. "This is just a different feeling for a veteran. Early in your career, you're really nervous. But the more times you're here, the easier it gets. You just come here, relax and have a good time."

The fun began Monday evening with a ceremony outside the arena honoring Dallas' 1999 Stanley Cup championship team. Mike Modano, Brett Hull, Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour and Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau were among 13 attendees, as was the Cup itself. Then came an on-ice celebration of 11 former NHL superstars, followed by a practice featuring the real squads.

The light workout was most noted for seeing players skate in sleek new uniforms created for this event with materials that will be used for every team next season. The difference was easily evident - players looking as if they were hardly wearing any pads.

The YoungStars game and the skills competition come Tuesday night.

A big reason for all the fresh faces at the event: There hasn't been one since 2004. The last two were scuttled because of the lockout and the Olympics, helping build some enthusiasm this time among players who might otherwise want a few days off.

"You get excited to come back after the Olympics last year, and you get excited to see all of the players again," San Jose forward Joe Thornton said. "It's fun seeing ex-teammates like Brian Rolston or guys that you used to play with. I get excited. It's a good couple days for us. ... You never know if it's going to be your last, so you get excited and have as much fun as you can."

While there's talk of trying to put on a competitive game, the reality is that a scorefest could break out at any moment.

"I think it's important for us as coaches to put the people together to showcase the skills that are here," said West coach Randy Carlyle of Anaheim, another All-Star rookie. "What we're really looking to do is allow the players, A, to go out and show the skills; B, to have some fun; and, C, we want to win the game, too."

Second-time All-Star Dany Heatley laughed at being called a grizzled veteran. But he qualifies because he's among only four former MVPs of this exhibition game making it back, joining Sakic, Selanne and Bill Guerin.

Sakic was the MVP of the last All-Star game. Only 13 of the 42 players from the 2004 event are back this time.

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NHL ASG news thread

Canadian Press
1/22/2007 9:30:36 PM

DALLAS (AP) - Joe Nieuwendyk retired in December when chronic back problems forced him to end his 20-year NHL career. He got to share that sentiment Monday with Dallas Stars fans attending the NHL all-star game festivities.

Nieuwendyk was one of 11 NHL players recognized during the league's salute to a "Generation of Stars" that also included Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, 19-time all-star Ray Bourque and 15-time all-star Mark Messier.

During his career, Nieuwendyk won his three Stanley Cups with three teams - Calgary, Dallas and New Jersey - and helped Canada capture an Olympic gold medal in 2002. When the Stars won their Cup in 1999, Nieuwendyk won the Conn Smythe award as the MVP of the playoffs.

"It was terrific to be part of what happened here in '99. For me, it started in '95, coming here to a city where hockey was page eight on the sports page. To be part of that was a really special feeling," Nieuwendyk said. "I never really got a chance to say goodbye when I left."

Before being honoured with some of the league's greats, Nieuwendyk was among 13 players from the 1999 Stars team that reunited. About 1,000 fans took part in a rally outside the American Airlines Center, where Mike Modano led a procession to the stage hoisting the Stanley Cup.

"We were really excited as players to see the fans come out like that. They remember that, they remember everything about it," said Darryl Sydor, who won another Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004 before being traded back to Dallas from the Lightning last summer.

Nieuwendyk finished his career with 564 goals and 562 assists in 1,257 games. He missed 14 of Florida's first 29 games this season because of his back then decided to retire when doctors told him it wouldn't improve.

"I think thinking about leaving the game was more stressful to me than actually leaving the game," Nieuwendyk said.

NO. 1 COACH: Nashville Thrashers coach Barry Trotz is participating in his first all-star game as an assistant coach for the Western Conference. It's a well-earned honour for the coach of the team at the top of the standings at the break.

Yes, the NHL-leading Predators, who have won 34 games and have 71 points this season.

"I think everybody in the hockey industry knows we've got a pretty good team and we've been pretty consistent this year," Trotz said.

Still, the only Nashville player in the all-star game is defenceman Kimmo Timonen.

NOT HIS BEST SHOT: Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara is a big hitter, and at six-foot-nine is the tallest player in NHL history. He might not get to do really show Wednesday night what made him an all-star.

"It's obviously a little different than the regular season. We're here to entertain and have a good time and play a fun game and score as many goals as possible," Chara said. "This is not a game where you can show that you're a guy who can hit the hardest."

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Previous Winners in the Super Skills Competition (1990-2004)

Puck Control Relay (Team Event)

2004 Western Conference
2003 Western Conference
2002 World All-Stars
2001 North America All-Stars
2000 World All-Stars
1999 North America All-Stars
1998 World All-Stars
1997 Western Conference
1996 Western Conference
1994 Eastern Conference
1993 Wales Conference
1992 Campbell Conference
1991 Campbell Conference
1990 Campbell Conference

Puck Control Relay (Individual Event)

2004 Rick Nash
2003 Martin St. Louis
2002 Paul Kariya
2001 Paul Kariya
2000 Paul Kariya
1999 Paul Kariya
1998 Teemu Selanne
1997 Geoff Sanderson
1996 Pierre Turgeon
1994 Russ Courtnall

Fastest Skater (Individual Event)

2004 Scott Niedermayer 13.783 seconds
2003 Marian Gaborik 13.713 seconds
2002 Sami Kapanen 14.039 seconds
2001 Bill Guerin 13.690 seconds
2000 Sami Kapanen 13.649 seconds
1999 Peter Bondra 14.640 seconds
1998 Scott Niedermayer 13.560 seconds
1997 Peter Bondra 13.610 seconds
1996 Mike Gartner 13.386 seconds
1994 Sergei Fedorov 13.525 seconds
1993 Mike Gartner 13.510 seconds
1992 Sergei Fedorov 14.363 seconds

Hardest Shot (Individual Event)

2004 Adrian Aucoin 102.2 mph
2003 Al MacInnis 98.9 mph
2002 Sergei Fedorov 101.5 mph
2001 Fredrik Modin 102.1 mph
2000 Al MacInnis 100.1 mph
1999 Al MacInnis 98.5 mph
1998 Al MacInnis 100.4 mph
1997 Al MacInnis 98.9 mph
1996 Dave Manson 98.0 mph
1994 Al Iafrate 102.7 mph
1993 Al Iafrate 105.2 mph
1992 Al MacInnis 93.0 mph
1991 Al MacInnis 94.0 mph
1990 Al Iafrate 96.0 mph

Accuracy Shooting (Individual Event)

2004 Jeremy Roenick 4 hits, 4 shots
2003 Jeremy Roenick 4 hits, 6 shots
2002 Jarome Iginla 4 hits, 6 shots
2001 Ray Bourque 4 hits, 6 shots
2000 Ray Bourque, Viktor Kozlov 4 hits, 5 shots
1999 Ray Bourque, Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk 4 hits, 6 shots
1998 Ray Bourque, Peter Forsberg, Brendan Shanahan 4 hits, 6 shots
1997 Ray Bourque 4 hits, 7 shots
1996 Mark Messier 4 hits, 4 shots
1994 Brendan Shanahan 4 hits, 5 shots
1993 Ray Bourque 4 hits, 4 shots
1992 Ray Bourque 4 hits, 4 shots
1991 Mark Messier 4 hits, 6 shots
1990 Ray Bourque 4 hits, 7 shots
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Players plan to bury hatchet before big game

Crosby, Ovechkin vow that their regular-season grudges will be left at home this week
Jim Matheson, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2007

DALLAS -- Islanders forward Jason Blake and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who had a verbal sparring match after Blake speared Crosby, are on the same all-star team and say they've buried the hatchet.

"He said he was sorry," said Crosby. "Things happen. Sometimes there's no explanation. It's an emotional game. I do things on the ice I wish I hadn't done. I'm sure every player has been in that situation. Doesn't matter now."

Alex Ovechkin and Daniel Briere, who had two separate incidents -- Ovechkin drilled Briere from behind into the boards, knocking him silly one game; and Briere countered with a nasty spear that went uncalled in a later meeting -- are on the same line Wednesday. Will Ovechkin seek him out before the game? "Yeah, so we can fight in the locker room," joked the Russian winger. "No, we will shake hands. Practise. See how everything is."


Gary Green, the former Washington Capitals coach and NHL Network commentator, can't say enough good things about Sidney Crosby.

"He's taken ownership of his team. When Pittsburgh played the Islanders, Brendan Witt hit him hard and (Ryan) Malone came in, but the puck went the other way and he didn't just stand there. He started hard, backchecking. I really liked seeing that," said Green.

New Jersey goalie Marty Brodeur is tickled that Crosby's on his team Wednesday -- Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. "Crosby controls the play and makes the other guys he's playing with better, and Ovechkin, there's not enough goals in him. He just wants to score and score and he loves to hit. They're both dominant but in different ways."


Crosby and Ovechkin are definitely dynamic, but do they have a legit shot at the MVP award if the Penguins and Capitals don't make the playoffs?

"For me, I think winning is everything. You have to bring your team to a level of success, but situations change from year to year (in voting)," said Brodeur. "Might happen this year." And Brodeur? He has got a great chance, too, even though goalies have their own award (Vezina) and usually get the dirty end of the stick at MVP balloting.

"Well, Jose (Theodore) and Dominik (Hasek) won it in the last few years. I think goalies should have an equal chance," said Brodeur.


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Montreal gets 2008-09 NHL All-Star Game

Canadian Press
1/23/2007 1:03:37 PM

DALLAS (CP) - The all-star game is returning to Montreal.

The Canadiens will host the big contest during the 2008-09 season, which coincides with the club's 100th anniversary.

The announcement was made by the NHL today in Dallas, home to the all-star game Wednesday.

Montreal last hosted the all-star game in 1993, when the Wales Conference crushed the Campbell Conference 16-6.

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Never again? Liut pitched an All-Star shutout

John Kreiser | columnist
Jan 23, 2007, 11:38 AM EST

Mike Liut is among the 40 goaltenders who’ve made only one All-Star Game appearance. No one has ever done more with his one chance at All-Stardom.

Liut was having a career year for St. Louis when he was voted the starter for the Campbell Conference in the 1981 game. All he did was pitch a shutout during his 32 minutes, stopping all 25 shots he faced to lead the Campbells to a 4-1 victory over the Wales Conference — the first victory for the Campbell Conference since the Wales-Conference format went into effect in 1973-75.

Liut is the fifth and last goaltender to post a perfect goals-against average in All-Star play. His 32 minutes and 25 saves were more than any of the others: Al Rollins (29 minutes in 1954), Gary Bauman (20 minutes in 1967), Ernie Wakely (29 minutes in 1971) and Billy Smith (29 minutes during an MVP performance in 1978).

Given the way the All-Star Game is played, with the accent on offense, the Gang of Five perfect All-Star goaltenders doesn’t figure to grow any time soon. The last goaltender to play a perfect period was Nikolai Khabibulin, who stopped all 20 shots he faced in the third period for the World team in 2002, his third of four All-Star appearances; in the others, he’s allowed six goals.

Little Big Man — At 5-foot-8, Gilles Villemure was one of the smallest goaltenders ever to play in All-Star competition, but he’s arguably the best among those who’ve made multiple appearances. Villemure made three straight All-Star appearances from 1971-73 and allowed only one goal in 88 minutes. His 0.68 goals-against average is the best by any goaltender with three or more appearances in All-Star play, and no one else is even close: Montreal’s Gerry McNeil is next with a 1.49 average in three appearances from 1951-53, barely ahead of Johnny Bower’s 1.50 mark from 1961-64.

Villemure is part of another record that’s not likely to be broken: He and fellow New York Ranger Ed Giacomin are the only goaltending teammates to play in All-Star competition. They both played for the East in 1971 and 1973, with Villemure allowing one goal and Giacomin five.

Shooting Gallery — How hard is it to be goaltender in an All-Star Game these days? Consider that since 1988, when All-Star play resumed after a one-year break for Rendez-Vous ’87 against the Soviets, only Dallas’ Marty Turco has a goals-against average of less than 3.00. Turco, one of the three netminders for the West this year, has a 2.67 mark in two previous appearances. His Western Conference teammate, Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo, is next at 3.00 (one goal in 20 minutes in 2004).

Of the eight goaltenders who’ve played 60 or more minutes in All-Star competition since 1988, only Khabibulin (4.50) has a goals-against average of less than 6.00. That’s the average Martin Brodeur, the only East goaltender with All-Star experience, has posted in eight previous appearances.

Defensive Struggle? — An average regular-season NHL game features slightly less than six goals, a total that could well be doubled in this year’s All-Star Game. But while shooters prosper in All-Star play, the offensive explosion of the late 1980s and 1990s has died down. There have been 73 goals scored in the last five All-Star Games (2000-04), an average of 14.6 per game that was exactly the same as the previous five games (1994-99). The previous five games (1989-93) was a real shooters’ delight, featuring 87 goals, 17.4 per game — a huge jump from the 53 goals (10.6 per game) scored in the five games before that (1983-88).

The biggest outburst in any five-year period came from 1990 to 1994, when attackers lit the red light 90 times, 18 per game. That included 22 in 1993, when the East beat the West 16-6 in Montreal. The 16 goals by the East were more than the combined totals in any of the three most recent games.

Unbreakable? — Here are some All-Star records that are likely, if not certain, to survive this year’s game.

* Fewest shots in a game: The Campbell Conference won the 1978 game despite taking only 12 shots on goal. Since then, no team has had fewer than 26. The 29 by the East in 2004 matches the lowest total in the last 20 games.

* Fewest Goals: Two games in the pre-expansion era ended in 1-1 ties (1952 and 1956). Since expansion, the lowest-scoring game was the West’s 2-1 victory in Boston in 1971. The last game in which scoring didn’t reach double figures was 1996, when the East beat the West 5-4.

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Two players, two phone calls, one day

Larry Wigge | columnist
Jan 23, 2007, 11:20 AM EST

Two players. Two very different phone calls. One date: August 23, 2005.

For one, it was a business decision. For the other, it was a life decision.

And just like that, it all changes.

Marian Hossa of the Atlanta Thrashers and Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators are in Dallas for the NHL All-Star Game. They ooze the skills and passion and determination that are on display on the icy waters around the NHL every night.

But it isn't often that you find two men, two stars, who unquestionably show that a trade can and does sometimes work out for both teams. They are clearly and indelibly tied into that date in late-August of 2005 in which Heatley was dealt to Ottawa for Hossa and defenseman Greg deVries -- even if they both got to that position in very different ways.

Hossa, who shares the league-lead in goals with 30 with Heatley, Teemu Selanne, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, was completely caught off-guard by the phone call he received on that fateful August day in 2005.

"It was a quick shock to say the least," Hossa said. "We had just finished a three-year contract (for $18 million to avoid arbitration). I was just starting to think about the future with the Senators ... with security and confidence to go on when the phone rang ..."

And Senators General Manager John Muckler wasn't calling to say hello. "He said, 'Marian, we want to thank you for all the great service you gave the Senators, but ..."

This is where Hossa knew something was very, very wrong.

"He said I had been traded to Atlanta ... and that it was only business," Hossa continued. "It was at that point that I realized they had a trade in place before I signed my new contract. I felt betrayed."

The phone calls on the other end of this trade had indeed begun two weeks earlier, when Heatley first called Thrashers GM Don Waddell to tell him that he could no longer play in Atlanta, that there were too many reminders of the day that Dany had driven his Ferrari Spyder into a wall in the plush Buckhead neighborhood in Atlanta just before 11 p.m. on September 29, 2003 in which Heatley sustained a knee injury that kept him out for more than half of the 2003-04 season. But his best friend, center Dan Snyder, suffered head injuries and died later in the hospital.

The emotional wounds of causing the death was something else, however. You don't all of a sudden wake up one day and stop thinking about the accident.

At first, Heatley said he didn't want to talk about the accident Monday at a press gathering at the All-Star Game. Then, understanding the circumstances that brought both he and Hossa to this game together, he said this: "Obviously ... a friend like Dany ... is always going to be with you. But ... at some point ... you have to go on. And I didn't think I could just be a hockey player in Atlanta anymore."

The request blindsided Waddell, who had hand-picked Heatley with the second overall pick in the 2000 Entry Draft and had envisioned building the Thrashers around him and high-scoring Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk.

"Dany and I were pretty close," Waddell told me before a preseason game back in September. "I got to talk to him for about 15 minutes and I said, 'Dany, take a day to think about this and I'll give you a shout back tomorrow.' But the longer we talked, I knew he was sincere that his life was filled with memories. I never tried to talk him out of it. I wanted to make sure I understood his true feelings and make sure it wasn't an impulse thing. But he had put a lot of thought into it. I could tell that when I talked to him.

"Obviously, disappointment was my biggest emotion. And then I thought, 'How am I ever going to trade a player of this value?' "

That's when Waddell remembered that Ottawa was having contract issues with Hossa.

"I got the call from and Don explained the situation he had with Dany," said Muckler. "He wanted to know what we were going to do about Hossa and thought we might have a fit. At first, I had to take a moment to ponder his proposal. I mean, how many times is this going to happen, when there's a player like that available out there ... especially when I was having a problem with Hossa?

"I had so many things going on in my head: Here we were sitting with Hossa, who was demanding $6 million, a deal we could not afford. Plus, I was wondering if Dany could rebuild his career anywhere after what he went through. That's when I remembered how good Craig MacTavish was for the Oilers when I was coaching them and we signed him after he was released by Boston following a one-year jail term for vehicular homicide.

"I phoned Donny back the next day to see if he was still serious. By then, I realized this might be the perfect trade for both teams because it made both teams better. Here we were getting a young player -- a goal scorer that we felt could help us -- and the Atlanta Thrashers got a terrific player in Marian Hossa. It was the kind of calculated risk we had to take at the time."

Said Heatley, "This trade has been a great thing for my career and my life."

At the time of the trade, Dan Snyder's dad, Graham, issued this statement: "It's a new chapter. In a perfect world, which we don't live in, it probably would have been great to see Dany carrying the Stanley Cup around Atlanta, as captain of the Thrashers."

"Even as close as we were to everything, I don't think any of us can really understand all Dany's gone through," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said Monday. "People deserve second chances."

Two players. Two very different phone calls.

"He's got everything -- good vision, his speed, his shot, all those intangibles that you need to be a superstar in this league," Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier said of Heatley. "He has it all."

"Hossa's one of the most explosive skaters in the game," said New York Rangers winger Brendan Shanahan. "He has the ability to be at top speed in the blink of an eye. Plus, he's so strong, you can't take the puck away from him."

Heatley had at least one point in his first 22 games with Ottawa --- one short of Wayne Gretzky's NHL record right after he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. Dany finished last season with 50 goals and 53 assists and had 35 assists to go along with his 30 goals at the All-Star break this season -- good for fourth place in the NHL scoring race.

"Would he be playing like this in Atlanta? Probably not," Waddell admitted. "We understood why he wanted to leave. In Ottawa, he can just play hockey. He doesn't have to deal daily with all the reminders."

Hossa, had 39 goals and 53 assists in his first season in Atlanta. He had 33 assists to go along with his 30 goals this season at the All-Star break to rank sixth in scoring.

For one, it was a business decision. For the other, it was a life decision.

And just like that, it all changes.

"After a while I realized this was a chance for me to go to a team that was a lot like Ottawa when I got there -- young players looking to make the playoffs," said Hossa, who has been leading the Thrashers to a first-place standing in the Southeast Division and in line for the team's first playoff in their seventh NHL season.

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'Rebuilt' Selanne far from finished

Larry Wigge | columnist
Jan 23, 2007, 2:53 PM EST

Teemu Selanne lives for skating on the slippery slope of a goal scorer, where you are praised when the puck is going in and ridiculed when it isn't. There's no in between, especially when a player breaks into the NHL the way the Helsinki, Finland, native did by scoring a rookie record 76 goals for the Winnipeg Jets way back in 1992-93 and had two more 50-plus goal seasons by 1997-98.

But just over three years ago, skeptics were saying "The Finnish Flash" had flickered out after the 2003-04 season, when he scored just 16 goals for the Colorado Avalanche in the regular season and none in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Today? Well, we see the Finnish version of the Six Million Dollar Man. New knee. New confidence. Renewed passion and the 36-year-old right winger for the Anaheim Ducks is tied for the league lead in goals with 30 -- tied with Martin St. Louis, who is 31, Marian Hossa, who is 27 and Vincent Lecavalier and Dany Heatley, who are both 26.

He hasn't led the NHL in goals since 1998-99, when he had 47. But the former first-round pick, 10th overall, in the 1988 Entry Draft, is proving that you can get better with age, after reaching the 40-goal mark last season for the sixth time in his career.

"When you see something you love so much kind of deteriorating and going away ... and then suddenly it's back, well, you savor every moment," he said. "If you asked me how much hockey I had left in my body after that season in Colorado, I would have told you that I'm pretty much finished.

"If I have to be really honest, I can say that I should have played for free the two previous years. It felt like that even though I did my best. But ..."

You could see a grimace on Selanne's face. Shooting is one thing. Scoring is another altogether. The best scorers have a definite plan in mind when they're bearing down on a goalie. It's a knack, an innate ability to see a play develop before it happens and having the patience to cash in on that opportunity.

Release ... accuracy ... skating speed. Those are the physical components of goal scoring, and while the mind was still willing, the body wasn't for Selanne.

"I knew every day when I went to practices that every stride was going to hurt," he recalled. "My left leg had no power. I couldn't use my speed. I couldn't play at the level I wanted to play. And worst of all, I had lost the passion to play the game. The fun was gone."

His knee was so bad, he struggled to get to openings.

Selanne contemplated retirement. His countrymen talked him into joining Finland in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey in Canada. The Finns reached the final against the host Canadians, but Selanne scored just once in six games.

Selanne revealed Monday afternoon during the first day of the All-Star festivities in Dallas that he had previously had four knee scopes just to keep him on the ice.

"It started in San Jose before I played one game there," Selanne said of a deal that sent him from Anaheim to San Jose at the trade deadline in March of 2001.

After he played in 12 games for the Sharks to finish out the season, Selanne had another procedure that summer. The third and fourth knee scopes came in the summer of 2003.

"I was trying to buy time ... time I wasn't sure I had left," Selanne said. "The whole Colorado experiment with Paul Kariya was a disaster for both of us. I couldn't play on one leg any longer, I was wasting my time.

"I felt like I was racing a car with just three tires."

One of the most graceful goal-scorers in NHL history, a combination of grace and poetry in motion ... speed ... power ... all punctuated by those great hands and wrists. Done? Perish the thought.

During the NHL lockout, Selanne elected to have what amounted to career-saving reconstructive surgery that he had been avoiding for two years -- fixing his left knee, which had grown so debilitated that the muscles in his thigh were 2 1/2 inches smaller than the muscles in his right thigh.

"Even after five or six months into the rehab, I wasn't sure what to expect," he said. But then by the summer of 2005 he started to feel like he just might get his game back to where it was during his first 10 years in the NHL.

"After the knee surgery, I got the wheels back ... and I got the passion back," he said. "Now, I don't feel like I'm 36-years-old. I feel like I'm 20."

"Teemu is a lot like Brett Hull was ... give him an open shot for a second and he'll beat you in the blink of an eye," Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco said.

"He's Ken Griffey on skates," one-time Mighty Ducks coach Pierre Page once told me. "What makes that Griffey comparison so apt is that Teemu never wastes a goal, it always seems like it's a home run. If you look at Griffey's home runs, I think you will see they almost always come early in the game to give his team a lead or late when the game is on the line. Same with Teemu."

Selanne came into the All-Star break sizzling, having scored 27 goals in 31 games. He led the league with 16 power-play goals and was tied with seven game-winning goals.

"Now ... I feel like I can't find a reason why I shouldn't play as long as I'm enjoying it," Selanne said with that wide-eyed, pie-in-the-sky, happy-go-lucky look on his face that we have come to enjoy for so many years.

At $3.75 million, Selanne is one of the NHL's great bargains. You can bet the Ducks would welcome the 36-year-old winger back for another season.

"He's not a little, skilled European guy," Ducks General Manager Brian Burke said earlier in the season of the 6-foot, 205-pound winger. "He takes physical abuse to make a play or get open for a goal-scoring opportunity like a guy 6-4, 220 pounds and he dishes it right back."

Burke and coach Randy Carlyle were new to the Ducks last season. Even Selanne had to prove his worth under the new management team.

"But Teemu felt -- and we felt -- he could play at a higher level than he did in Colorado," Carlyle said. "He's had that Selanne jump right from the first day of training camp last season. It's clear he had something to prove."

To himself ... and the rest of the hockey world.

Combining Selanne's health with the new NHL rules interpretations, where speed and skill once again flourish, Teemu presents not only the comeback player of the decade, but a feel good story that makes us all smile.

"Every time I see Teemu I remember the first time I met him was in a hotel room in Moncton, when we had training camp there for two weeks," Carlyle laughed of a Winnipeg Jets training camp in 1998, three seasons before Selanne actually played in his first NHL game. "He couldn't speak a word of English and he was there with Teppo Numminen and another Finnish player babbling away, laughing and joking."

Selanne completed a military obligation in Finland and didn't return to the NHL until he was 22. That was Carlyle's final NHL season as a defenseman.

"He was much more dynamic than the first time I saw him," said Carlyle. "I was thinking, 'Who is this kid? Wow! He can really move.' Now here he is scoring his 500th career goal and 1,000th point 14 seasons later."

To be a successful goal scorer, you've got to be selfish. You've got to want the puck. You've got be able to think the shot through, picturing it all the way to your stick and then -- bang -- into the net ... all the while executing the shot with supreme confidence.

Five-hole. Low stick side. High short side. Make a quick fake and force the goalie to go from side to side. All of these tactics can work, just as a slap shot, a snap shot, a wrist shot or a backhander will work in the right situation.

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NHL All-Stars welcome home U.S. troops

NHL All-Stars welcome home U.S. troops
Associated Press
Jan 23, 2007, 4:10 PM EST

GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) -Army Spc. Cody Anderson expected a routine layover Tuesday when he and about 100 military members stopped in Texas at the start of a two-week break from duties in Iraq.

Instead, Anderson saw former Michigan State goalie and current Buffalo Sabres All-Star Ryan Miller waiting for him in a reception line.

"It was awesome," said Anderson, a hockey fan from Michigan, after shaking Miller's hand. "It's a good welcome-home greeting."

New Jersey Devils defenseman Brian Rafalski - also in Dallas for Wednesday's NHL All-Star Game - and five NHL mascots joined Miller in the military reception area of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

"I just wanted to show my appreciation," Miller said. "It's just something we wanted to do, and I'm proud to be a part of it."

Rafalski, who like Miller wore his jersey, said he was honored to make the appearance.

"They do so much for us, this is just something that we can do for them," Rafalski said. "We're here to support them."

Miller presented U.S. Army Major Patrick McAfee with a stack of tickets for the All-Star game that will be distributed to the soldiers.

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NHL All-Star Voting Totals

x-Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh, 825,783
x-Daniel Briere, Buffalo, 475,857
x-Alex Ovechkin, Washington, 475,297
Maxim Afinogenov, Buffalo, 469,431
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh, 399,081
Chris Drury, Buffalo, 330,000
Jaromir Jagr, NY Rangers, 321,578
Erik Cole, Carolina, 255,063
Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina, 249,63
Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta, 226,602
Marian Hossa, Atlanta, 207,393
Saku Koivu, Montreal, 199,857
Brendan Shanahan, NY Rangers, 174,450
Eric Staal, Carolina, 168,290
Dany Heatley, Ottawa, 167,021
Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay, 164,522
Mats Sundin, Toronto, 157,551
y-Thomas Vanek, Buffalo, 154,660
Peter Forsberg, Philadelphia, 148,690
y-Marco Sturm, Boston, 135,038
Patrice Bergeron, Boston, 134,895
Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa, 122,523
Olli Jokinen, Florida, 111,203
Jason Spezza, Ottawa, 110,083
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay, 103,573
Simon Gagne, Philadelphia, 86,843
Patrik Elias, New Jersey, 80,538
Brian Gionta, New Jersey, 74,599
Brad Richards, Tampa Bay, 71,944
Miroslav Satan, NY Islanders, 63,067
Scott Gomez, New Jersey, 61,901
Michael Nylander, NY Rangers, 61,623

x-Ryan Miller, Buffalo, 539,635
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey, 484,993
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh, 346,530
Cam Ward, Carolina, 200,173
Andrew Raycroft, Toronto, 186,903
Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta, 161,687
Olaf Kolzig, Washington, 134,634
Henrik Lundqvist, NY Rangers, 125,896
y-Cristobal Huet, Montreal, 123,590

x-Brian Campbell, Buffalo, 602,982
x-Sheldon Souray, Montreal, 534,647
Zdeno Chara, Boston, 511,457
Bryan McCabe, Toronto, 479,124
Tomas Kaberle, Toronto, 451,963
Henrik Tallinder, Buffalo, 426,839
Jay Bouwmeester, Florida, 410,007
Wade Redden, Ottawa, 305,497
Dan Boyle, Tampa Bay, 254,835
Brian Rafalski, New Jersey, 228,827
Alexei Zhitnik, Philadelphia, 200,735
Chris Phillips, Ottawa, 130,109

x-Joe Thornton, San Jose, 663,931
x-Joe Sakic, Colorado, 473,847
x-Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose, 444,885
Patrick Marleau, San Jose, 415,123
Jarome Iginla, Calgary, 393,213
Markus Naslund, Vancouver, 342,583
Teemu Selanne, Anaheim, 335,149
Martin Havlat, Chicago, 303,207
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver, 292,743
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver, 291,853
Brenden Morrow, Dallas, 268,447
Mike Modano, Dallas, 254,178
Paul Kariya, Nashville, 198,855
Ryan Smyth, Edmonton, 177,615
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit, 154,164
Petr Sykora, Edmonton, 146,993
Brian Rolston, Minnesota, 146,456
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit, 139,735
Rick Nash, Columbus, 135,068
Ales Hemsky, Edmonton, 130,481
Marian Gaborik, Minnesota, 127,770
Andy McDonald, Anaheim, 115,863
Milan Hejduk, Colorado, 110,698
y-Milan Michalek, San Jose, 96,446
Steve Sullivan, Nashville, 94,877
Pavol Demitra, Minnesota, 94,739
Doug Weight, St. Louis, 89,348;
Ladislav Nagy, Phoenix, 84,925
Shane Doan, Phoenix, 84,925
Keith Tkachuk, St. Louis, 81,726
Nikolai Zherdev, Columbus, 72,723

x-Roberto Luongo, Vancouver, 484,861
Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary, 403,313
Marty Turco, Dallas, 358,045
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Anaheim, 286,914
Dwayne Roloson, Edmonton, 223,035
Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago, 148,080
y-Vesa Toskala, San Jose, 129,351
Tomas Vokoun, Nashville, 128,394
Manny Fernandez, Minnesota, 119,067

x-Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim, 591,657
x-Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit, 573,069
y-Rory Fitzpatrick, Vancouver, 550,177
Chris Pronger, Anaheim, 433,972
Dion Phaneuf, Calgary, 395,168
Scott Hannan, San Jose, 378,206
Mattias Ohlund, Vancouver, 326,717
John-Michael Liles Colorado, 234,598
Sergei Zubov, Dallas,, 225,094
Robyn Regehr, Calgary, 223,063
Rob Blake, Los Angeles, 187,952
Mathieu Schneider, Detroit, 186,431
Lubomir Visnovsky, Los Angeles, 177,650
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x-Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh, 825,783
x-Daniel Briere, Buffalo, 475,857
x-Alex Ovechkin, Washington, 475,297
Maxim Afinogenov, Buffalo, 469,431
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh, 399,081
Chris Drury, Buffalo, 330,000
Jaromir Jagr, NY Rangers, 321,578
Erik Cole, Carolina, 255,063
Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina, 249,63

Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta, 226,602
3 of the top 10 votes went to them, and they're all having a pretty good year.

So why aren't they in Dallas, especially Brind'Amour? :dunno:
Kessel shines in YoungStars game

Canadian Press
1/23/2007 10:23:24 PM

DALLAS (CP) - Phil Kessel's courageous comeback added another story line Tuesday night, the rookie Boston Bruins winger scoring a hat trick in the YoungStars Game as the Eastern Conference beat the Western Conference 9-8.

Kessel, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this season, also added an assist in the four-on-four event before a half-empty American Airlines Center.

The hat trick wasn't enough for the MVP award, however. New Jerseys Devils forward Zach Parise earned that honour with two goals and four assists for the East.

''It was fun. You could see the skill out there,'' Parise said. ''Then in the last 30 seconds the intensity picked up when we were only a goal ahead.''

Andrej Meszaros of the Ottawa Senators also had two goals while Ryan Whitney of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Paul Rangers of the Tampa Bay Lightning had the others for the East. Penguins star centre Evgeni Malkin, the odds-on favourite to win the NHL's Calder Trophy this season as rookie of the year, somehow didn't manage a single point on his team's nine goals.

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Crosby steals show at Skills Competition

Canadian Press
1/23/2007 10:42:09 PM

DALLAS (CP) - Sid the Kid sizzled while Alex Ovechkin fizzled.

Sidney Crosby's two shootout goals in the final event of the NHL skills competition Tuesday night lifted the Eastern Conference to a 15-11 win over their Western Conference counterparts. The Pittsburgh Penguins centre beat Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo twice on three chances in the last event of the night.

''We had to rely on Sid the Kid to win it for us,'' said New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur.

That may be the case again Wednesday night in the 55th NHL all-star game.

''I think I'm competitive,'' said Crosby, who beat Teemu Selanne in the one-on-one shootout showdown to end the night. ''It was down to me and Teemu, a guy I grew up watching.

''It was fun just to go out there and do it.''

Crosby also scored in an earlier shootout attempt on Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff to give him three in total on four chances. All of which went against what he's done in real NHL shootouts in his young career, going only 2-for-11 - and 0-for-5 this season.

''Yeah, all those times I missed this year finally made it worth it I guess to come in here and be able to score,'' Crosby said. ''They must have been expecting something else and I surprised them with some junky ones I guess.''

Luongo was named top goalie in the event despite allowing the two goals to Crosby - they were the only ones he allowed all night.

Ovechkin, meanwhile, stunned the crowd at American Airlines Center when he finished dead last in the fastest skater contest.

''It was a good experience,'' said the Washington Capitals star. ''But with no warmups I though it was hard.

''If we had 10 minutes to skate before it would have been better.''

He also tripped and nearly crashed into the boards after being stopped by Luongo on a shootout attempt, ending a frustrating night.

Andy McDonald of the Anaheim Ducks was the fastest skater at 14.03 seconds, no threat on Mike Gartner's record of 13.386. Ovechkin crossed the line in 15.19 seconds.

Montreal Canadiens power-play king Sheldon Souray was dethroned in the hardest shot competition, his 100 mile-an-hour blast topped by the 100.4 m.p.h. shot of Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara. Souray had in fact predicted Chara might win last week.

''I could have been better tonight but I also think he could have been better, too,'' said Souray, who shared the title at the 2004 all-star game with Adrian Aucoin at 102.2 m.p.h. ''I thought we'd both shoot harder tonight.''

Chara downplayed his win.

''My money was on Shelly,'' said Chara. ''I got lucky.''

Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes and Marian Hossa of the Atlanta Thrashers tied in the shooting accuracy, both drawing ooohs and ahhhs from the crowd with four hits on five attempts.

Earlier on Tuesday, Phil Kessel added another story line to his courageous comeback from cancer. The Boston Bruins rookie winger scored a hat trick in the YoungStars Game as the Eastern Conference beat the Western Conference 9-8.

Kessel, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this season, also added an assist in the four-on-four event.

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A look at the NHL all-star skill competition Tuesday


Puck Control Relay, team event: Eastern Conference. Daniel Briere of Buffalo, Tomas Kaberle of Toronto and Martin St. Louis of Tampa skated faster around the pylons than their Western counterparts Brian Rolston of Minnesota, Lubomir Visnovsky of Los Angeles and Teemu Selanne of Anaheim. The turning point was Visnosvsky losing the puck momentarily.

East 1, West 0

Puck Control Relay, individual event: Rick Nash of Columbus beat Jay Bouwmeester of Florida. It wasn't close.

East 1, West 1

Fastest Skater: Andy McDonald, Anaheim, 14.03 seconds. The West also won the team score with a faster average time as McDonald, Bill Guerin of St. Louis (14.34) and Patrick Marleau of San Jose (14.08) beat Eric Staal of Carolina (14.50), Brian Campbell of Buffalo (14.97) and Alex Ovechkin of Washington (15.19).

West 3, East 1

Shootout No. 1: Each goal counts towards overall score. Bill Guerin of St. Louis and Jonathan Cheechoo of San Jose beat Montreal's Cristobal Huet while the Habs goalie stopped Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit and Patrick Marleau of San Jose. Simon Gagne of Philadelphia was the only Eastern player to beat hometown goalie Marty Turco of Dallas, the Stars netminder stopping Brendan Shanahan, Eric Staal of Carolina and Daniel Briere of Buffalo.

West 5, East 2

Hardest Shot: Zdeno Chara, Boston, 100.4 m.p.h. Defending champion Sheldon Souray of Montreal was second at 100. The East also took the team point with a higher average shot speed of 95.3.

West 5, East 4

Shootout No. 2: Marian Hossa of Atlanta, Justin Williams of Carolina and Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh scored on Calgary's Mikka Kiprusoff while Martin St. Louis of Tampa was stopped. The West got goals from Martin Havlat of Chicago and Andy McDonald of Anaheim while New Jersey's Martin Brodeur stopped Teemu Selanne of Anaheim and Rick Nash of Columbus.

West 7, East 7

Shooting Accuracy: Eric Staal, Carolina, and Marian Hossa, Atlanta, shared the title after tying at four hits on five attempts. The East, who also had Simon Gagne of Philadelphia and Brendan Shanahan of the Rangers, also took the other point with an overall record of 14 hits on 24 attempts. The West went 12 for 28 with Jonathan Cheechoo of San Jose, Joe Sakic of Colorado, Yanic Perreault of Phoenix and Joe Thornton of San Jose.

East 9, West 7

In The Zone: Three players must make at least two passes before shooting on goal. The East won after the group of Daniel Briere and Brian Campbell of Buffalo and Eric Staal of Carolina scored the only two goals of the event. Five other groups were shut out.

East 10, West 7

Shootout No. 3: Roberto Luongo of Vancouver pitched a shutout on his four Eastern shooters, stopping Dany Heatley of Ottawa, Vincent Lecavalier of Tampa, Jason Blake of the Islanders and Alex Ovechkin of Washington. The West then got goals from Joe Sakic of Colorado, Ryan Smyth of Edmonton and Joe Thornton of San Jose while Brian Rolston of Minnesota was stopped by Ryan Miller of Buffalo.

East 10, West 10

One-on-One Shootout: Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh beat Teemu Selanne in the one-on-one showdown, scoring on two of three shootout attempts on Roberto Luongo while Selanne scored once on three chances on Ryan Miller. Three points were also awarded for the winner in this attempt while the goals also counted.

The final: East 15, West 11
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NHL All-Stars collide in Dallas

(Sports Network) - The first NHL All-Star Game in three years will take place Wednesday at American Airlines Center in Dallas, where the best players from the Eastern and Western Conference battle each other in the 55th edition of the game.

The last All-Star Game was played on February 8, 2004, when the East earned a 6-4 victory at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. After the lockout wiped out the entire 2004-05 campaign, All-Star festivities were once again put on hold last year so players could represent their countries in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

This is the first time the NHL has taken the mid-season showcase to Dallas, but it's the second All-Star Game hosted by the Stars franchise. The club also held the game in 1972, when they were still the Minnesota North Stars. The 2007 contest is the third since the league went back to the traditional East-West format. Prior to this stretch, the league used the North America vs. the World theme for five years.

The conferences have split the last two meetings, with the West posting a 6-5 decision over the East in a shootout during the 2003 encounter held in Sunrise, FL.

Starting in goal for the Eastern Conference will be Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres. This is the first All-Star Game appearance for the 26-year-old Miller, who is 24-8-3 with a .915 save percentage and 2.62 goals against average this year.

One of Miller's starting defensemen will be his Buffalo teammate Brian Campbell. It's also the first All-Star Game for Campbell, who has five goals and 21 assists on the year and is also sporting a solid plus-18 rating.

Joining Campbell in the starting defense pairing will be Sheldon Souray of the Montreal Canadiens. Souray leads all NHL defensemen with 16 goals and is tied for second among blueliners with 40 points. This is the second All-Star Game in the eight-year career of Souray.

The starting forwards for the East feature a trio of first-time All-Stars and two of the biggest names in hockey today.

Pittsburgh phenom Sidney Crosby is the NHL's leading scorer at the break and will be the starting center for the Eastern Conference. The 19-year-old Nova Scotian has a league-high 72 points (24 goals, 48 assists) and is clearly not suffering from a sophomore slump.

Crosby is also the youngest player voted as a starter to the All-Star Game since fan balloting began in 1986.

Crosby will be joined on the top line by winger Alexander Ovechkin, the winner of last year's Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie. The 21-year- old has 29 goals and 36 assists this season and is tied for third in the NHL with 65 points.
Ovechkin and Crosby are both former first overall picks in the NHL draft. The Russian winger was the top pick in 2004 and Crosby was No. 1 the following year.

Joining the dynamic duo in the starting lineup will be Buffalo's Daniel Briere. At 29 years old, Briere is a grizzled old veteran compared to his two linemates. The Quebec native leads the Sabres in points (57) and assists (39) and also has 18 goals.

The starting goaltender for the Western Conference will be Roberto Luongo, who is having a stellar season in his first year with the Vancouver Canucks. Luongo is 27-16-1 with a .918 save percentage and 2.38 GAA in 45 games this year. This will be the second All-Star Game for Luongo, as he was selected as a reserve while still with the Florida Panthers in 2004.

Luongo would've benefited from the presence of two Norris Trophy winning defenseman in his starting lineup, but one of those blueliners, Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer, has decided to skip the game because of an injury. That will leave the West with just one Norris winner in Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, a four-time recipient of the award and a nine-time All-Star. The 36- year-old Swede has 10 goals and 30 assists this year and leads the NHL with a plus-30 rating.

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Messier hands Crosby leadership award

Canadian Press
1/24/2007 8:09:28 PM

DALLAS (CP) - Sidney Crosby got the stamp of approval from one of hockey's great leaders Wednesday.

In presenting the Pittsburgh Penguins star the NHL's monthly leadership award named after him, Mark Messier gushed about the 19-year-old.

''I think it's clear to everyone that Sidney is becoming everything that he was billed as before he came into the league,'' Messier said with Crosby at his side. ''He's really separated himself from the rest of the pack in the last month and a half.''

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Messier takes his shots in broadcasting

Associated Press
Jan 24, 2007, 9:40 PM EST

DALLAS (AP) -Mark Messier played in 15 All-Star games during a 25-season career. Now retired, the future Hall of Famer was still part of Wednesday's night's midseason NHL showcase as a television analyst.

Messier, who retired in September 2005, was part of the broadcast team for Versus.

"It's been an interesting endeavor," Messier said Wednesday. "I have a lot more respect for the folks that do that for a living."

While Messier said he would like to get back into hockey in some capacity "probably starting next year," he doesn't plan to do it as a full-time broadcaster. He hopes to get involved in management or coaching.

Messier retired as the second-leading scorer in NHL history, trailing only Wayne Gretzky, with 1,887 points (694 goals and 1,193 assists). He won six Stanley Cup titles - five with Edmonton and one with the New York Rangers.

The Rangers retired Messier's No. 11 jersey last year. The Oilers are doing the same Feb. 27, when former teammate Gretzky and his Phoenix Coyotes come to town.

"I was really ready to retire. I felt that I had come to the end of my career and I was very confident that it was the right decision," Messier said. "But you definitely miss it."

But Messier has filled his time spending time with his young family, including a 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. He also has a 19-year-old son that plays for the Texas Tornadoes, a nationally ranked youth hockey team in the Dallas area.


HOMETOWN STARTER: Dallas Stars defenseman Philippe Boucher ended up being a starter in the first All-Star appearance of his 14-season career - in his home arena.

Boucher replaced Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer in the starting lineup for the Western Conference. Niedermayer, a starter for the Eastern Conference in the 2004 All-Star game, was voted in as a starter but didn't participate because of an injury.

Boucher was the last player introduced and received a standing ovation while fans chanted "Bouch".

Boucher, with 33 points in 45 games for the Stars, is the only defenseman leading his team in scoring at the All-Star break.


HOCKEY IN BIG D: When the NHL came to Texas in 1993 after the Minnesota North Stars moved south, there were only five sheets of ice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

There are now 25 sheets of ice in Dallas, where the NHL All-Star game was played Wednesday night.

"This has been an incredible success story in terms of the development of the game," commissioner Gary Bettman said. "It's a testament to the great fans we have here and to the Stars organization."

When the Stars arrived, there were no high school hockey teams in the area. Now there are 70. The number of youths playing organized hockey has increased from about 250 to more than 5,000.


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