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Action and reaction from a whirlwind Fantasy All-Star Draft

Jan 29, 2011, 11:23 AM EST

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Last night’s All-Star Fantasy Draft provided a lot of fun for the players and for those of us in the media looking to have some fun with such a new, quirky way. Asking the guys about strategy and about where they’d like to end up, getting the pre-draft and post-draft reactions provided some of their own entertainment.

A lot of attention was focused on team captain Nicklas Lidstrom. After all, having to lead the way in choosing sides, it’s all part of the job. Lidstrom said he went into last night’s fantasy draft with no real game plan to run with.

“No, no scouting at all for this game,” Lidstrom chuckled. “I know the players pretty well as it is so I didn’t need to do any scouting for them. Kenny (Holland) says ‘defense wins championships’  but I don’t think that will work for a game like this.”

Once the draft was over and Lidstrom’s squad was set up with a host of current and former Chicago Blackhawks alike in Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Dustin Byfuglien and Martin Havlat, Lidstrom was happy to spill the beans why his team has a distinctive Chicago flavor.

“Kane had some part in picking those guys but I don’t mind it either. I faced those guys all the time so it’ll be nice to play with them instead.”

One guy who had a man-of-the-hour flair about him was Team Staal’s first overall pick Cam Ward. Going into the draft Ward was hopeful that he could end up being Staal’s first pick and after winning that recognition, he was more than happy and a bit surprised to get the nod.

“I was surprised. Staal’er wouldn’t lay down his cards and tell me what he’d do. He’s a good friend but I didn’t know if he’d want me to sweat it out down there either.”

Ward was also really excited about having his teammates Staal and Jeff Skinner all together on the team.

“We talked about how great it would be to have us all together on one team and how good it would be for the home fans and it’s nice that it worked out that way.”

One of the more amusing side dramas for the night came for New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. Staal was passed on by his brother Eric on multiple rounds leading to an amusing quip during the draft from him saying how disappointed their mother would be in Eric for not picking him.

Making matters a bit worse for Marc is that his brother also chose his teammate Henrik Lundqvist ahead of him as well. So which one is worse, being made to sweat it out or being picked after his teammate?

“I think giving Henrik bragging rights was worse than waiting.”

So how does one deal with potential Swedish goaltender heckling? Marc’s got a good way to deal with it.

“I don’t know how much I’ll hear from him. I’ll just hit him with a slapper in practice if he does though.”

The key aspect from everyone here is that the players all had fun doing this. From seeing how relaxed the players are in dealing with the throngs of media here to just having fun with the whole thing it’s got to be a relief to be able to just let loose for a few days with your buddies from around the league.  How much that fun stuff shown off on the ice when it comes time to show the pride in your team remains to be seen just yet, but so far for the NHL their mission to make the All-Star Game more interesting is working.

  1. facemaskplease - Jan 29, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Let’s see: The most juvenile presentation ever made any time any where? Probably! Not nice. Not fun. Not real. Not good. Not. Not. Deserves 5 Head Shots. At least!

  2. polegojim - Jan 30, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    Very cool atmosphere and process. The guys were having fun.

    The beauty of the NHL AllStar game is seeing the interaction. Can’t see it as much with others.

    Should be a great offensive game, but with some defensive trickery. Playing against your team mates, and brother on brother will be fun to watch.

    I’d like to see Duchene on an O line with HSedin and Toews.

  3. facemaskplease - Jan 30, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    OK. Hard to know what Lindstrom and Company were thinking, picking Keith over Chara, not begging Grabner’s group to pick him as Captain, skipping over Ovechkin (who is a complete idiot and, at the same time, a shoe in for the Breadaway Challenge), getting confused over which Sedin to choose (Lindstrom chose poorly, obviously), and if it wasn’t for Toews, who Team Lindstrom didn’t even seem to want to pick, Lindstrom would have been totally off the charts. As it is, Team Lindstrom got crushed and Corey Perry made sure of that., but, there is always a but, Lindstrom’s team got the car.

    Personally, I didn’t like the format of players choosing players. In the interest of “giving the game back to the players,” it proved to be a circus, not especially funny or entertaining. I’m going to keep harping on this because they need to elevate their game. This was kind of like sponsored bullying. As well, frankly, when the head and deputy Penguins ain’t in it, there is nothing really to it. When Beckman is saying that “Head Shots” have gone down, how can we believe him, when concussions have gone up. Who is doing the counting here? Let’s wait for an independent study on this one. Now the big thing is decreasing the size of the should pads. Are these people for real? If “denial” is the first line of defense, then these guys are the Maginot Line. The players today are way different in body and build and the game is sooooooo much faster. The head, on the other hand (almost literally). has staid pretty much the same. Let’s be a little more creative, like imposing a rule and actually calling it. Else wise, go to gel suits and helmets and play on slush. I really don’t like seeing players hurt or receiving career ending injuries. All the macho stuff in hockey, all the fighting, may get Don Cherry’s liver going, but not mine. I would rather see passion directed in to a well played game. This does happen still, but it is becoming very rare. And, why not get started on the refs, while we’re at it? They still attend the game right? At least 3 or 4 steps behind the play, before the game even starts, and wearing the same blinders Overtrick wore during his go at the Harness Racing Triple Crown, the referees have blown more calls than they have actually made correct. Check it out.

    Now, the team with the most points is going to win tonight’s game, but of course, Team Lindstrom is surely motivated after their debacle last night and hockey is an emotional game. Score 20-19. Lundquist is only goalie to pitch a shut out during his time in the net. Get out of here!

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