TORONTO – Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom were selected as the NHL All-Star team captains, in charge of selecting the players for each squad from a group already chosen by the fans.
The All-Star game is Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C. The players selected for the game voted on the captains and the teams will be named after Staal and Lidstrom.
The captains will select their teams in a live draft two days before the game. They will also set the lineup for the skills competition Jan 29. The alternate captains, still to be determined, will provide input during the draft.
Sidney Crosby was considered a favorite to be selected as captain, but the Pittsburgh Penguins star remains sidelined with a concussion and likely will miss the game. If that happens, it will be the third time he's missed an All-Star game because of injury. His sole appearance was in 2007.
NHLPA divisional player representative Steve Webb phoned each of the all-stars to talk about potential captains. Three names consistently came up: Lidstrom, Staal and Crosby.
"Lidstrom was a no-brainer," Webb said. "The first couple guys I was calling right out of the gate were saying Staal. I think they recognized with Sidney — his name was always in there — but they always added Staal with Sid maybe not being able to appear."
Lidstrom is one of the best defensemen in NHL history and will be appearing in his 12th All-Star game.
Staal is a captain for the hometown Carolina Hurricanes and will be making his fourth All-Star appearance. He was the MVP of the 2008 All-Star game.
Staal has hinted that he'd like to use his first pick in the draft on teammate and goalie Cam Ward. His brother, Rangers defenseman Mark Staal, is also available for selection
The only rules governing the draft are that goaltenders must be off the board after each team's 10th pick and defensemen have to be gone by the 15th selections. The participants are just as curious as fans to see how it turns out.