NHL All-Star Weekend a Fan's Fantasy

NHL All-Star Weekend a Fan’s Fantasy

NHL All Star Game 2011The NHL All-Star game isn’t a regular NHL hockey game.  It’s not supposed to be a regular game.  This year’s NHL All-Star weekend January 28-30 in Raleigh N.C. will prove to be spectacularly entertaining because the NHL is instituting a new playground-style fantasy draft to pick the teams.

This year a player’s conference will not dictate the sweater he dons.  Teams are actually drafted by the players who will be playing in the game. The only thing that even comes close to this style would be a schoolyard recess, where the worst thing that could happen is if you were picked last.  And that is precisely what will make the All-Star draft an exciting and entertaining part of the All-Star weekend.

Here’s how it will work:
Right now there are 42 players (of which 6 were fan-voted online, including Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith) and 12 rookies chosen to the All-Stars .  Once fan voting was over, NHL Hockey Operations chose the remaining 36 players and 12 rookies to be part of the weekend festivities.  Two more Blackhawks were added to the All-Star roster at that time, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.  If you include Thrashers’ defenseman, Dustin Byfuglien, there are 5 All-Stars who won the Stanley Cup last June.

On Tuesday January 18, the All-Stars themselves will cast votes on who will captain the two unnamed teams, which will subsequently bear the names of those chosen captains.

Each team will have one captain and two alternates, and that triumvirate will mastermind the drafting of their respective teams. They will then select their squad without regard to conference at a live player draft Friday January 28, the first day of the All-Star weekend, with the first selection to be determined by a coin flip.

The 12 Rookies participating in the SuperSkills will be divided by the NHL into two groups of six. At the completion of the 15th round of the All-Star Player Fantasy Draft one NHL Rookie will be selected to choose which All-Star team his group will represent for the skills competition.

The SuperSkills competition will highlight six skills including NHL Fastest Skater, NHL Breakaway Challenge, Accuracy Shooting, Skills Challenge Relay, NHL Hardest Shot and NHL Elimination Shoot Out.

The All-Star Fantasy Draft may be as entertaining as the game itself depending on the way the teams shape out.  Alex Ovechkin has already said if he is chosen as captain, he will draft an all Russian team.  Maybe it will be North America vs. The World again after all…

By winning the Stanley Cup in June, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville has earned the privilege to coach one of the teams.  Assistant coach, Mike Haviland will be on the bench with him. The coaches for the other team will be Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault and Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette.

Looks like we’re in for a really fun hockey weekend…

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