As captains for the 2012 Tim Hortons All-Star Game in Ottawa, Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara have some big decisions ahead of them.
Alfredsson and Chara will have the task of selecting their respective squads during the televised NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft Thursday night at the Théâtre du Casino du Lac-Leamy.
“I think it will be a lot of fun to go up against Chara,” Alfredsson told Sens TV in regards to going head-to-head with his former Senators teammate. “I played with him for a long time and then played against him for a long time. He’s one of the players I respect the most in the league. I look forward to beating him.”
While Chara will get help picking his team from Joffrey Lupul of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Alfredsson will rely on assistance from New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Lupul and Lundqvist were named as assistant captains for their respective squads last Saturday.
“I’m going to need help,” Alfredsson admitted. “I’m pretty novice in this area. I have my wishes that I would like to have on my team, obviously.”
Along with Senators teammates Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson, Alfredsson was voted by fans to the starting lineup for the event along with Leafs defenceman Dion Phaneuf and Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.
“It’s awesome,” Alfredsson told reporters after the starters were announced. “Obviously, thanks to everybody who voted and made this possible. It’ll be a treat for all of us.”
Unless Alfredsson finds a way to draft all three of his Ottawa teammates, they may end up playing against each other in the contest, just as twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin did at last year’s event in Raleigh, N.C. Having played alongside each other with the Vancouver Canucks for their entire careers, the high-scoring twins were separated to play for opposing squads chosen by captains Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings.
Alfredsson has gone on record to say that if he gets the first pick, he will use it to take Karlsson.
“My kids would be disappointed if I didn’t pick Erik and he’s a pretty good player,” said Alfredsson, while noting that Chara would then likely take Thomas, his Bruins teammate. “I assume if I pick Karlsson, he’ll pick Thomas. If not, he might be my second pick.”
Unless Chara decides to put his differences against the Vancouver Canucks aside, Alfredsson might be able to select both Sedin twins and defenceman Alexander Edler to play on his team.
“I thought about that when I found out that Chara was going to be the other captain,” Alfredsson said. “I don’t know if I should be smart and wait. I don’t know if he’s going to pick any Canuck players with their history from last year. We’ll see what happens.”
The other compelling storyline heading into Thursday’s player draft is which player will be chosen last. Phil Kessel had to wait until the end of last year’s draft before Lidstrom chose him as the final pick by default.
“Somebody’s going to have to be last,” Alfredsson said. “That’s the way it is.”
There is a silver lining to being chosen last though. After having to wait until the bitter end to hear his name called, Kessel was awarded with a new hybrid Honda CR-Z and $20,000 US, which he donated to a cancer charity.
Complete roster for the Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game
Goalies: Tim Thomas (Boston), Brian Elliott (St. Louis), Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers), Jimmy Howard (Detroit), Carey Price (Montreal), Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles).
Defencemen: Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), Dion Phaneuf (Toronto), Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg – injured), Kimmo Timonen (Philadelphia), Brian Campbell (Florida), Dan Girardi (New York Rangers), Zdeno Chara (Boston), Alex Edler (Vancouver), Shea Weber (Nashville), Ryan Suter (Nashville), Dennis Wideman (Washington), Keith Yandle (Phoenix).
Forwards: Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa), Jason Spezza (Ottawa), Milan Michalek (Ottawa), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), Marian Hossa (Chicago), Patrick Kane (Chicago), Steve Stamkos (Tampa Bay), Joffrey Lupul (Toronto), Phil Kessel (Toronto), Jamie Benn (Dallas), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia), John Tavares (New York Islanders), Tyler Seguin (Boston), Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers), Daniel Sedin (Vancouver), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver), Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh), Jarome Iginla (Calgary), Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Mikko Koivu (Minnesota – injured), Logan Couture (San Jose), Jason Pominville (Buffalo), Corey Perry (Anaheim), Alex Ovechkin (Washington – won’t play due to suspension).
Rookies: Cody Hodgson (Vancouver), Craig Smith (Nashville), Colin Greening (Ottawa), Matt Read (Philadelphia), Sean Couturier (Philadelphia), Ryan Johansen (Columbus), Justin Faulk (Carolina), Luke Adam (Buffalo), Adam Henrique (New Jersey), Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado), Adam Larson (New Jersey), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton – injured).