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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Friday, 01.28.2011 / 8:32 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - NHL.com at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft

Staal family reunited, Big Buff back with Kane

13. Marc Staal, New York Rangers, D (Team Staal)
14. Dustin Byfuglien, Atlanta, D (Team Lidstrom)

The family is back together. Linda Staal got her wish to have her boys on the same team, and now Eric doesn't have to listen to mom get mad at him for not picking younger brother Marc.

Marc said he didn't really care all that much, but he did, in fact, call his brother "classless" just a few minutes ago.

Gotta think that Kane and St. Louis had something to say about picking Big Buff. He's having a monster season and Kane knows all about it because the Hawks are missing him while St. Louis is the one who has to deal with him in the Southeast Division now.
POSTED ON Friday, 01.28.2011 / 8:30 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - NHL.com at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft

The King and Briere go next

11. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, G (Team Staal)
12. Danny Briere, Philadelphia, C/W (Team Lidstrom)

Eric Staal had this pick teed up. Just after hearing his brother, Marc, call him "classless" for not picking him first overall and instead going with Ward, Eric stands at the podium and said, "Our next pick, from the New York Rangers....

"Henrik Lundqvist."

Marc must be crushed.

Lidstrom went with Briere, allowing Pat Kane to do the picking. No wonder Kane thinks Briere is a "heck of a player." They play a lot of the same type of game.
POSTED ON Friday, 01.28.2011 / 8:20 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - NHL.com at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft

Nash off the board, Lidstrom gets a goalie

9. Rick Nash, Columbus, W (Team Staal)
10. Tim Thomas, Boston, G (Team Lidstrom)

Just after Duthie finished lauding Nash, one of the better performers in recent All-Star Game history, Team Staal listened and went with the Blue Jackets center. Green made the pick for Team Staal and swears they had this pick made before Duthie went through his convincing diatribe about Nash.

Team Lidstrom finally has a goalie in the fifth round. It also has the best in the NHL so far this season. Thomas, picked by fellow Vermont Catamount Marty St. Louis, is the second goalie off the board behind Ward. Each team will have to use two of their next five picks on goalies.
POSTED ON Friday, 01.28.2011 / 8:17 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - NHL.com at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft

Chara and Weber, hulking D-men, go in the same round

7. Zdeno Chara, Boston, D (Team Staal)
8. Shea Weber, Nashville, D (Team Lidstrom)

A run on blue-liners. A run on giant blue-liners.

Staal picked Chara because he didn't want to face him throughout the game on Sunday. So, to match that pick Lidstrom, via St. Louis, went with the hulking Weber.

The Hardest Shot competition should be fascinating.
POSTED ON Friday, 01.28.2011 / 8:15 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - NHL.com at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft

Sedin vs. Sedin

5. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver, W (Team Staal)
6. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver, C (Team Lidstrom)


This is what we were hoping for. The Sedins will not be on the same team. You just have to wonder how Henrik feels about going second, behind Daniel. Hey, Henrik is 6 minutes older than Daniel, shouldn't he have been the first pick.

Ryan Kesler did the picking for Team Staal, so maybe Henrik, the Canucks captain, will have some words for his team's leading scorer.

For the record, Daniel told us earlier today that he will not drop the gloves with Henrik because, "I don't want to hurt him."
POSTED ON Friday, 01.28.2011 / 8:12 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - NHL.com at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft

Ovi, Keith off the board

3. Alex Ovechkin, Washington, W (Team Staal)
4. Duncan Keith, Chicago, D (Team Lidstrom)

Staal let his assistant Mike Green make this selection and that's when it became obvious who was next to come off the draft board. Alex Ovechkin became the third pick in the draft, a little later than he expected. He thought he'd be a late first-rounder.

Lidstrom similarly let Patrick Kane do the picking on this one, but it wasn't as obvious who he was going to pick. He chose, "My boy"....Duncan Keith.

WHA? We had to think it was going to be Toews, but Lidstrom went with the D here.
POSTED ON Friday, 01.28.2011 / 8:10 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - NHL.com at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft

Staal wins puck flip, thanks fans, quickly ends drama

1. Cam Ward, Carolina, G (Team Staal)
2. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay, C (Team Lidstrom

Eric Staal won the puck flip and just as I suspected he went with his buddy

"With the first pick in the NHL Fantasy Draft," Staal says, "I'm going to take my boy, Cam Ward."

Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward told James Duthie from TSN that he must have been the best player available.

This isn't surprising, and I'll just have to say here and now that I had this pegged in our Mock Draft III when I was playing the role of Team Staal.

Nicklas Lidstrom, who admitted that there is pressure involved in this, went with the safe bet and chose the NHL's leading scorer Steven Stamkos. Lidstrom said that Marty St. Louis, his assistant captain, had a big say in it.
POSTED ON Friday, 01.28.2011 / 8:00 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Ready to Raleigh

Family reunion important for Marc Staal

Eric Staal is more than just a part of the host team here this weekend. He's also hosting most of his family and the Staal clan is treating it as a family reunion, minus Jared, the youngest brother who is playing in the ECHL.

Even Penguins center Jordan Staal came down for the weekend despite not having a spot in the NHL's event.

"It is pretty special," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal told NHL.com. "We don't really get to see each other unless it's during the summers when we get together. It's pretty cool we're all here this weekend. It'll be pretty special with the game, the skills competition, the draft. I know my parents are enjoying it and we will too. It should be fun."

Marc said one of the most important parts of the weekend is he and Jordan are getting to see their nephew, Eric's son 19-month-old son Parker.

Parker doesn't get to see his hockey-playing uncles too much, but he's getting a lot of face time with Jordan and Marc this weekend.

"I haven't seen him since the summer and he was about a year and a bit then," Marc said. "He was just starting to walk when I saw him then and now he's running around and trying to talk but can't. It's pretty cool. It's good to see him again."

Does he recognize you and Jordan?

"He doesn't recognize us, but he's not a very shy kid so he's not scared of anybody," Marc said.
Marc has already been to two All-Star Weekends, but both times he was there as part of the YoungStars Game. This is the first time he's part of the big show.
So, what does he want to get out of the weekend?

"I want to win a car. That's what I want," he said, referring to the prize the All-Star Game MVP traditionally goes home with. "Eric got one (Atlanta, 2008) so I want one now."

Good answer, but that's all?

"I'm just going to enjoy it myself, take it all in," he said. "You never know if you're going to be back or when you're going to be back so you're just going to enjoy it as much as you can…and win a car."
POSTED ON Wednesday, 01.26.2011 / 9:40 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Ready to Raleigh

Several stars play leading roles Tuesday

Wayne Gretzky turns 50 today. He played in how many All-Star Games?

Oh, that would be 18.

He owns how many All-Star Game records?

Yeah, that would be six.

He was the MVP of the game how many times?

Try three.

Crazy, right? The Great One is 50…

OK, had to give that little tribute. Now onto the All-Star news of the morning -- several players heading to Raleigh had big nights Tuesday.

Anaheim's Jonas Hiller won his League-leading 25th game by stopping at least 35 shots for the 16th time this season in a 3-2 win in Columbus. Rick Nash in that same game scored a power-play goal to extend his scoring streak to eight games. It was Nash's 23rd goal of the season, which ties him with Eric Staal and Jeff Carter for eighth in the League.

Hiller wasn't the only All-Star goalie who had a big night. Marc-Andre Fleury, the fan's pick to attend All-Star Weekend, made 29 saves in a 1-0 win over the Islanders. It was Fleury's second shutout of the season and he improved to 23-11-2, or better yet, 22-5-2 since Nov. 12.

And, Nash wasn't the only player to extend a scoring streak last night.

Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle, who earlier in the day was named a replacement for the injured Tobias Enstrom, extended his scoring streak to eight games with 2 assists in a 4-3 loss to Edmonton. Claude Giroux's scoring streak went to seven games as he scored a power-play goal in a 5-2 win over Montreal.

Yandle is tied with Team Lidstrom captain Nicklas Lidstrom for second among defensemen in scoring with 42 points. He's tied with Lubomir Visnovsky for the League-lead among defensemen with 35 assists. Giroux is tied for 13th in the NHL with 47 points.

Not to be outdone, Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who did not take the morning skate due to a lower-body injury, played against Minnesota and assisted on both of Chicago's goals in a 4-2 loss.

Rangers defenseman Marc Staal didn't make the scoresheet in a 4-3 loss to Florida, but hew as a plus-1 and played a game-high 26:02, helping the Blueshirts limit the Panthers to just 17 shots. Rangers rookie Derek Stepan, who is heading to Raleigh to participate in the Honda SuperSkills competition, had a goal on four shots.

Patrick Sharp and Martin Havlat, who was named as a replacement for Ales Hemsky earlier in the day, each scored in Chicago. Oilers rookie Taylor Hall had a tying goal and an assist on the winner in Phoenix.
POSTED ON Friday, 12.31.2010 / 11:40 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Winter Classic Blog

Francis lives out a dream

PITTSBURGH -- Ron Francis has already played with and won championships with fellow Hall of Famers like Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey and Bryan Trottier. So, playing with them again in the Alumni Game here at Heinz Field was nothing new.

Francis, though, was thrilled for an altogether different reason.

"What makes it even more interesting for me is I've always been a die hard Steelers fan going back to the Iron Curtain defense," Francis told NHL.com. "When I first got traded here I got to meet Jack Lambert in the locker room after some games. I went to a lot of football games over the years and became very friendly with Bill Cowher and to this day I'm a big Steelers fan. To have the opportunity to be out on this field playing a hockey game with guys like Mario and Coff and all the guys you won championships with it's a special moment. I am really fortunate I had the opportunity to do it. I appreciate the chance."

Francis is also lucky he had this chance. His team, the Carolina Hurricanes, has played on New Year's Eve every year he's been on the executive staff dating back to 2006. The Canes, though, aren't scheduled to play again until Saturday, so Francis was able to fly into Pittsburgh on Thursday.

He'll have to leave Friday night so he can make it back in time for Saturday's morning skate in Raleigh.

"This is one of the few times we aren't playing New Year's Eve so it gave me the opportunity to come in," Francis, who is the Canes associate head coach and Director of Player Personnel. "Any time you get together with the guys and have a lot of fun, rehash old stories it's enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed this."

Francis said Friday was only the second time since he retired five years ago that he put on his gear. The first time was during the annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game during his induction weekend in November 2008.

He's on the ice everyday with the Hurricanes, but that's in a track suit and "you are basically just standing around and pushing pucks. It's a little different."

How did he feel when it was all over?

"I actually feel pretty good," he said. "I had pretty good linemates (Kevin Stevens and Bryan Trottier). They can work hard in the corners those two guys. Made it easy for me."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild