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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:02 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

End of first

A very entertaining first period is now in the books and it ap;pears that the Chicago Blackhawks are trying to steal the Thunder from the hometown Hurricanes.

Chicago winger Patrick Sharp has three assists for Team Staal and Jonathon Toews has a goal for Team Lidstrom. Pat Kane has an assist -- perhaps the best of the period -- and former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien, now pLaying for Atlanta, scored off that pass.

Right now, 3 Doors Down is rocking the RBC Center with their intermission set and I am having another pulled pork sandwich. I may need a pork product detox when I get back to Jersey.



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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:49 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Chicago connection

And here, perhaps, starts the comeback.

Team Lidstrom's Dustin Byfuglien -- having a season to remember -- just scored a nice tight-angle goal on a one-timer to make it 4-2.

Byfuglien's goal was set up by a familar face in Chicago's Pat Kane. The two combined quite often last season as teammates in Chicago during the run to the Stanley Cup.

Kane made a sweet pass across the crease, which Ward admitted on TV he did not expect, to feed Byfuglien for the shot.

Soon after, Chicago's Jonathon Toews set up Dallas' Loui Eriksson, and Colorado's Matt Duchene followed with a breakaway goal to tie the game at 4-4.

Marc-Andre Fleury has righted the ship after a rugged start to make this game interesting as it heads into the dying minutes of the first period.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:43 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Jinxed

Cam Ward was right to be peeved with the Versus announcers, who mentioned he had not yet allowed a goal during a first-period conversatioin with him. Not two minutes later, Team Lidstrom's Anze Kopitar ended the shutout run with a sweet goal that saw him go top shelf after breaking in alone on Ward.

Team Staal is still dominating though, leading 4-1. Chicago's Patrick Sharp already has three assists.

Needless to say, I didn't see this coming. In my post-draft analysis, I said Team Lidstrom had clear advantages in goal, on defense and at two of the three forward positions. But, it's early and I still believe in the depth of Team Lidstrom. We'll see how smart I am in about two hours.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:37 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

What a start

The home fans are certainly getting what they came for.

Team Staal, captained by Eric Staal and populated with all the Carolina players in the All-Star Game -- Staal, goalie Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner -- is dominating early. Team Staal holds a 4-0 lead just eight minutes into the contest. Alex Ovechkin, Paul Stastny, Patrik Elias and Claude Giroux have the goals.

Ward is also dishing dirt on teammate Skinner, reveling that the 18-year-old rookie -- who looks like pop star Justin Bieber -- has been asked to several proms in the area.

The Carolina goalie is also giving the announcers the gears becuase they just mentioned that he hasn't allowed a goal yet, usually seen as a bad show of form by superstitious goalies.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:36 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

What slump?

Alex Ovechkin is not having the best season of his career and the struggles have been evident as he has been more subdued than normal this weekend.

But the Capitals superstar doesn't struggle in All-Star Games.

In his first three appearances, he had 4 goals. It took him just 52 seconds to find the back of the net Sunday for Team Staal. Ovechkin's goal was a bit lucky as his centering pass bounced off Team Lidstrom defender Duncan Keith and skittered past Marc-Andre Fleury.

"He has not failed ever," Emerick said.

Team Staal got two more goals in the first four minutes to take a 3-0 lead. Team Staal goalie Cam Ward is mic'd for the Versus coverage and he admitted that he felt a little bad for his counterpart at the other end, who is not having the start he envisioned.


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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:10 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Introductions

What a fantastic way to start the afternoon as the game presentation folks paid homage to the pick-up game of shinny with the sticks being piled at center ice and being pulled by a collection of young players.

After the youth players pulled the sticks of a couple of other youth players, Carolina alumni started joining them. With the third stick picked, Rod Brind'Amour came skating to center ice, saying it was his stick. Next, it was Ron Francis joining the group. Then, it was Team Lidstrom captain Nick Lidstrom. Finally, it was Team Staal captain Eric Staal joining the party -- to a huge ovation -- just before the rest of the 2011 All-Stars came streaming onto the ice.

As Versus play-by-play man Mike Emerick said, it was quite the tour through the generations.

The standing ovation for Team Lidstrom coach Peter Laviolette was also very cool. Laviolette, remember, led Carolina to its only Stanley Cup title in 2006.

But, nothing compared to the applause rained down under the Carolina Hurricanes, who were the trhe last three players in the Team Staal lineup to be introduced. Let's just say that the building was rocking like a hurricane when the names of rookie Jeff Skinner, goalie Cam Ward and captain Eric Staal were announced. A truely iconic moment verY early iN the afternoon's proceedings.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 3:34 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Ready to Rock in Raleigh

After three days of build up and fun, the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover is finally ready to get rolling.

The players are on the ice warming up and the anthem singers are starting to get some butterflys.

I, on the other hand, am firmly ensconced in the NHL.com bunker ready to give you the highlights of what will be a memorable game. I'm ready, too, after having spent much of the morning and early afternoon preparing a traditional pig picking. It came of perfectly and I got to sample the finished product, which with fuel me throughout the afternoon.

Not only was the food excellent and the guys and gals from The Pit, a local BBQ institution here in Raleigh, excellent company, but my planning work in making it happen  has eaned me a new nickname. The boys in the bunker here are now talking about pulled Roarke instead of pulled pork. A witty bunch they are.

Now, it's time to put the pig in the memory bank, though and concentrate on the puck. I promise to do my best.
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