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Posted On Sunday, 01.29.2012 / 5:23 PM

By Bob Condor -  NHL.com Editor-in-Chief /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Plenty of nerves for band Lifehouse at All-Star Game

When the NHL called, the Canadian bass guitarist Bryce Soderberg answered for his top-hits band Lifehouse. The band played at the Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Pre-Game Celebration before Sunday's game pitting Team Alfredsson and Team Chara.

"It's the NHL, we had to come," said Soderberg, explaining the band has been working on its newest album in Los Angeles. "I told the guys we had to do it."

Soderberg grew up in British Columbia like every kid, he said: "Born with a hockey stick and skates." He is a staunch Vancouver Canucks fan ("it's great to see the Sedins both here; I am wondering why Roberto Luongo isn't an All-Star) but his best friend in hockey is recently retired Dallas Stars center Mike Modano.

"We met at a concert in Dallas," said Soderberg. "He is a fan of the band and I became a fan of his. We keep in touch."

Soderberg's enthusiasm for the Canucks has rubbed off on lead singer and guitarist Jason Wade.

"I have become a Vancouver fan," said Wade. "It makes sense, since I grew up in Port Orchard, Wash."

Wade said the group's new album requires "turning the brain off and not thinking about anything." Wade and his band members talked to NHL.com before their 75-minute gig in Ottawa's downtown convention center.

Hours later, Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard was talking about "knots in his stomach" during player introductions. In similar fashion, Wade talked about still feeling nervous before performing too.

"If you stop being nervous, you stop caring," said Wade. "We'll be like that with this band."
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Posted On Saturday, 01.28.2012 / 5:49 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Sticks used in Hardest Shot Competition

Defensemen generally use stiffer sticks, which produce harder shots. Forwards typically want light sticks, which allow for greater stick-handling ability ... The 'stiffness' of a stick means how hard it is and typically varies from a flex of 80-120. 'Flex' is a measure that tests how much a shaft will bend; the higher the flex, the more force needed to bend the shaft of the stick.

TEAM ALFREDSSON TEAM CHARA
Player Stick Player Stick
Justin Faulk Easton SE Luke Adam Bauer TotalOne
Daniel Alfredsson Easton RS Dennis Wideman Bauer Vapor APX
Jason Spezza Easton S19 Dion Phaneuf Easton SE16
(EQ Pro Model)
Shea Weber Easton S19 Zdeno Chara Warrior
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Posted On Saturday, 01.28.2012 / 5:45 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Skates used in Fastest Skater Competition

Skates have a lot of variables – hollow, rocker, boot. Every NHL player has a custom skate to fit their particular liking ... Stiff skates allow for more torque so they don't break down ... Skates are sharpened by preference, but most are done before or after the morning skate ... A 1/2” hollow is pretty standard for most players in the League – not too deep, not too shallow and gives a little bit of ability ... The amount of hollow is based on personal preference and style of play, among other things. A heavier player typically doesn't need as deep of a hollow compared to a lighter player. A deeper hollow allows for more grip of the ice ... The rocker (curvature to the blade) affects how much blade is on the ice – more blade on the ice = more power ... Marian Hossa wears '38' on both skates on the outside heel of the blade in honor of Pavol Demitra.

TEAM ALFREDSSON TEAM CHARA
Player Skates Player Skates
Kris Letang Bauer TotalOne Brian Campbell Bauer TotalOne
Carl Hagelin Reebok 11K Colin Greening Bauer Vapor
Keith Yandle Reebok 11K Phil Kessel Bauer Vapor X60
Erik Karlsson Bauer Vapor X7.0 Marian Hossa CCM U+

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Posted On Friday, 01.27.2012 / 6:29 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Phaneuf: Canadian flavor adds to All-Star buzz


OTTAWA -- Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf said Friday that having the NHL All-Star Game in a Canadian city has added a new level of excitement for him.

"Look at the city, you can feel the buzz," Phaneuf said. "This is the first one in a Canadian city that I've been to, and it's an honor to be here. To take part in an All-Star Game in a Canadian city is a lot of fun. They're doing a great job of hosting this event."

Phaneuf was then asked a question pertaining to Alex Ovechkin's absence from the event.

"He's entitled to make his choice," Phaneuf said. "I know I'm enjoying being here."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
 
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Posted On Friday, 01.27.2012 / 6:26 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Benn ready for action at All-Star Game

The 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game will be Jamie Benn's first action since having his appendix removed on Jan. 15. He says he's ready to go, and he wouldn't be here this weekend if he wasn't.

However, he also said that the timing of the All-Star break is perfect because odds are he would have missed a few more games if the season never stopped.

"I only missed five games, which isn't too bad I guess," Benn said Friday. "It was good timing, and I'll be ready to go after the break here. I'm looking forward to it."

The Stars are back in action Wednesday at Anaheim. However, Benn isn't necessarily thinking about that right now. He's enjoying his time in the spotlight as one of the best players in the game.

His appendectomy aside, just being here is important to him and it's why he says he received a vote of support from Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk.

"I had some talks with Joe Nieuwendyk and the doctors, and Joe wanted me to be here and I wanted to really come," Benn said. "It's a good experience being here. It's something I'm taking all in and I'm learning. I'm getting to see the guys and see what they do. I'm having fun with it. We're here for a good weekend."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 01.27.2012 / 4:50 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Lupul still laughing over getting booed during draft

OTTAWA -- The boos Joffrey Lupul heard during Thursday night's fantasy draft were hard to ignore. So the Maple Leafs All-Star who was hearing it from the Senators fans in attendance instead had a good time with it.

Teammate Phil Kessel said he was surprised by the anger directed toward teammates Lupul and Dion Phaneuf.

So was Lupul.

"Yeah, I was a little surprised," Lupul said during Friday's media day. "But that's good. It was fun. The whole thing was fun. If we're getting cheered in Ottawa, that's probably worse. That means we're not doing our job. The rivalry is starting to heat back up a bit. Their team is having a great season and we want to catch them."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Friday, 01.27.2012 / 4:23 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Iginla talks about new faces, skills competition

OTTAWA -- Jarome Iginla, at age 34, knows he's not one of the younger players at this year's All-Star Game.

But his veteran status won't help him out when it comes time for the captains to pick who is doing what during the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

"You kind of ask afterwards. 'Oh, what do you have for me?' Iginla said during media day. "Maybe as an older guy you have some say if you don't really like the event. I think they ask a little bit, like who wants to be in the fastest skater. That one you have to be up for. You don't want to see a big discrepancy in times.

"Maybe some guys take a long to warm up, eh?"

Iginla was asked if this year's game was a chance for some players that aren't necessarily in the spotlight can make a name for themselves with superstars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin absent from the festivities.

"I think there's a lot of skill and yeah, maybe guys who are keyed in on Crosby and Ovechkin, maybe they can enjoy the excitement and dynamic players the NHL does have," Iginla said. "There are a lot of great young guys."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Friday, 01.27.2012 / 4:05 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Media day gets under way at All-Star Weekend

The two-hour fun fest that is All-Star Weekend media day kicked off with the game's three coaches -- Claude Julien, John Tortorella and Todd McLellan holding court for about 10 minutes apiece as the media engulfed them with questions about Sunday's game.

Tortorella, who is coaching Team Alfredsson, said he plans on letting Alfredsson and Henrik Lundqvist make all the lineup decisions while he sits back and watches like a fan. It'll be interesting to see if he maintains that stance if Lundqvist starts double shifting Rangers teammate Dan Girardi in the third period.

The first players to take their spots in their podiums are Zdeno Chara, Marian Gaborik, Dennis Wideman, Dion Phaneuf and Jamie Benn.

Stay tuned for more updates on the happenings on media day.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 11:17 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Phaneuf embraces catcalls from Ottawa fans

The Ottawa Senators fans were unwavering in voicing their disapproval of the Toronto Maple Leafs involved in Thursday's 2012 Molson Canadian NHL Fantasy Player Draft.

Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul was the assistant captain of Team Chara, helping Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara pick the team that would go against Team Alfredsson, chosen by hometown hero Daniel Alfredsson. He was booed lustily each time he announced a pick.

The catcalls, however, reached a crescendo when Lupul announced the selection of Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who has played the role of a villain in the Battle of Ontario since his arrival in Toronto a couple of years ago.

But, Phaneuf had no problem with the passion of the fans.

"The fans were great," Phaneuf said. "They don't like us. It's a big rivalry. They have their opinion. We don't want to be liked by the opposition."
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Posted On Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 7:46 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Alfredsson angling to get all Senators on his side

GATINEAU, Que. -- It wasn't the biggest revelation ever, but less than an hour before the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Fantasy Player Draft started, Team Alfredsson captain Daniel Alfredsson admitted he is angling to get all the hometown Ottawa Senators  -- defenseman Erik Karlsson, center Jason Spezza, and winger Milan Michaalek -- together on his team.
   
"I'd like to see that happen, yes," Alfredsson said. "Who knows how it is going to play out. It would be nice to get the crowd on our side."
   
Alfredsson also said that he would like to get the Swedish players involved in the game -- Ottawa's Karlsson, and Vancouver's Sedin twins, Danny and Henrik and Alex Edler -- on his side, as well. He already has Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist as his assistant captain. Ranger Carl Hagelin is one of 12 rookies named to the roster pool, but he will be selected as part of a group of rookies and not individually.
   
He is counting on his own drafting acumen, as well as the reluctance of opposing captain Zdeno Chara to pick the Vancouver Canucks after Chara's Bruins played Vancouver in a bitterly contested Stanley Cup Final this past June.
   
"Erik is a Sen and I'd like to have him on my team and then, obviously, the Sedins, I wouldn't mind them either," Alfredsson said. "I don't know if we will pick them early or if we will just hope that Zdeno and Lupul won't pick any Canucks."
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Posted On Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 7:36 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Senators excited about being drafted by Alfredsson

GATINEAU, Quebec -- If you think the Ottawa Senators don't care if they don't wind up on Daniel Alfredsson's team during the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft, think again.

"I would be (ticked)," defenseman Erik Karlsson said.

Alfredsson, Karlsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek spoke for a few minutes prior to Thursday night's draft at Hilton Lac Leamy. Spezza was far more diplomatic with the same question.

"I think we'd all prefer to play with him," Spezza said. "But it's his preference. He's the boss."

All four were voted to the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game by the fans. The break is usually an ideal time to get some rest and recharge the batteries, but the players are more than happy to take part in the festivities in front of the home crowd at Scotiabank Place.

"It's nice to be able to be at home and give back to the fans at home," Spezza said. "Tomorrow, I'll probably do a lot of running around. I've got a lot of family and friends coming in for Saturday and Sunday. I need to make sure to take the time to enjoy the game and make sure they enjoy it too. It's going to be a nice mix."

"It's going to be a fun weekend for everybody and I just want to enjoy it," Michalek said.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 7:28 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend blog

Chara talks All-Star Player Fantasy Draft strategy

GATINEAU, Que. -- All-Star captain Zdeno Chara has a strategy in mind for the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft, but he's also expecting his plan to blow up soon after the first pick is made.

"You have some ideas, but I'm not going to lock into them too much," Chara said roughly an hour before the draft was set to begin. "How wrong can you go when you have such a great group of guys in here. You're going to try to do some picks so you don't pick all right wingers. You have to try to select it by position, but we all know that everybody can play."

Chara said because everyone here is an All-Star, it shouldn't matter who gets picked first and who gets picked last even if those are the two most intriguing picks of the night.

"You want to have a little fun with it, but you also try to make real selections," Chara said. "But, really there is no true first pick or true last pick. Everybody is such a good player that they deserve to be here. This is more to make the whole All-Star event more exciting for fans and people around hockey. I guess you have to pick somebody first and somebody is going to be last, but to me it's just something that creates more excitement."

Joffrey Lupul, Chara's assistant here at All-Star weekend, added that it's not all that bad if you're the final pick.

The reward last year for Phil Kessel was a brand new Honda CR-V.

"I know Phil looked uncomfortable up there last year, but he still has a car," Lupul said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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