ARLINGTON, Va. -- Dennis Wideman picked up his phone Thursday afternoon, heard the voice on the other end, and figured he was wrong.
"I didn't know what was going on, but in my experience when the GM calls you it's usually not good news," Wideman said smiling.
This time it wasn't. This time, it was Washington general manager George McPhee calling Wideman to tell him he had been selected to play in his first career NHL All-Star Game.
Wideman was among 10 defensemen picked on Thursday to join fan vote favorites Erik Karlsson and Dion Phaneuf in the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game, which will be played Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
To say Wideman was surprised at McPhee's news is an understatement.
"I got the call from George, and you guys all know, you've talked to George, he's pretty even keeled and when he called me I was like, 'Oh man, where am I going now?' " Wideman said. "It was good. I was pretty excited -- a little caught off guard, but excited about it."
Wideman earned his spot in the All-Star Game with strong offensive numbers in the first half. He has eight goals and 21 assists for 29 points in 41 games, including 16 points in his last 17 games.
He'll join five-time All-Star Alex Ovechkin as the Capitals representatives in Ottawa.
"I think it's going to be an experience," Wideman said. "Obviously guys that have been there eight, nine, 10 times they might want a break, but for me and guys that are getting picked for their first time it's really exciting to get a chance to go and see what it's all about. I've been watching it on TV for years, so it should be exciting."
Wideman isn't quite sure what he'll be asked to do in the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 28, but he has his own ideas of what he'll be good at.
"I'm hoping that we don't all have to do skills and I'm one of the ones that doesn't have to do it," he said. "I'm not even sure what all of them are, but hopefully I can just hold a camera and take some pictures."
Wideman said he will have to cancel a planned trip home in order to go to Ottawa, but he's happy to do it. He also said he will have some family there, but who remains to be seen.
"I'm not even sure how it all works, how many tickets you get," he said.
He's looking forward to figuring it out soon.
"It's something that at some point in your career you hope you get a chance to do," Wideman said of playing in an All-Star Game, "and I was lucky enough this year to get the opportunity."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl