NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Nineteen-year-old Gabriel Landeskog was hoping to meet fellow Swede Nicklas Lidstrom, the six-time Norris Trophy winner from the Detroit Red Wings, at the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game. Alas, the second pick in the 2011 Entry Draft will have to wait, as Lidstrom will not be present.
"Lidstrom, those Swedish guys," Landeskog said of who he looked forward to meeting the most right after coming off the ice, where he learned the news that he was one of 12 rookies picked to participate I All-Star Weekend. "(New York Rangers goalie) Henrik Lundqvist. I haven't played against him yet."
Landeskog has 8 goals and 21 assists in 44 games, but perhaps most significantly he owns a plus-9 rating -- best on a team that has a minus-16 goal differential. At 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds, he plays a physical two-way game.
The Avs are finish a home-and-home set with Nashville tonight coming off a 4-1 Predators win Tuesday in which Landeskog threw his body around. Predators coach Barry Trotz joked after his team's morning skate that in the old days Landeskog would have been met with a "Koho sandwich" for his physical play.
"He plays a complete, 200-foot game," Avs coach Joe Sacco said. "He's a really good two-way player for us. He's physical. That's what you probably notice about him more than anything. He's on the body. He finishes his checks. He's difficult to play against for a young player, but he's been doing that pretty much all year long, that physical side of his game. Doesn't really waver that much. He does a lot of dirty work out there. Goes to the hard areas of the ice, competes, battles and he never gives up regardless of the outcome of the game or the score or wherever we're at. He's always competing and that's what I like most about him."
This year's All-Star Game will be only the second time the Avs have not had a player selected to play in the main game since the franchise re-located from Quebec.