|Manny Legace of the St. Louis Blues was once Chris Osgood's backup goaltender in Detroit. Later, the two swtiched roles during the Wing's 2005-06 season.
Legace and Osgood, whose careers have crossed some interesting paths through St. Louis and Detroit, were two of the three goalies named to the Western Conference All-Star team Thursday as the reserves were announced.
San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who owns a League-best 23 victories, will also get a period between the pipes for the Western Conference at the NHL All-Star Game Jan. 27 in Atlanta.
Roberto Luongo, who was voted in as a starter, withdrew his services in order to spend time with his wife, Gina, who is pregnant.
The League will announce the Eastern Conference reserves Friday.
“As a professional athlete I respect All-Star Games and stuff like that and I enjoy going to them so it’s not something that pleased me,” Luongo told the Vancouver Canucks' Web site. “At the same time my wife is in Florida -- she’s been there all year except for a few weeks in November -- and it’s a good chance for me to spend some quality time with her, something I haven’t done all year. It hasn’t been an easy situation to be apart like that and that’s why I came to this decision.”
Legace and Osgood used to tail each other like dogs sniffing out the same bone. Legace, who will be making his first All-Star appearance, was Osgood’s backup in Detroit for the 2000-01 season. Osgood, who was an All-Star for three straight seasons from 1996-98, was Legace’s backup with the Wings for the 2005-06 season.
Osgood stayed in Detroit as the backup to Dominik Hasek last season, but Legace signed as an unrestricted free agent to be the No. 1 goalie in St. Louis. The Blues, of course, employed Osgood only two seasons earlier.
Now Osgood, who signed a three-year contract extension this week, is in the midst of a resurgent season in Detroit, and Legace has the Blues back in playoff contention for the first time since before the lockout.
“At this stage of my career, this is pretty cool,” Osgood said on the Red Wings’ Web site.
The goalie trio will have some serious star power playing in front of it. Joining Detroit veteran Nicklas Lidstrom (video) and Calgary’s third-year hitman Dion Phaneuf on the Western Conference blue line are three veterans and a newcomer.
It will be the sixth All-Star Game appearance for Chris Pronger (video) of the Anaheim Ducks, the fifth for Ed Jovanovski of the Phoenix Coyotes, and the fourth for Dallas Stars’ veteran Sergei Zubov.
“This is a huge honor for me and I am very excited to represent my team at the All-Star Game,” Zubov told the Dallas Stars’ Web site. “My teammates had a lot to do with this because I would obviously not being going if it wasn’t for them. It should be a fun weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Chicago third-year defenseman Duncan Keith, who has impressed with his plus-17 rating and 14 points, is the only member of the Western Conference’s defense making his first All-Star Game appearance.
San Jose center Joe Thornton and Columbus center Rick Nash (video) are slated to be the only Western Conference forwards who actually played in last season’s All-Star Game in Dallas. Detroit left wing Henrik Zetterberg (video), who will start this year’s game alongside Jarome Iginla and Pavel Datsyuk, was selected as a reserve last season but had to withdraw due to injury.
Joining Thornton and Nash as the reserve forwards are Jason Arnott of the Nashville Predators, Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild, Ryan Getzlaf (audio | video) of the Anaheim Ducks, Shawn Horcoff of the Edmonton Oilers, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, Henrik Sedin (video) of the Vancouver Canucks, and Paul Stastny (video) of the Colorado Avalanche.
“It’s surprised me a little bit how quickly I’ve transitioned to the (NHL) game in the past year and a half, but my goal is to not be satisfied and keep getting better,” Stastny told the Avalanche Web site. "I’ve got so many good players around me, it’s pretty easy to play with some of the guys I’ve been playing with."
Getzlaf and Kopitar each played in the YoungStars Game last season as rookies. Stastny is in just his second NHL season, too, and he’s also making his first All-Star Game appearance. So are Sedin and Horcoff.
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