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Who will win? Breaking down All-Star teams

Thursday, 01.26.2012 / 11:45 PM / 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Who will win? Breaking down All-Star teams
With the teams now set, NHL.com's Dan Rosen breaks down Team Alfredsson and Team Chara as they prepare for the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game.
GATINEAU, Que. -- The draft is over, the rosters set for the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game. We now know who will be wearing the white jerseys for Team Alfredsson and the blue jerseys to represent Team Chara.
 
Now it's time to take a look at the rosters and break them down by position. Look for our prediction at the end.
 
FORWARDS
 
Team Chara:
Joffrey Lupul, Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, Corey Perry, Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Jarome Iginla, Marian Gaborik, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn
 

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Team Alfredsson: Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Claude Giroux, Steven Stamkos, Daniel Sedin, Milan Michalek, Henrik Sedin, James Neal, John Tavares, Scott Hartnell, Jason Pominville, Logan Couture
 
Datsyuk and Malkin on the same team is a scary proposition for the opposition. They may be the two most skilled players in the NHL right now. As Chara said, you can put them on the same line and they can be unstoppable, or you can put them on separate lines and they'll still be dominant and "make the line."
 
Team Alfredsson has a lot of talent, but it doesn't have two forwards (both centers by the way), as dynamic as Datsyuk and Malkin.
 
You have to like the fact, too, that Team Chara has both Marians, Hossa and Gaborik. Patrick Kane has played some center this season, so he can slot in between those two to create one heck of a scoring line. Kane, though, could also play in between Kessel and Lupul. That wouldn't be bad either.
 
Team Chara can have a fourth line of Jamie Benn between Jordan Eberle and Tyler Seguin. There may not be a line hungrier to have a good showing in the All-Star Game than that one. They're all first-time All-Stars looking to make a bigger name for themselves in the NHL.
 
Team Alfredsson, though, won't be left out in the cold. They'll just have to find a third player to play on lines with Alfredsson and Spezza, Giroux and Hartnell, and Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

Michalek seems like a natural fit to form a line with his teammates, though Alfredsson said he'd like to get a few shifts with the Sedins. It certainly would be interesting to see Neal, a Penguin, play with two Flyers. What about seeing Stamkos with the Sedins? That's enticing.
 
Tavares, Pominville and Couture is a potential fourth line.
 
Edge: Team Chara
 
DEFENSEMEN
 
Team Chara:
Zdeno Chara, Kimmo Timonen, Ryan Suter, Brian Campbell, Dion Phaneuf, Dennis Wideman
Team Alfredsson: Erik Karlsson, Kris Letang, Shea Weber, Dan Girardi, Keith Yandle, Alex Edler
 
Team Alfredsson is younger with Karlsson, Letang, Yandle and Edler. It has some speed with Letang, Karlsson, Yandle and Edler. There is some good power with Weber and a guts-and-glory shot-blocking specialist in Girardi.
 
Team Chara may have an edge in power with both the 6-foot-9 captain and Phaneuf. It has as much speed with Suter, Campbell and Wideman. Timonen is one of those do-it-all guys.
 
Shea Weber
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 24 | PTS: 34
SOG: 141 | +/-: 16
If we had to make our selections, we'd put Chara with Campbell, Timonen with Suter and Phaneuf with Wideman. For Team Alfredsson, Weber should play with Letang, Girardi with Yandle and Edler with Karlsson.
 
However, this is an All-Star Game, so it's all about scoring. Team Alfredsson has four of the top seven scorers among defenseman in the NHL, including Karlsson, whose 47 points top all blue-liners. Team Chara's six defensemen are all among the top 12 scoring blue-liners in the League.
 
The one who may swing this is Letang, who missed 21 games but still has 23 points. He's second only to Karlsson in points per game among active defensemen.
 
One consideration is that Girardi, who is well-deserving of being here, is not an offensive force -- his 17 points are third among defensemen on his own team.
 
Edge: Team Chara
 
GOALIES
 
Team Chara:
Tim Thomas, Carey Price, Jimmy Howard
Team Alfredsson: Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick, Brian Elliott
 
Brian Elliott
Goalie - STL
RECORD: 15-5-2
GAA: 1.69 | SVP: 0.938
Elliott leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.69) and save percentage (.938). Lundqvist is third in both categories with a 1.87 GAA and .937 save percentage. Quick leads the League in shutouts with six and is fourth in both GAA (1.93) and save percentage (.934).
 
Team Chara's goalies are solid, but save for Jimmy Howard and his 30 wins, they don't stack up in the statistical categories to Lundqvist, Quick and Elliott.
 
However, Thomas has won a record three straight All-Star Games dating back to 2008 in Atlanta, so experience and All-Star Game success is on Team Chara's side.
 
It's not enough to sway the pendulum toward Team Chara.
 
Edge: Team Alfredsson
 
WINNER: Team Chara

 
Goaltending is important in most games, but not necessarily in an All-Star Game. Home-ice advantage is also key during regular games, but even though we know the crowd will be on Team Alfredsson's side, it's not like Team Chara has players that will be flustered by a little booing.
 
Due to its offensive firepower and balanced defense, Team Chara gets the nod to win the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game.
 
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl