will join Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Jarome Iginla, Patrick Kane and many more of hockey’s top stars this weekend as the 2009 NHL All-Star festivities kick off in Montreal.
The event, celebrating the Montreal Canadiens’ centennial season, will include the 2009 Honda/NHL SuperSkills event on Saturday, Jan. 24 (5:00 p.m. MT) and the 2009 NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 25 (4:00 p.m. MT). Broadcasts will be available on VERSUS in the United States and CBC and RDS in Canada.
“It’s obviously an honor. It should be really fun in Montreal,” said Hejduk. “With all the history there, it will definitely be a good show.”
The 57th NHL All-Star game will be the 32-year-old’s third All-Star appearance. He previously tallied one assist at the 2000 All-Star Game in Toronto and then scored a goal the following year at the 2001 All-Star Game at Pepsi Center.
Although Hejduk has seen eight years pass since his last selection, Avalanche head coach Tony Granato
believes he could have easily been included on the roster during a handful of seasons in that timeframe.
“I think there were some years in the past eight where he deserved to be there, but just numbers-wise, or for different reasons, he wasn’t picked for that team,” said Granato. “Consistency is one thing you think of (with Hejduk), along with reliability. He plays the same way every single game.”
The Usti-nad Labem, Czech Republic, native has notched at least 20 goals in each of the past eight seasons (including five seasons with at least 30 goals) and should easily top that mark again in 2008-09.
But the right winger is not simply a goal scorer. What sets him apart, according to Granato, is not only his consistency, but also the fact that he’s solid in every aspect of the game.
“He plays against the other team’s top line a lot and kills a lot of penalties,” said Granato. “You know what you’re going to get out of him every single night. He always finds ways to help your team.”
Along with the All-Star Game itself, Hejduk will also play a role in the Honda/NHL SuperSkills event on Saturday. After a series of competitions that will test select players in categories including hardest shot and fastest skater, Hejduk will take part in the Gatorade NHL Elimination Shootout to round out the evening.
The event, the NHL All-Star version of the time-honored tradition of ending a practice with a penalty shot contest, will feature all 36 All-Star skaters and six All-Star goaltenders.Click here to read more
about Hejduk’s selection.