While Chicago Blackhawks wing Patrick Kane continues to count down the days to his team's Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic showdown with the Detroit Red Wings on New Year's Day, he's also gearing up for the 57th All-Star Game in Montreal.
Kane, who tallied a pair of goals in the YoungStars Game during NHL All-Star Weekend in Atlanta last season, offered his personal choices if given a ballot to determine the starters for the Western Conference at this year's All-Star contest at Bell Centre. Kane, the first overall selection of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, was asked by NHL.com which players, not affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks, he would choose to represent the West.
"I think Ryan Getzlaf (Ducks), Jarome Iginla (Flames) and Marian Hossa
(Red Wings) would probably be my choices at forward," Kane said.
On Monday morning, Getzlaf was the All-Star leader among Western Conference forwards with 520,443 votes. Getzlaf has scored a team-leading 37 points (13 goals) with the Ducks this season. Kane (39 points) and his Chicago teammate, Jonathan Toews
(26 points), were second and third, respectively, and Hossa (33 points) was fourth. Kane won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie last season after leading all first-year players and his teammates with 72 points. He also established a franchise record with 51 assists and tied for third on the team with 21 goals.
"On defense, I'd probably go with Dion Phaneuf (Flames) and Nicklas Lidstrom (Red Wings)," Kane said.
Lidstrom, winner of the Norris Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman the past three seasons, is currently tops among West blueliners with 472,917 votes. Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger are second and third, respectively, and Chicago's Brian Campbell is fourth.
Kane would then pencil in San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov between the pipes.
"I'm a big fan of Nabokov, so I'll go with him" Kane said.
Nabokov (18-3-2, 2.58 GAA, .902 save percentage) is currently third in the Western Conference voting behind Anaheim's J.S. Giguere (431,135 votes) and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo (397,657 votes), who are first and second, respectively.
-- Mike G. Morreale