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Three B's Head to Raleigh

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- Bruins fans will have another big game to enjoy this winter as three B's will make the trek to Raleigh, North Carolina for the NHL's All-Star festivities at the end of January. 

Thomas & Chara
Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, goaltender Tim Thomas and rookie forward Tyler Seguin will all represent the Black & Gold as the NHL gathers for the mid-winter classic. 

"It’s just a little surprising I guess, but it’s a big honor," said Chara. "I really appreciate it and obviously a big thank you goes to my teammates." 

"It’s always an honor," added Thomas. "And it’s a feather in your cap, so I’m very happy."  

Seguin, who will participate in the SuperSkills competition said the selection felt great.  

"You know, being recognized, I guess, as one of the top 12 something that’s good," said the Bruins number one pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. 

"Anytime you get to go meet guys like that, you know the big name guys in the NHL, it’s always going to be a fun experience." 

This season the NHL, working in conjunction with the NHLPA, replaced the usual conference vs. conference format for the All-Star game with a player draft on Jan. 28, televised on Versus, that will determine the team rosters for the 2011 All-Star Game as well as the NHL SuperSkills. 

It seems a reasonable guess that Thomas and Chara stand a good chance to go quickly in the player draft. 

Chara, the 2009 Norris Trophy winner, has made five All-Star Game appearance and has won the hardest shot competition three straight times and set the record with a 105.4 MPH blast during the 2009 SuperSkills competition in Montreal.  

"Every all star really special," said Chara. "It's a great feeling, it's a relaxing feeling. It's a fun time. 

"But at the same time, like is said, it's a huge honor for anybody to be a part of it. 

"You are surrounded by the league's the top players...and you know it's when you're part of it, it's something that you hardly forget," he said. 

Thomas currently leads all NHL goaltenders in goals against average (1.77), save percentage (.946) and shutouts (6). He has compiled an 19-4-6 record on the season. 

"You know what, it’s fun," said Thomas of his previous all-star appearances. "The way it’s worked out for me, both games I was in [during] the third period and they were tight games and it ends up getting competitive. 

"In Montreal it got very competitive and this year with the new format it might be a little bit more competitive right off the bat." 

This is Thomas’ third career All-Star nomination, and he has been the winning goaltender in the previous two All-Star Games (2009, 2008). 

Seguin, the second overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, was asked if he had anything special in mind when the 18-year-old enters the spotlight at the SuperSkills competition. 

"Not so far, I’m not really even sure what the events are yet," joked Tyler, who was excited for the opportunity to meet so many of the NHL's elite players. 

"There’s a few guys you could name, but obviously you know I don’t want to disclose that, you know? They're still the enemy," said Seguin with a chuckle. "But no, it’s definitely going to be a fun experience and I’ll have Zee and Timmy there to introduce me to some guys and I guess help me along the way."  

Maybe, but both Chara and Thomas are prepared to be on opposing sides during the competitions.  

"Well, we’re gonna obviously battle out like we do in practices," said the B's captain. "He’s really a guy who doesn’t like to be scored on and he competes hard and I’m the same way so it should be fun." 

Thomas already had a little fun when he talked on Tuesday about the possibility of the two Bruins ending up on opposite sides of the puck. 

"I win, he loses," said Thomas with a big smile

The 2011 NHL All-Star Game will mark the first time Carolina has hosted NHL All-Star activities. The on-ice activities will take place Saturday, January 29 and Sunday, Janu ary 30 and will include Honda NHL SuperSkills® and the 58th coverage of both nights will be provided by VERSUS in the U.S. and CBC and RDS in Canada. The Honda SuperSkills® will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, and the 2011 NHL All-Star Game will start at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.
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