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Vancouver's all-stars

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Midway through Vancouver’s game day skate in St. Louis Thursday, Alex Edler lined up a one-timer from the blueline.

When stick and puck met, puck won and stick broke. Had he connected on what surely would have been a twine tickler, Edler would have demonstrated why he’s been selected as an NHL All-Star for the first time.

You’ll have to refer to his seven goals, and equally impressive 23 assists, for a reminder of Edler’s sensational play this season. The 25-year-old is sixth in the NHL in goals from defencemen, fourth in assists and tied with Shea Weber for third in points with 30.

Mix in the blueliner’s steady play in his own end and all-star is born.

Joining Edler in Ottawa for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game will be Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Cody Hodgson, selected as one of 12 rookies.

With four players set to represent the Canucks during all-star weekend, beginning Thursday, January 26th, Vancouver has the most of any team other than the five sent by the fans on behalf of the hometown Senators.

Edler doesn’t show much emotion on the ice or in the dressing room, but he’s proud to be a first-time all-star.

“It’s obviously a big honour,” said Edler. “There’s some big players that have been there and I’m very honoured. You always watch the guys that have been going there and obviously it’s been a dream.”

I’ll get a smile out of Edler one day, you’ll see.

Hodgson, on the other hand, was beaming. It was his natural reaction, as the media found out, because the media broke the news to the 21-year-old.

“Really? Wow,” said Hodgson, taken aback for a moment before he started taking some ribbing from teammates post-practice.

“It’s a real honour to follow in some good footsteps here, guys like Mason Raymond,” joked Hodgson, repeating what Raymond said from across the room moments earlier.

“No, it’s a real honour. There’s a lot of good rookies in the league this year and I’m happy to be selected to go the all-star game.”

Hodgson was then jabbed from Kevin Bieksa at the other side of the room. The rookie smiled and took it in stride, much like an all-star would.

“I appreciate it. It’s a good group of guys here, they always make me feel comfortable, and they’re the reason that I’m going.”

As for the Sedins, it’s tough to keep track of how many all-star appearances they’ve made throughout their sparkling careers.

How many is this now Henrik?

“One more than Danny,” he laughed.

And here we thought the twins we’re competitive with each other.

This will be Henrik’s third all-star game and the second for Daniel. They both said it’s an honour and they’re thrilled and it’s a great roster and so on, and so on, and so on, but what do they think about having to sit through another all-star draft?

For the second consecutive season the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft is back by popular demand; two captains will be named and players draft their own teams.

Last year the Sedins were selected fifth and sixth overall, Daniel to Team Staal, Henrik to Team Lidstrom. They were two of the lucky ones drafted before things got interesting in the late stages.

As you may recall, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel sat on stage alone at the end of the 2011 draft as the final player picked. Or not even picked really. Kessel received a Honda CRX for his troubles.

“I can buy my own car,” joked Henrik. “I felt bad for Kessel to be picked last, even though every player there is an all-star, it’s still…it was okay, they’re going to do it the same way again this year I guess and you’ve just got to have fun with it.”

“You never want to get picked last,” added Daniel, “but in that company, I guess being picked last is not a bad thing.

“It’s fun for the fans. For the players it doesn’t really matter, you’re just happy to be there. It’s for the fans, so it’s hopefully exciting.”

As long as you’re not picked last, and it’s tough to foresee any of Vancouver all-stars fitting the bill.

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