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Getzlaf, Pronger Named All-Stars

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
Forward Ryan Getzlaf and defenseman Chris Pronger were the Ducks selected among the 16 players named today to the Western Conference roster for the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, Sunday, Jan. 27 at Philips Arena in Atlanta.

Pronger, 33 (10/10/74), has scored 9-23=32 points with a +2 rating and 91 penalty minutes (PIM) in 46 games with the Ducks this season. He leads the NHL in overall time on ice (1,275:50) and avg. TOI (27:40), and ranks fifth among league defensemen in scoring (fourth in Western Conference). In addition, Pronger ranks tied for third in the NHL in power play points (21; tied for conference lead) and tied for fifth in power play assists (16; tied for second in conference).

Pronger will be making his sixth career appearance in the NHL All-Star Game and his first as an Anaheim Duck. He has previously appeared in the 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004 All-Star Games. 

Getzlaf conference call transcript

Getzlaf, 22 (5/10/85), has appeared in 44 games with the Ducks this season, scoring 17-31=48 points with a +20 rating and 61 PIM. He is tied for 13th among league leaders in points scored (fourth in Western Conference), tied for 11th in assists (tied for sixth in conference), ranked fifth in plus/minus (+20; third in conference) and tied for third in power play assists (17; tied for conference lead). Getzlaf is also currently tied with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for the longest active point streak in the NHL at nine straight games (4-8=12).

Originally selected by Anaheim in the first round (19th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Getzlaf is making his first career All-Star Game appearance and is the youngest Duck (22 years, 8 months) to play in the game since Paul Kariya (22 years, 3 months) appeared for the Western Conference in the 1997 NHL All-Star Game.  This season, Getzlaf ranks fourth among the NHL’s leading scorers aged 22 and younger.

In addition to Getzlaf, six other players added to the Western Conference roster will be making their first All-Star Game appearance: goaltender Manny Legace of the St. Louis Blues, defenseman Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks and forwards Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche and Shawn Horcoff of the Edmonton Oilers and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks.

Joining Legace in the Western Conference net is goaltender Chris Osgood of the Detroit Red Wings, who will be making his second career All-Star appearance and first since 1996. Osgood has posted a 19-2-1 record, leads all goaltenders with a 1.68 goals-against average and ranks second in save percentage at .932.

Rounding out the goaltending corps is Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks, selected to his second career All-Star Game. Nabokov, the only NHL goaltender to have appeared in each of his club's games this season, leads the NHL in victories (23-12-6) and ranks fourth in goals-against average (2.01) and shutouts (five) in 41 appearances.

Others named to the Western Conference roster are defenseman Ed Jovanovski of the Phoenix Coyotes and Sergei Zubov of the Dallas Stars; and forwards Jason Arnott of the Nashville Predators, Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild, Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Sharks' Joe Thornton.

The roster additions were selected by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department, after consultation with League General Managers.The players selected today join five players voted by fans to the starting lineup: forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings, and forward Jarome Iginla and defenseman Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames. Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, also voted to the starting lineup in fan balloting, will not play.

The head coach of the Western Conference All-Stars will be the Red
Wings' Mike Babcock, making his first career All-Star Game coaching appearance. Babcock's assistant is Sharks head coach Ron Wilson.

The 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend in Atlanta will feature live national broadcasts of the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills event on Saturday, Jan. 26 and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 27 on VERSUS in the United States and CBC and RDS in Canada. NASN and other international broadcasters will provide live coverage of both the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills event and the NHL All-Star Game to more than 115 countries and territories in Europe. NHL RADIO on Westwood One will provide exclusive national radio coverage which can be heard on stations around the United States and Canada as well as on XM Satellite Radio's NHL Home Ice and

This afternoon Ryan Getzlaf spoke to NHL media via conference call. For audio, CLICK HERE

Following is a transcript:

Q. What are your initial feelings being named to this All-Star Game?

RYAN GETZLAF: Obviously, it was an exciting time for me. It was something that I've looked forward to, and hoped that I could be a part of this year. It's an honor to be selected to something like this. Overall, it's a pretty exciting day.

Q. What was the experience like last year on that Young Stars game?

RYAN GETZLAF: It was cool. I think it was nice to kind of get there and just be behind the scenes a little bit and see how things run and see how much guys enjoy it.

I think that's the main thing to take out of this weekend is that you just go in there with the right attitude that you're going to enjoy your time and enjoy the company around you.  

Q. How do you view this game? Obviously, you want to win the game. Are you viewing it as something that you're looking forward to and having a lot of fun? Are you going to take it seriously?  Very seriously? What is your mindset there?

RYAN GETZLAF: I'm going to go in and enjoy it. That is the main thing. Obviously, the game is the game, and we'll just play hockey when we get out there. But I think it's all about the whole experience and being with the guys that are around.

There are going to be a lot of guys out there that I've looked up to for a long time. It will be fun to be part of something like that.

Q. I'm wondering if you had other plans that you'll have to break up now for the All-Star break?

RYAN GETZLAF: I hadn't made that many plans. We talked about a few different things that we were going to do. If it came that I didn't make the team, and, fortunately enough, I did. So I don't have to make plans now.

Q. They're having fun in the Vancouver media today by saying one Sedin made it, the other one didn't. I almost wonder if it feels that way with you and Corey?

RYAN GETZLAF: You know what, it does a little bit. It's unfortunate that he isn't able to be part of it. You've got to tip your cap to the rest of the league, I guess, and just realize that we have a lot of good players throughout the league. And there are a few guys that I'm sure got left off the list that probably could have been there. It's unfortunate that I don't get to share it with Corey. I know he's pretty excited for me as well as I am.

Q. Thanks for doing this call today and congratulations. My question is in the vein - from the league-wide standpoint we haven't seen the Eastern Conference team yet. But seven first-time All-Stars are on the Western Conference roster. I know that you haven't been in the league long enough to see all the changes over the course of generations. But why is it, do you think, that so many young guys are making such a splash here in the last couple of years? Last year's All-Star roster was similar.

RYAN GETZLAF: I think that it's just the way the league works. I mean, the league is designed around bringing new players in and giving them a chance to play. Obviously when you go through a time that we're in right now with the lockout that happened and stuff, I'm sure there is a lot of turnover where there are a lot younger guys in the league. And that's just the way it goes, I guess. When you have bigger numbers of younger guys in the league and the way the game has changed.        

Q. When you look at before the lockout it seemed there were a lot of guys who just kept coming back year after year, and they were great players. But it just seemed that there's been such massive turnover in the last couple. Do you think is it because of the rules changes and it opened up the speed of the game that maybe just if I could get you to elaborate on that a little bit more? Do you think it just plays into a younger athlete's game a little bit more?

RYAN GETZLAF: I don't know. Obviously, there's going to be different things contribute to that. And that's going to be one of them, for sure. The difference in the game and the way the game is played now, it's an up-tempo game. It's really fast. Maybe that's does play into the younger players a little bit more.

It's a matter of our game helping promote younger players, too. A lot of times you didn't hear about a lot of the young players before. Now the word is getting spread around a lot more for the younger players.

Q. I missed the beginning of this. So tell me your feelings on being a kid in the NHL All-Star Game and what's that like for you?

RYAN GETZLAF: It's exciting. I mentioned before that I look up to a lot of the players that are probably going to be there for this game, and it's going to be exciting to be on the ice with them and interact with them a little bit. Talk to them about the different experiences that they've been through as well.

Q. Can you talk about the major coincidence, how you guys are playing great with Scott Niedermayer in the house?

RYAN GETZLAF: Yeah, it's a matter of us coming together at the right time right now. We've got to just keep rolling and we've got to keep playing. With Scotty coming back in the lineup, it creates that comfort level, I think a little bit in the dressing room as well as on the ice.

Scotty's got that winning aura around him all the time. He just brings that out in other people.

Q. It's certainly nice that you've won the last couple of games by the way you have. Dominating at home is what you want to do.

RYAN GETZLAF: Yeah, we've got to make our building a tough building to play in again. You can only do that by creating that atmosphere around our building, and that's what we need to do on this home stand.

Q. As the number one center, I was just wondering how that changed your approach to the game, knowing that you're going to face the top checkers and top shut down defensemen every team you face?

RYAN GETZLAF: Well, Doug Weight might attest to that number one center. But it's been a fun year. It's been an experience for us. As a group we've been growing together over the last little while with some of the younger players and stuff that we've had.

This year creates a challenge. It's a matter of we lost Sellanne and Penner, and quite a bit of scoring in our lineup. It was an opportunity for young guys like Perry and myself and a few other guys to step into those roles and contribute more offensively and play that number one line.

Q. Going back to the subject of Corey Perry. I know a lot of factors enter into this as far as how many players can be selected from certain teams and things of that nature. I'm curious, do you think for some reason, somehow maybe Perry gets overlooked a little bit? He didn't get in the young stars game last year. He's not selected now. He's having a tremendous season do you think maybe somehow he doesn't get the recognition he deserves?

RYAN GETZLAF: Definitely. Corey's a hell of a player. I've been fortunate enough to be able to play with him for the last three years. It's unfortunate that he didn't get there. But I said before it's the tip of the cap to the league as well. There's a lot of good players in our league. You can't take anything away from the guys that were selected.

I would have loved to see Corey there and be able to experience it with him.

Q. How much do you think last year's run to the cup and you leading the team to the scoring raised your profile enough that you would be recognized for this All-Star Game?

RYAN GETZLAF: It all does. I mean, that's part of the game. That's the biggest piece to this, is that last year we had the success that we did. We played as a group. And when you do go through those things, people notice the different things that you have to go through to create that kind of a championship team.

When you get that recognition, it comes from the big games and the big events and that kind of stuff. But anyone will tell you that the playoffs create that buzz around them.

Q. Going into today, you said you hadn't made plans for the All-Star weekend, how confident were you that you were going to get this call today?

RYAN GETZLAF: It wasn't a matter of confident. It was just that I had hoped that I was going to be able to be part of it. I thought that I had a pretty good start to the season, and I knew I had a chance to play. Obviously, it pulled through today, and I'm honored to be selected.

Q. What type of pressure did you feel entering the league as the 19th overall pick in 2003? The pressure?

RYAN GETZLAF: The pressure comes from being a first round pick. And you get the opportunity to go and play with some guys that maybe you wouldn't if you were drafted a little bit lower. I came into a pretty good situation where the team really liked me and liked what I was bringing to the table. They made me pretty comfortable right away.

Q. You were drafted 9 slots ahead of Corey. Do you guys ever talk about that? Do you razz him about that that you were 9 spots ahead of him at all? Do you have discussions on it?

RYAN GETZLAF: We don't talk about it that much. But like you said it was more he gave it to me, because I dropped pretty low from where I was ranked on that day. So he kind of gives it to me a little bit at times about that. But that was a long time ago now.

Q. Talk about what's it been like playing with Chris Pronger and what he brings to the locker room?

RYAN GETZLAF: He's great. Chris is a player that loves to win and loves to compete. He's a pretty black and white kind of guy. You're going to know what you're getting right away. That's something you can learn from and take down the road.

Q. Despite the fact of all the success you've had in such a short period, do you still consider yourself a kid at heart?

RYAN GETZLAF: For sure. I've been in the league, this is only my third year. There are many more years to come. I think that I've been blessed and fortunate enough with the success I've had in my career. With Selanne and some other guys last year, they had their first chance to play for the cup and win it. They've been playing for a long time. So I feel blessed having my career here.

Q. When you were in juniors or even in the minors, were you thinking to yourself at all that this is the level or this is the place that you'd like to get to be? Were you thinking that back then?

RYAN GETZLAF: You know what, back then it was a matter of, obviously, it would be nice to be a part of that stuff. But it's weird. You kind of take it in steps when you're coming up.

I never really thought I was going to get drafted, then that happened. I never thought that I would make it. And it's just stepping stones along the way, I think, and that's all part of putting together a good career. This is just another stepping stone along the way.

Q. But you weren't thinking you know what, not only do I want to make the league, but I do want to be one of its stars?

RYAN GETZLAF: Oh, for sure. That's definitely what I've wanted to be since I was young. Everybody wants to be the go-to guy and have that kind of pressure on their shoulders, and I've been fortunate enough to be given that opportunity to do that right now.

Q. What do you think about being teammates with Dion?

RYAN GETZLAF: It's good. It's going to be exciting. Dion is a good player. There are no grudges off the ice. It's just a battle out there.

Q. Just wanted to follow up on what I asked earlier. With the All-Star Game skewing younger these last couple of years, what do you think that does for the league?

RYAN GETZLAF: Well, it creates excitement, I think. It creates a little bit of a buzz. And it gives young players the opportunity to be involved in those things early in their careers and learn about them and learn how it goes. To see some of the veteran guys and stuff, it gives guys a chance to gel that some of the guys wouldn't see before.

Q.  Do you think it plays a factor in from a marketing standpoint, not that this is concocted or anything. You guys are the stars of the league right now, it just happens to be the way it is. But in terms of taking hockey to the next step, doing things or trying things like the outdoor game and various things like that, the fact that it's young and you're going to be around for a long time, what kind of impact do you think that can have in the long run?

RYAN GETZLAF: It can only help. The league's doing a great job right now trying to market different aspects of the game and get more people involved. The younger you can do it, the longer those guys are going to be around to teach the other young guys when they're not the young guys anymore, I guess.

Q. I just want to know if you have any moves that you might want to show off in Atlanta? And the NHL says they're going to spice up the festivities with a slam dunk style contest for the shootout?

RYAN GETZLAF: Oh, no. I don't know. I'll have to start working on something.

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