The 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game will be a battle between the hometown hero and the defending Stanley Cup champion.
Team Alfredsson will face Team Chara when the NHL's best meet in Ottawa for All-Star Weekend, as the NHL on Wednesday announced Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson and Boston's Zdeno Chara were chosen as team captains by their All-Star peers.
They will take turns picking their All-Star teams at the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft on Jan. 26. And it will be Alfredsson and Chara wearing C's on their jerseys at the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 28 and the All-Star Game on Jan. 29.
Team Alfredsson will wear the white Reebok NHL All-Star jerseys, helmets and socks, with red trim throughout and red gloves and pants. Team Chara will wear the dark blue jerseys with royal blue trim, navy blue helmets, gloves and pants and navy blue socks.
Alfredsson and Chara were teammates for four seasons in Ottawa (2001-02 to 2005-06), during which time they made the playoffs all four seasons, won a pair of Northeast Division titles and advanced to the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals.
Alfredsson, in his 13th season as captain of the Senators, is third on the team this season with 15 goals and 35 points. He's helped guide a young Ottawa team to a surprising fifth place in the Eastern Conference. And with eight wins in their last 10 games, they're just one point behind Chara's Bruins for the top spot in the Northeast Division.
This is the second major milestone for Alfredsson this season. On Dec. 30, his overtime goal against the Calgary Flames was the 400th of his career. Alfredsson will be making his sixth career NHL All-Star Game appearance -- tying him with Chara and Calgary's Jarome Iginla for the most among this year's All-Stars.
But it will be the first time he gets to pick his own team.
"I don't know if you can really prepare or do much for it," Alfredsson told the team's website in discussing the player draft. "It's a fun concept. It changes a little bit the tradition of the (All-Star Game). Hopefully, it puts a little more pride into it. You want your guys to do well."
"Probably Erik," Alfredsson said. "My kids wouldn't have it any other way."
Now in his 16th season -- all with the Senators, who chose him in the sixth round of the 1994 Entry Draft -- Alfredsson is the franchise's all-time leader in games played (1,098), goals (404), assists (654) and points (1,058).
Chara is in his sixth season as captain in Boston, but the 2010-11 season certainly was his most memorable. He had 14 goals, 44 points and a plus-33 rating while playing 25:26 per game, and he finished as a finalist for the Norris Trophy and won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. He was even better in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, leading all players with a plus-16 rating, while contributing 2 goals and 9 points as he helped Boston win its first Stanley Cup since 1972.
The 34-year-old blueliner has picked up this season right where he left off. He leads all NHL defenseman with a plus-25 rating while playing an average of 24:36 per game. And with 27 points in 41 games, he's on pace for a career-best 57 points.
"It's a huge honor and a big privilege. I'm very excited," Chara told NHL Live on Wednesday. "Obviously, it was voted by players so you have to respect that, and again, thanks for the votes. For sure, I am excited."
He's also now in the role of picking which players he gets to enjoy All-Star Weekend with. He'll be joined in Ottawa by teammates Tim Thomas and Tyler Seguin, but right now he's not sure who he will select for his team.
"I'm going to at least try to see how it is to be in the position that some GMs are in, or people that are making those decisions," Chara told CSNNE.com. "In the group of players that are being selected, I don't think you can make a wrong choice.
"I'm not going to do too much research, but I'm going to do the best job I can to build the best possible team."
Originally drafted by the New York Islanders in the third round of the 1996 Entry Draft, Chara, now in his 14th season, has 132 goals and 434 points in 969 games with the Islanders, Senators and Bruins. He won the Norris Trophy in 2009.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK