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All-Star Fantasy Draft pool to be announced Jan. 11

by Dan Rosen
Now that we know who you like the most, it's time for the NHL to figure out the rest of the puzzle that ultimately will be put together in Raleigh, N.C., later this month.

Thirty-six additional players will be selected by the NHL's Hockey Operations Department to join Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks in the Honda NHL SuperSkills and the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover. They will be unveiled Jan. 11.

Twelve rookies that will participate with the NHL All-Stars in the SuperSkills competition will also be unveiled that day.

NHL V.P. of Hockey and Business Development Brendan Shanahan stressed on NHL Live! Tuesday afternoon that "every market will be represented on the weekend, not just necessarily in the game."

"A lot does have to do with the season a player is having, but also what's important to factor is what a guy has done in his career,"Shanahan added.

The 42 All-Stars will decide amongst themselves which two players deserve the honor of being captains and which four will be alternate captains at All-Star Weekend. The captains and alternates will be unveiled in approximately two weeks, with the only rule being that each team must have two forwards and one defenseman wearing letters. The team names then will be taken from the last names of the two captains.

The captains, along with their alternates, have the responsibility of choosing sides in the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco, which is scheduled for Jan. 28 and will be televised live on TSN and VERSUS from NHL Fan Fair at the Raleigh Convention Center.

"Every player wants to be a general manager," Shanahan said. "The players already have in the back of their minds the players that will relish that role (of being captain)."

The draft will go 18 rounds and a coin toss will determine which captain gets to select first. Each All-Star team must have three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards.

An interesting rule in the draft is that the goalies must all be selected by the 10th round and the defensemen have to be gone by Round 15.

Shanahan said the rule is in place to leave open the drama at the end of the draft. If every team already has two goalies, it's likely that the last two picks will be goalies and the League doesn't want pre-determined selections.

"This is a way to ensure every pick is a true pick," Shanahan said.

Another interesting twist in the draft deals with the rookies, who will be divided into groups of six.

The All-Star draft will break after the 15th round at which point the rookies will have a coin flip. The winning group will get to select which All-Star captain they want to join for the SuperSkills competition.

The live draft will end after the final All-Star is selected.

The SuperSkills competition will consist of six events -- the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater, the BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge, the McDonald's NHL Accuracy Shooting, the XM NHL Hardest Shot, the Discover NHL Elimination Shootout and the G-Series NHL Challenge Relay.

All-Star goalies will participate in the Elimination Shootout, and the Challenge Relay is an all-round competition that will showcase the one-timer, passing, puck control, stick-handling and accuracy shooting.

Of course, these teams need coaches, and two already have been determined.

By virtue of winning the Stanley Cup last June, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and his assistant, Mike Haviland, have earned the privilege of coaching one of the teams in the All-Star Game. Their competition will be determined after all games are finished Saturday night.

The coaches of the teams with the high points percentage (points earned divided by total possible points) in each conference following Saturday night's games will be heading to Raleigh, where they will serve as co-coaches opposite Quenneville and Haviland.

The coaches will be assigned a captain prior to the coin toss to determine order of selection in the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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