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Blue Jackets' Foligno honored to be All-Star captain

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Nick Foligno has picked players for a team before, but never on such a grand stage as NHL All-Star Weekend.

The announcement Wednesday that Foligno was selected as an All-Star captain, and thus gets to choose his teammates, brought back memories of his youth for the Columbus Blue Jackets forward.

"When I was a kid picking road hockey, Team Foligno, when I had my way because I was the oldest kid there," he said.

Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings will be Foligno's alternate captains.

"Those are world-class players and guys I have a lot of respect for in this league," Foligno said. "Both are Stanley Cup champions."

Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, the other All-Star captain, will be assisted by Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf and New York Rangers forward Rick Nash, who played for the Blue Jackets from 2002-12.

Those six will select players for their teams at the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings on Friday, Jan. 23. The rosters will participate in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition the following day and the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 25, at Nationwide Arena.

"I was looking at the lineup," Foligno said. "I don't think I can go wrong with anyone I'm drafting."

Foligno was named to the All-Star Game last week along with Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and forward Ryan Johansen.

"I was thrilled just to be an All-Star, and to be named captain, I appreciate it and it's very special to me," he said. "I'm going to do the best I can.

"I'm really honored. You look around at the players I'll be playing with. The whole scene of it all is going to be amazing. Just to have it in Columbus and to be able to be the captain for our city is a pretty amazing feeling. I'm very humbled by it."

Foligno has 18 goals in 39 games this season to match his career-high, set last season in 70 games with the Blue Jackets. He also has 22 assists.

Foligno said he hasn't had time to think about the selection process, but he promises he doesn't consider it a burden.

"I'm going to have so much fun with it," he said. "It's a great moment. I'm going to have so much fun with my family and meeting all the players and showing them how much fun we have here in Columbus.

"It's a great opportunity to showcase our city and show what a great hockey town it is."

Still, he displayed the competiveness that has endeared him to Columbus fans.

"I just hope I pick a good team to try and win this thing," Foligno said.

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