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Ducks' Getzlaf going to All-Star Game alone this time

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com

ANAHEIM -- When Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf played in the 2009 All-Star Game, he got to start with teammates Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Scott Niedermayer at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

It was a sentimental moment for Giguere, a Montreal-area native, and the last All-Star Game for Niedermayer, who retired the next season.

With Giguere and Niedermayer retired, the Ducks have been Getzlaf's team since he succeeded Niedermayer as captain in 2010.

After an initial struggle with the leadership role, Getzlaf has owned it the past two seasons and will play in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), his third All-Star Game. He will also be an assistant captain for the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings on Friday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

Getzlaf, tied for third in the NHL in assists (35) and seventh in points (50), is making another case for the Hart Trophy after his runner-up finish last season. He picked up the slack with 19 points in 14 games when linemate Corey Perry was out with a knee injury and mumps.

Off the ice, Getzlaf and his wife, Paige, are active in the community; they help raise money for autism research and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, among other endeavors.

Here's more on and off the ice from Getzlaf, a father of three who will turn 30 in May.

When was the last time you picked teams, like kids do on the playground?

Actually, we used to do it here once in a while. (Former Ducks coach) Randy (Carlyle) used to do it on fun days. We'd pick teams and have scrimmages, so we'd have two captains up at the board. I'd do it when I was young.

We can take a guess at who you picked first.

Not Perry. It was usually me and Perry up there because we were both the young guys. We were usually on opposite teams. I probably picked [George Parros]. I used to take him a lot.

Does it seem odd that you're the only Ducks player represented in the All-Star game, considering the success of the team?

Yeah, it does. It's one of those things that you can't really put a finger on it. Our team success has been so good that it's pretty amazing that there isn't more of us.

Recently, your junior team, the Calgary Hitmen, honored you by raising a banner with your name, number and likeness at Scotiabank Saddledome. What did that mean to you?

Just knowing that you kind of left a legacy and left a mark that isn't just stats. I went on to do things, and they helped springboard me to where I am now. It was nice to be able to go back and kind of reminisce and give thanks to the fans.

Your billet family, Scott and Ranell Lorencz, still live in Calgary, and you are the godfather to their son. What's that like being a 29-year-old godfather?

It was a little bit weird at the time. I was younger and didn't have any kids of my own. But it's cool. I know Christian looks up to me, and try to be there as much as I can. It's a little bit tougher now with my own kids, but their family is still close to me.

You started Getzlaf's Gamers, a program that offers a suite for underprivileged kids to attend Hitmen games. What prompted that?

When I was in junior, I saw a couple of buildings that I was in where there were some suites where an NHL guy had done that. I always kind of envisioned doing something like that when I got to that point where I could financially do it. It's a way to stay involved in the organization, the city, and another way of saying thanks for the years that I had there.

Your older brother, Chris, plays in the Canadian Football League. You were a tailback as a kid. Who's your NFL team?

The (Green Bay) Packers. It was a tough day this (past) weekend. I like (Aaron) Rodgers. I think he's good. I was always a big Brett Favre fan … he had a great personality and persona about him.

Do you wonder what would it have been like if you stuck with football?

Yeah, lots of times, whether it would be pursuing the NFL or playing with my brother right now.

Running back?

I don't think I'd be a running back anymore (laughs).

You're a car guy. What would be your dream car?

It's hard to say. I bought into a (luxury car) dealership, so there's not a lot of dreams left. I drive everything that I want to drive. I really like the Ferrari 458 Italia. It's one of my favorite cars.

Will your kids play hockey?

I don't know. We'll see. They're kind of getting into it now. My oldest (son) didn't want to skate for a while. Now he's kind of loving it.

On the first day of training camp you had to handle the controversy regarding a book about former teammate Teemu Selanne, who criticized you for not confronting Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau about Selanne's decreased role. Was that the first off-ice crisis you dealt with as captain?

From a media standpoint, I think so. It definitely wasn't the hardest thing to deal with. That season where we struggled, I had to answer a lot of questions on a daily basis that were tough to answer, especially when I wasn't performing as well as I wanted to. That was definitely a lot harder. But from a media-crisis standpoint, I think that was the first one.

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