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Hurricanes' Staal, Wings' Lidstrom tabbed captains

by Dave Lozo
Center Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings were chosen as captains Tuesday for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover, set for Jan. 30 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

Staal and Lidstrom were selected in a vote by the 42 All-Stars who will participate in this year's game in Raleigh, the city that Staal calls home.

"It's exciting," Staal told reporters Tuesday. "I'm excited about the opportunity to enjoy the experience with some great players. Obviously being named captain is an honor. That'll be exciting in our building."

Staal, 26, was the MVP of the 2008 All-Star Game in Atlanta. This season, he's 11th in the League in scoring with 46 points and eighth in goals with 22.

Staal's younger brother, Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, is also an All-Star. The elder Staal laughed off the possibility of having to choose Marc.

"By him? Yeah," Eric said when asked if Marc has been applying pressure on his brother to take him. "But I don't feel any pressure. I'm OK with the pressure from him. I'm not worried about him too much."

Marc jokingly called Eric "mouthy" last week, which isn't exactly helping his cause.

"He told me about it. I thought it was a poor quote anyway, but that's him for you," Eric said. "I don't know what he was trying to say. It'll be fun just to enjoy the whole weekend together."

Eric said he doesn't intend to do a mock draft or much preparation for the Jan. 28 fantasy draft.

"When it comes down to it, I don't think you can go wrong with anybody that's there," Eric said. "Obviously it's the All-Star Game and there's a ton of talent and a ton of great players. I'm just going to wing it when I get there."

The 40-year-old Lidstrom is showing no signs of slowing, as he leads all defensemen in scoring with 42 points in 45 games. This is the 12th All-Star selection for the six-time Norris Trophy winner.

"With all the great players participating, it's a great honor to be selected as a captain for this year's All-Star Game,” Lidstrom said. “I'm really looking forward to all of the weekend's events and I'm very excited to be a part of the draft that decides the rosters of the two teams."

The four alternate captains will be picked at a later date. Each team's captains will consist of two forwards and one defenseman.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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