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Lidstrom still contemplating draft philosophy

by Dan Rosen
Don't be shocked if Team Lidstrom attempts to crush Team Staal's strategy by drafting hometown goalie Cam Ward early in Friday's NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco.

"We'll see," said Nicklas Lidstrom, captain of the All-Star team that bears his name. "I know (Eric Staal) wants Cam on his team being in front of the home crowd, so it might be a good strategy to take him and get the crowd on our side. We'll talk amongst ourselves about what we're going to do. We'll have to wait and see."

Wait and see was Lidstrom's mantra during a media conference call Monday. It felt almost as if he was trying to be coy about his strategy because he's got a whopper in store for us later in the week when the NHL world descends on Raleigh, N.C. for All-Star Weekend.

Or maybe he just has no idea how the draft will play out.

Either way, Lidstrom is in charge of selecting his team. He will lean heavily on assistants Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis.

Lidstrom is the lone Red Wing attending the weekend festivities, but Kane has three teammates (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith) joining him in Raleigh and St. Louis is heading there with Steven Stamkos, who could very well wind up as the first pick in the draft.

That selection might come down to who wins the pre-draft coin flip that decides which team gets the No. 1 pick.

If it's Staal, he might put a quick end to the drama and go with Ward.

If it's Lidstrom, the well is wide open with options, Ward included.

Remember, all six goalies have to be selected within the first 10 rounds.

"I've been talking with (Detroit GM) Kenny (Holland) about it and he said, 'You gotta go with defense first, defense wins games,' " Lidstrom said jokingly. "I don't think that's necessarily right with this one."

Lidstrom said he will have to sit down with his alternates prior to the draft to go over their strategy.

"We're all competitors and we all want to win," Lidstrom said. "We're going to have fun with it but the competitiveness will come out. Being that this is the first time (for the new format) you want to win that game."

Lidstrom wouldn't say if his drafting philosophy will be to go with friends, countrymen or foes. There are six Swedish players in the pool.

He doesn't feel the pressure of picking a teammate since there are no other Red Wings attending All-Star Weekend with him.

"I don't have a teammate that will be part of this game so I want to get their input and see what they say," Lidstrom said of discussing the strategy with St. Louis and Kane. "I think you have to look at it both ways. Some of the guys you've played against and now you have a chance to play with them. Other guys can be good in the skills competition. It's another thing we'll talk about it."

St. Louis will likely stump for Stamkos, but Kane might steer Lidstrom away from Toews.

"It'd be pretty fun to match up against Toews," Kane said. "We've been together our whole careers and played together a lot, so it'd be fun to get away from him. But, maybe Nick and Marty want to play with him."

Maybe Lidstrom wants to play with both of the Sedins, or perhaps he would like to see them compete against one another?

Lidstrom could be in charge of making that happen, especially if he picks Henrik or Daniel and watches Staal take a different player.

"They really have a knack of finding each other on the ice when they're playing together," he said. "That might be something to look at see how they fare when they face each other. That might be something we have to discuss when we do the draft."

Conspiracy theorists can simmer down because Lidstrom said he has not spoken to Staal to compare strategies or go into cahoots.

There is, of course, still time for that to happen behind closed doors.

"We were on a few conference calls together but we've never spoken in private about it," he said. "We're going to have fun with it."

As they should, but some sneak attack picks -- a la Ward to Team Lidstrom -- wouldn't hurt the weekend ratings.

"I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens," Lidstrom said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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