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Mock draft III -- Who will Lidstrom, Staal choose? @NHLdotcom
Could Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom do our jobs as well as we think we can do theirs?

We obviously don't think so, but we'd also rather not find out for fear of them making us totally obsolete.

Frankly, would you rather hear from us or from them?

Don't answer that.

Let's just move on to our third and final mock draft as once again staff writers Dan Rosen and Dave Lozo have attempted to get inside the minds of Staal and Lidstrom, your captains for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover.

They will be front and center Friday in the first NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS), but Wednesday night Rosen put on his Eric Staal mask and Lozo his Nicklas Lidstrom mask and our two writers went to work in disguise.

Neither had their assistant captains (Mike Green and Ryan Kesler for Team Staal, Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis for Team Lidstrom) at their disposal, so the decisions totally were left in the hands of our writers, who are as much like Staal and Lidstrom as they are like Woodward and Bernstein.

That is to say they're nothing alike.

Still, the following questions needed answers:

How badly does Staal want to keep the Hurricanes together? Does Lidstrom really have a vindictive side and would he pick Cam Ward or Jeff Skinner before his counterpart gets the opportunity?

Do either Staal or Lidstrom care if Henrik and Daniel Sedin play together or on separate teams? Would they go into cahoots together to make sure the twins have to play head to head?

Rosen and Lozo believe they've got it figured out. Rosen, or rather, Staal won the coin flip. You be the judge:


Staal -- Cam Ward (G)

Sidney Crosby was my first pick in our second mock draft, but he's not attending so my only option was to keep my promise. Going with a goaltender first overall probably is not the ideal move for an All-Star Game, but I said I'd do anything to get Cam on my team and winning the coin flip made this decision simple.

Lidstrom -- Steven Stamkos (C)

You may recall me taking Henrik Sedin here as recently as five days ago. As is my prerogative as a future Hall-of-Famer, I changed my mind and took the finisher to pair with Martin St. Louis.


Staal -- Alex Ovechkin (W)

Can't have Sid, so I'll just take Alex. If only this weren't happening in fantasy land. Someone on our conference call with the media the other day asked Mike Green if he was going to try to convince me to pick Ovi. Yeah, like Greenie had to say anything.

Lidstrom -- Henrik Lundqvist (G)

This guy is going to be my goaltender. While Staal is making homer picks, I'm drafting the best Swedish export since the Saab. Buckle up and get in gear with Lundqvist behind the wheel! Get it?


Staal -- Henrik Sedin (C)

Do you believe that Nick let this guy slip all the way to the third round? What, change of heart Nicky? You had Henrik as your first-round pick last week. Hey, I'm not complaining. Will you try to compensate and take Daniel?

Lidstrom -- Daniel Sedin (W)

I never wanted to say this to Henrik, but I always preferred Daniel. Henrik should look in the mirror and ask why he's not as good as Daniel. Wait -- that might be confusing.


Staal -- Shea Weber (D)

Credit to Team Lidstrom over there for selecting Daniel and giving me the chance to nab the guy who I believe is the most underappreciated defenseman in the game today. This is exactly where I drafted Weber in our last mock draft. If I can get Zdeno Chara I'll have that hardest shot competition locked up.

Lidstrom -- Jonathan Toews (C)

Kane will say the opposite, but Toews is the straw that stirs the drink between these two. If I'm stuck with Kane, I need the two-way star that is Toews.


Staal -- Rick Nash (W)

The dream wing for any center. He's big. He's powerful. He can skate. He can score. And he's usually awesome in these All-Star Games. He probably still thinks he deserved my MVP truck three years ago in Atlanta, so maybe me taking him here makes up for it?

Lidstrom -- Dustin Byfuglien (D)

Time to pick a fellow defenseman, and who better than Buff? The best offensive defenseman in the game is great to have in an All-Star Game.


Staal -- Duncan Keith (D)

If I can't have Lidstrom, I'll take the next best thing in my opinion. Nick might be the perfect human, but he's wrong about Byfuglien because Keith is the best offensive defenseman in the game today.

Lidstrom -- Tim Thomas (G)

I had another change of heart with goaltending. Having two guys who can steal a period the way Thomas and Lundqvist have this season is massive.


Staal -- Marc-Andre Fleury (G)

It's getting old watching Flower win games for the Penguins. Maybe we'll use him as our closer Sunday and he can win a game for me. Wait, did I say maybe? I mean definitely.

Lidstrom -- Patrick Sharp (W)

Loading up on recent champions is the way to go. I'm still trying to find a way to get Kris Draper on this team.


Staal -- Corey Perry (W)

In our last mock draft I got him in the 14th round, but no sense in waiting now. Fifty-one points in 52 games? Those numbers sound just fine to me.

Lidstrom -- Kris Letang (D)

Just trying to stockpile defensemen now so I don't have to force them into the lineup later. That's smarts. I've got it all, really.


Staal -- Jonas Hiller (G)

I owe him considering I scored three on him in December. But then again, I score three on Ward every day in practice and I picked him first.

Lidstrom -- Daniel Briere (C/W)

The first replacement pick is a guy having a great season who really wants to be in this game. I should stop picking now to make this fair.


Staal -- Claude Giroux (C/W)

What's not to like about Briere's housemate? He scores big goals, and lots of them. He kills penalties, but scores shorthanded goals. He can play on any power play, and is good either on the wing or in the middle.

Lidstrom -- Carey Price (G)

Not bad for a third goaltender. He's comfortable under fire, like Meg Ryan in that Gulf War movie where she flew the helicopter with Ritchie Valens.


Staal -- Zdeno Chara (D)

The XM NHL Hardest Shot competition -- LOCK IT UP!

Lidstrom -- Dan Boyle (D)

I like him for his talent, but I love him because he looks like the lead singer of Train and has never made me listen to "Hey, Soul Sister." Great defenseman, great guy.


Staal -- Anze Kopitar (C)

I don't see much of him, but what I do see, I like. He burned us with a goal and an assist when we visited Hollywood in October. That clinched it for me.

Lidstrom -- Brad Richards (C)

No one ever gives this guy the proper respect. He's a Cup and Conn Smythe winner and always seems to be among the League leaders in points.


Staal -- Marc Staal (D)

Oh, brother, how could I let him continue to slip? Marc paid his dues by falling to the 13th round, but if I didn't pick him, I'm pretty sure I would have gotten an earful from mom.

Lidstrom -- Keith Yandle (D)

I wonder how he Yandled the news that he was a replacement pick? I bet he Yandles himself well in Raleigh. Will Team Staal be able to Yandle him? I can't Yandle all these questions.


Staal -- Brent Burns (D)

Burns or Yandle, it made no difference to me. I got to know Burnsie well in Finland when we played the Wild in the Bridgestone NHL Premiere games. He can play on my blue line any day, and any day happens to be Sunday.

Lidstrom -- Loui Eriksson (W)

Clearly Team Staal doesn't appreciate talented Swedes when they're available. Just another steal for my already-loaded squad.


Staal -- Matt Duchene (C)

Bet you thought I was going with Jeff Skinner here? Uh huh, you all did. Hey, I love Skinner, but he's still a rookie and he can wait. Plus, I know Lidstrom has to pick Erik Karlsson. Now you see how my mind works.

Lidstrom -- Erik Karlsson (D)

I'm not sure if he looked up to me as a youngster, but I … Ha! Of course he looked up to me. It's great to have him on board Team Lidstrom.


Staal -- Jeff Skinner (C)

There it is. The Hurricanes are together. RBC is going to rock. Lidstrom is an icon in this game, and no doubt a Hall of Famer, but he's going to get no love in that building this weekend. Sorry, pal, but you lose.

Lidstrom -- David Backes (W)

This is exactly where I took him last time, so it seemed right again. He adds just the right amount of grit to a game of mostly finesse.


Staal -- Patrik Elias, (W)

Remember when I burned the Devils in 2009 with that series-winner with under a minute left in Game 7? Bet you Patrik does. I'll do my best not to remind him of it, but just in case I think of a good zinger, I need him in my dressing room.

Lidstrom -- Martin Havlat (W)

It's always nice to have those guys that get picked to fill in for the injured last minute. He could've turned it down but he wants to play.

Staal -- Phil Kessel (W)

Elite goal scoring ability and the presence of mind to stay quiet in Toronto -- these are qualities that you just have to admire.

Lidstrom -- Paul Stastny (C)

I played against his dad, Peter Stastny. Seriously. That's not a joke. I played against a guy who is 54 years old today.
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