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New 3-on-3 divisional format intriguing to All-Stars

NHL.com @NHL

Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene is looking forward to taking part in the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game, set for Jan. 31 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, as well as the new 3-on-3 divisional format.

Just don't expect him to worry too much about the psyches of the goaltenders on his Central Division team, Pekka Rinne of the host Nashville Predators and Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild.

"I think it's going to be a good time," Duchene said. "It's none of our goalies, so if they get peppered, it's OK. It's our division, so they're teammates for a little bit, but if they get peppered I won't shed any tears for them."

Dubnyk isn't concerned about what the All-Star competition will bring, choosing to focus on the thrill of being selected to participate.

"You concentrate on playing games," Dubnyk told the Wild website, "but when you hear news like that, it's pretty exciting. It takes a little bit to sink in. Just kind of adding it to everything that's happened in the last year. You've got to go in and just enjoy it. It'll be a fun experience."

The Predators will have three players among the 40 players named Wednesday by the NHL's Hockey Operations Department. Joining Rinne are defensemen Roman Josi and Shea Weber.

"It's definitely special," Josi said of the festivities taking place on the Predators' home ice. "It's my first one so it would be special anyways, but yeah, playing it in Nashville in front of the home fans is definitely going to be a special experience.

"It's a huge honor. There's so many great players out there, and being selected as one of the All-Stars is definitely a big honor and a big dream come true."

The All-Star experience and what it represents is something that isn't lost on the competitors, notably Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano, who will play for the Pacific Division team.

"When I first started playing in the NHL, I would have never dreamed of getting into All-Star Games and stuff like that," Giordano told the Flames website. "I don't forget about those days. For me, this is a huge accomplishment.

"I think it's a fun, exciting thing to be a part of and it's great for family and friends to come. I don't want to miss opportunities to have people there that I want around. I won't take it for granted at all."

And for some, playing the All-Star Game in the city that houses the Grand Ole Opry will carry its own significance.

"I'll probably bring the family," said Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin, "but I don't know if the kids enjoy country music as much as I do."

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