Last week, Predators head coach Barry Trotz learned he would be the assistant coach for the Western Conference at the 2007 NHL All-Star Game. Today, three more Predators learned that they would be attending the All-Star festivities in Dallas as well. Defenseman and team captain Kimmo Timonen has been named to the Western Conference All Star team roster and young Predators talents Shea Weber and Alexander Radulov have been selected to participate in the Young Stars game.
For Timonen, who has spent his entire NHL career with Nashville, this is the third time that he has been selected as an NHL All-Star. He was honored first in 2000 but could not play in the game due to injury. He was tapped again in 2004. The 5'10", 194-pound native of Kuopio, Finland, who earlier this season became the Predators' all-time leading scorer and all-time leader in games played, leads Nashville d-men in scoring and ranks among league leaders with 31 points (8g-23a) from the blue line.
Defenseman Shea Weber's recognition is a Young Star is well-deserved as he has added size, weight and solid two-way play to the Predators blue line in his second NHL season. The 6'3", 213-pound native of Sicamous, B.C., played 28 games with Nashville last season after being promoted from the club's American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee. He had 10 points (2g-8a) in those 28 games last season and has 23 points (7g-16a) in 44 games this season. He leads the Predators in hits with 89 and on Friday he posted his sixth multi-point game of the season with a one goal, one assist performance against Columbus.
The Young Stars nod is just another feather in the cap of rookie winger Alexander Radulov, who collected all of the significant awards given in the Canadian Hockey League junior system and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2005-06. The dynamic Russian scorer started out this season with Milwaukee but has now staked claim to a regular spot with the Predators. In 31 career NHL games he has amassed 11 goals, nine assists and a league-leading 24.4 shooting percentage. Three of Radulov's 11 goals have been game-winners.
The 2007 NHL All-Star Game will be played at 7:00 p.m. CT Wed., Jan. 24. It will be televised on the cable channel Versus and broadcast on NHL Radio. Predators equipment manager Pete Rogers will also be participating in a supporting role at the All-Star Game, working on the bench of the Eastern Conference All Stars. The equipment management staff of the host team, the Dallas Stars, will work the Western Conference bench.