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Blackburn Selected to NHL YoungStars Game

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

By Shawn Roarke -


The National Hockey League has named the 24 players that will take part in the Topps/NHL YoungStars Game, slated for Friday, Feb. 1 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The YoungStars Game, part of the NHL All-Star Weekend, takes place before the Dodge SuperSkills competition Friday. Both competitions will be broadcast on CBC in Canada (8:30 p.m. ET) and on ESPN in the United States (9 p.m. ET). SRC in Canada (10 p.m. ET) also will broadcast Dodge/NHL SuperSkills.

The game promises to be an up-tempo affair that will show off the skills of some of the game's brightest young stars.

The Rangers' Dan Blackburn, Atlanta's Dany Heatley, Florida's Kristian Huselius, Buffalo's Tim Connolly, Edmonton's Mike Comrie, Nashville's David Legwand, Montreal's Mike Ribeiro, Ottawa's Martin Havlat, Colorado's Alex Tanguay, Carolina's David Tanabe, Calgary's Robyn Regehr and Columbus' Rostislav Klesl compromise one team.

Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk, Philadelphia's Justin Williams, Dallas' Brenden Morrow, Chicago's Kyle Calder, Nashville's Scott Hartnell, Phoenix's Krys Kolanos, Tampa Bay's Brad Richards, Minnesota's Marian Gaborik, Ottawa's Karel Rachunek, Pittsburgh's Andrew Ference, Boston's Nick Boynton and Florida's Roberto Luongo make up the second team.

The teams will skate in a four-on-four format for the entire three-period game. The duration of the first and second periods will be 12 minutes, running time. The third period will be 11 minutes, running time, plus a final minute of stop time. There will be a four-minute break between periods. If the score is tied after three periods, a sudden-death shootout will determine the winner.

Former Kings player and current broadcaster Jim Fox will coach one of the squads, while former NHL player, Kings head coach and current ESPN analyst Barry Melrose will coach the other team.

Roberto Luongo, who sports a solid .917 save percentage, will showcase his skills with 23 of the NHL's future stars.
The game features eight true rookies, including five of the top 10 rookie scorers this season.

The 20-year-old Heatley leads all rookies in scoring with 17 goals and 21 assists. Atlanta teammate Kovalchuk, the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, has 37 points -- including a rookie-high 22 goals. The 23-year-old Huselius, in his first NHL season, has 16 goals and 11 assists. Kolanos, 20, has 10 goals and 10 assists with the Coyotes. Ribeiro, called up during the season, has 16 points in 29 games for Montreal.

Blackburn, the Blue Jackets' Klesla, and Boston's Boynton are the other rookies in the game.

The rest of the players are still under 25 years of age, but have played more than one season.

The 2002 NHL All-Star Game presented by Nextel will be played Saturday, Feb. 2 in Los Angeles (3 p.m. ET, ABC, CBC, SRC). The North America vs. the World format will pit the top NHL players from the United States and Canada against the best NHL players from the rest of the world.

For more information on the 2002 Topps/NHL YoungStars Game, including the complete roster of players click here.
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