Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch was named to his 11th NHL All-Star Game today, the fifth time he has been voted to the starting lineup. Leetch, who remains sidelined with a bruised ankle tendon, has earned an All-Star selection in each of the last three seasons.
Leetch has collected two assists in nine career All-Star matches. The defenseman was voted as a starter in the 1993 game, but was unable to play due to a neck injury.
Leetch ranked third among all Eastern Conference players with 132,938 votes, trailing only Pittsburgh center Mario Lemieux (155,172) and Florida defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh (141,723). Only Ozolinsh and Detroit's Niklas Lidstrom (164,568) collected more votes than Leetch among all NHL blueliners.
The 2003 NHL All-Star Game, presented by Nextel, will by played on Sunday, February 2 in Sunrise, Florida (2:30 PM ET - ABC, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio). This year's NHL All-Star Game returns to an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format after five years of North America vs. the World.
The 2002-2003 season is the 17th year in which fans have determined the starting lineups for the All-Star Game.
The remaining players on the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star rosters, to be selected by the NHL's Hockey Operations Department, will be announced on Thursday, January 16 during ESPN's Thursday Night Hockey in the United States and on TSN in Canada.
The NHL All-Star Game is the centerpiece of NHL All-Star Weekend, presented by Nextel, which includes the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills Competition and Topps/NHL YoungStars Game on Saturday, February 1 and the NHL All-Star Block Party, presented by Nextel. The NHL All-Star Block Party, which runs from January 30 to February 1, is an eight-acre interactive hockey and entertainment festival adjacent to the Office Depot Center.
2003 Eastern Conference All-Star Team Starting Lineup Goal - Nikolai Khabibulin Tampa Bay (99,651) Defense - Sandis Ozolinsh Florida (141,723) Defense - Brian Leetch NY Rangers (132,938) Wing - Jaromir Jagr Washington (122,725) Wing - Alexei Kovalev Pittsburgh (91,694) Center - Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh (155,172)
2003 Western Conference All-Star Team Starting Lineup Goal - Patrick Roy Colorado (136,056) Defense - Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit (164,568) Defense - Rob Blake Colorado (130,537) Wing - Bill Guerin Dallas (111,696) Wing - Teemu Selanne San Jose (95,379) Center - Mike Modano Dallas (112,632)