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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Nathan Gerbe (Photo: Heather Harvey)
The AHL announced today that Pirates rookie forward Nathan Gerbe has been selected as a starter for the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team and rookie forward Tim Kennedy will join him on the roster for the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications, to be played later this month at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.

Gerbe recently returned to the Pirates lineup after a six-game stint with the Buffalo Sabres. In 23 games with Portland this season, Gerbe has recorded 15 goals, including seven on the power play, and 10 assists. His 25 points is fifth among AHL rookies.

Kennedy has 28 points, five goals and 23 assists, in 33 games with the Pirates. He is second among rookies in scoring and ninth in the league with 13 power play assists. Kennedy made his NHL debut with his hometown Buffalo Sabres on December 27 in a game against the New York Islanders and was returned to Portland the following day.

Among the members of the PlanetUSA team are 19 first-time AHL All-Stars, including rookies Nikita Filatov of the Syracuse Crunch, Bobby Sanguinetti of the Hartford Wolf Pack, Jonas Junland of the Peoria Rivermen, Yannick Weber of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Mattias Karlsson of the Binghamton Senators, Jeff Frazee of the Lowell Devils and Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy of the Portland Pirates. Hershey Bears forward Keith Aucoin has been selected to his fourth consecutive AHL All-Star Classic, and PlanetUSA captain Rory Fitzpatrick of the Rochester Americans will be making his third All-Star appearance and his first since 1998.

Because the Chicago Wolves won the Calder Cup championship in 2008, their current staff of head coach Don Granato and assistants Jason Christie and Wendell Young will serve as the coaches for the PlanetUSA team. John Anderson was promoted to the Atlanta Thrashers after guiding the Wolves to the title last spring.

The 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League competing in the 2009 AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 25 (4:00 p.m. ET), and the 2009 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 26 (7:00 p.m. ET). The event will be televised nationally in the United States and Canada.
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