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Greening gets invite to 2012 NHL all-star weekend

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Senators forward Colin Greening is among 12 rookies named to participate in the Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition during all-star weekend festivities at Scotiabank Place (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

Add another Senators name to list of players taking part in 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend festivities at Scotiabank Place.

Forward Colin Greening is among a list of 12 rookies named today by the National Hockey League to participate in the Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition, set for Jan. 28. The league also announced the 36 players who'll fill out the rosters for the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game, to be played Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place.

While Greening had heard some talk among his teammates that he might get the all-star call, he admitted being taken aback when head coach Paul MacLean delivered the news.

"Guys mentioned a few weeks ago that (this) could be a possibility, but I really had no expectations," Greening told Sens TV. "It did take me by surprise today. A lot of guys today we’re saying ‘you’d better be checking your phone to see if you’re in the rookie thing.’ I guess it finally came (true) and Paul was nice enough to tell me."

Greening joins forwards Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, along with defenceman Erik Karlsson, as part of all-star weekend. The four Senators were voted into the contest in fan balloting, with Karlsson rating as the top vote-getter in that process, which concluded Jan. 4.

"It's great and those guys deserve to be in there," Greening said when asked about having so much Senators company on all-star weekend. "It'll be fun to have a lot of familiar faces there, but it's going to be nice to see all the other all-stars, too, and meet all the other rookies. So it's going to be a fun weekend."

The addition of Greening gives the Senators the largest contingent for all-star weekend, which is being playing Ottawa for the first time. The 25-year-old native of St. John's has been a standout at Sens Skills presented by Metro the last two years, winning the fastest skater event in record time on both occasions. He was also a runner-up in the hardest shot competition in 2010-11.

Four members of the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks were among the veterans and rookies added to the lineup for the all-star game. Players from all 30 teams will be represented, with forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin and defenceman Alexander Edler chosen for the all-star game and forward Cody Hodgson added to the rookie contingent for the skills competition.

The Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers had three players selected — goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, defenceman Dan Girardi and forward Marian Gaborik. The defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins had two players named — forward Tyler Seguin and defenceman Zdeno Chara. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was voted into the game by the fans.

Forwards Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul of the Maple Leafs were among the additions, joining Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf, who joined Karlsson as the two defencemen finishing on top of the fan balloting.

Also added to the roster Thursday were five goaltenders, among them the Red Wings' Jimmy Howard, who leads the league in wins, and the Blues' Brian Elliott, a former Senator who is second in the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage.

Among the nine defencemen added were the Panthers' Brian Campbell and the Jets' Dustin Byfuglien, who last were teammates in 2010 to help the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. Also added from that championship Blackhawks team were current Hawks forwards Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa.

Also going to Ottawa will be Predators teammates Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Joining them will be teammate Craig Smith, from the rookie pool.

The NHL's top nine scorers all will have a place in Ottawa — the Sedins, Kessel, Lupul, the Flyers' Claude Giroux, the Lightning's Steven Stamkos, Hossa, the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin and Spezza.

Other forwards added to the roster include Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who last week became the 42nd player in NHL history with 500 goals; Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who will play in his fifth all-star game; and the Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk, who was named to his third all-star game.

Two captains will be named for the all-star game next week, with Alfredsson — the NHL's current longest-serving team captain — widely expected to be one of them. They'll choose the teams when the 2012 NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft is held Dec. 26 at the Theatre du Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau.

— With files from

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