It was not hard to find a little piece of Northern California in the big ‘ole state of Texas at the 55th NHL All-Star Game, held on Jan. 24 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. With Captain Patrick Marleau
, Joe Thornton
and Jonathan Cheechoo in town from the San Jose Sharks, only one other NHL team (Buffalo Sabres) was as well represented as well at the star-studded main event.
After a two-year absence, the NHL’s All-Star Game returned to see the West topple the East, 12-9, in an offensive-oriented exhibition that saw 16 different goal scorers.
Those scorers included Marleau, who beat future Hall-of-Famer Martin Brodeur on a feed from Cheechoo early in the second period. After the game however, Marleau, who also clanged the iron twice, was more concerned with missed opportunities to set up his teammates.
But such is the atmosphere of this event. No one talks of letting those two important points slip away. Although one team will inevitably score more goals than the other, there are no losers on this day as the game’s best and brightest talents are on center stage for the entire hockey world to see.
Also in town was Sharks rookie defenseman Matt Carle, who took his spot on the Western Conference blueline for the NHL YoungStars Game. Carle, no stranger to offense, pumped in two goals, including one short-handed and, in a 9-8 loss to the East squad, was a plus-three.
Thornton and Cheechoo were the well-deserving recipients of overwhelming support from Sharks and NHL fans around the globe, who voted them into a spot on the Western Conference’s starting lineup alongside one the greatest NHLers of all time, Colorado’s Joe Sakic. Thornton received the most support of any Western Conference player with 663,991 votes. Marleau (who nearly gave the Sharks a “hat trick” of starters, finished fourth in voting among West skaters) was added to the roster by the NHL, acknowledging the center’s coming of age as one of the NHL’s elite players and leaders.
Among all 30 NHL clubs, the San Jose Sharks, thanks to a valiant effort and marketing campaign put together by Event Presentations Coordinator Ayron Sequeira, were recognized as the top team by the NHL for “strong execution of the All-Star fan balloting process and activating a broad universe of core and casual fans through digital and traditional media.” The Sharks organization would like to thank all fans who took part in the All-Star balloting process and for their outstanding support.