The NHL’s new format for picking the All-Star teams has definitely created a buzz around the league. As for how the top players are selected, the fans will still vote, but the conference allegiances will not be forced. After fan balloting determines the initial six stars, the NHL hockey department will fill next 36 spots. After the 36 are chosen, two captains will be selected from among the all-star elite.
Then the captains will fill out their respective rosters during the week of the event.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of (players from) one team. If Ryan Getzlaf gets to pick, he’s going to pick one of his guys,” Joe Thornton
“I would definitely be picking my fellow Sharks players so I would be on the same team as them,” Patrick Marleau
said. “You can’t go wrong whoever you would pick.”
There will be an almost playground like atmosphere to the draft and the possibility of a player being recognized as the last player picked.
“Are they going to show the order of the picks?” Marleau asked. “If there is going to be a last player picked at an All-Star game, that’s still not too bad. It’s not the worst thing that’s happened. There will be some good ribbing. I predict whoever gets picked last will end up with the All-Star MVP award.”
“It won’t be quite like Mr. Irrelevant,” Thornton said. “You’re still an All-Star so I don’t think it will matter if you’re picked last or not.”
The key question is how critical is a friendship when it comes to picking a better team. Marleau was asked what he would do if he had to pick (after teammates of course) between a friend from another club and a player with the credentials of Sidney Crosby.
“I like to think Crosby is a friend after the Olympics,” Marleau diplomatically stated.
Both Sharks players have spent their share of time at the All-Star weekend and were positive about the newest format.
“The All-Star game is a fun thing anyway, so it just adds a little twist,” Thornton said. “You’ve seen a lot of different formats in the past, so this brings in a little more creativity and it should be good for the game and ultimately for the fans.”
“It’s different,” Marleau said. “It will be interesting to see how it works.”
The Sharks will host the New York Islanders Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at www.ticketmaster.com and at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.