The All-Star game is a right of passage for many of the NHL's top players. So it is a bit of a surprise to many when they hear Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle
was recently selected to play in his first mid-season classic. But on the other hand, it's not surprising to anyone that Joe Thornton
is set to lace them up in his sixth All-Star game.
Boyle, who is tied for the NHL lead among defensemen for goals (12) and points (32), should probably have been chosen long ago, but he will happily make the initial visit.
“I’m going to enjoy it,” said Boyle. “It’s nice to get recognized. It doesn’t have the intensity of a regular season game, but the guys I’ve talked with have really enjoyed it.”
As for Thornton, he has made it impossible not to be selected in recent years and is always ready to make the trip again.
“It feels good,” said Thornton of his selection. “It’s an honor and going will be a lot of fun.”
Both players will make a family weekend of the event.
“I just found out 10 minutes ago,” said Boyle. “My family is from Ottawa, so they should be able to make the trip.”
“We’ll bring everyone in,” said Thornton who has made it a mini-family reunion for years. “It’s nice and close to my hometown.”
For Thornton, the reunion is also with a lot of friends he has played with internationally, and even in San Jose, in Roberto Luongo, Rick Nash, Brian Campbell and others.
“The best part is having a couple of days where you’re not beating each other down,” said Thornton of playing with the same players he plays against in the regular season.
Both players acknowledge that the game being hosted in Montreal as the city celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens will be a bonus.
“Montreal is a great hockey city with a lot of history,” said Boyle.
“The game being in Montreal will be special,” said Thornton. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Boyle and Thornton will both enjoy a little extra time together, but they both wish there were a couple of more teammates coming from San Jose.
“It’s great Joe is coming, but at the same time it’s bittersweet because guys like Patty and Nabby are having great years and they’re not going,” said Boyle.
He may be late in coming to the All-Star party, but don’t be surprised if this starts a run of All-Star games for Boyle.
“It seems like he’s been an All-Star for a lot of years,” said Thornton.
Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan will be going to the All-Star game at a minimum as an assistant coach, but if the Sharks earn just one of the next four available points, or Detroit doesn’t claim all four of their available points, McLellan will be the head coach of the Western Conference.
Boyle and Thornton join previous Sharks All-Stars Marleau, Evgeni Nabokov, Teemu Selanne, Owen Nolan, Vincent Damphousse, Marcus Ragnarsson, Marco Sturm, Tony Granato, Sandis Ozolinsh, Arturs Irbe, Kelly Kisio (Pat Falloon was selected to play, but was injured) and Doug Wilson.
Joining Derek Joslin as an AHL All-Star will be Worcester’s Ryan Vesce who was named to the PlanetUSA All-Star Team. Vesce was a free agent signee this summer and is a former Cornell teammate of Douglas Murray
Following Tuesday’s tough loss in Calgary, McLellan changed plans and had a morning practice before flying to Edmonton.
The Sharks will visit Edmonton on Friday night in a 7 p.m. start that will be available on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.