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Thornton Named Captain of Western All-Stars

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
MONTREAL (Jan. 22, 2009) -- San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton and Montreal Canadiens winger Alex Kovalev have been named team captains for the 57th NHL All-Star Game in the Bell Centre in Montreal on Sunday (6 p.m. ET, RDS, CBC, VERSUS, NHL Radio).

Thornton, whose 43 assists are tied for second in the League, has been one of the game’s top playmakers for years. He won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s scoring champ and the Hart Memorial Trophy as League MVP in 2006 and will captain the Western Conference when he makes his sixth consecutive NHL All-Star Game appearance Sunday.

San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton, right, and Devin Setoguchi celebrate Thornton's goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Sharks winger Devin Setoguchi, who will be playing for the sophomores in the NHL YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck, said of Thornton’s playmaking prowess: "When he's out there throwing passes you have to be ready at all times because he'll find you. When you think he won't find you, he'll put the puck on your stick.”

Kovalev, who has 12 goals and 21 assists this season, will play a starring role Saturday night during the 2009 Honda/NHL SuperSkills when he represents the hometown Canadiens in the Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge. He then will don the captain’s “C” for the Eastern Conference when he makes his third NHL All-Star Game appearance on Sunday.

Capable of bringing fans out of their seats on every shift, Kovalev earned this rave from Mario Lemieux at the 2003 All-Star Game: "He's the best stick handler I've ever seen. Quickness. Hands. A much better stick handler than me. He's got the talent to be the best player in the world."

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