| Brian Rolston has carried the Minnesota Wild offensively with the absence of Marian Gaborik. |
Brian Rolston has owned a lot of titles in just one and a half seasons with the Minnesota Wild: captain, leading scorer, United States Olympian, team leader. He picked up another one on Saturday – All-Star.
Rolston was named to the Western Conference All-Star Team, marking the first time the 12-year veteran has been chosen.
Rolston joins Marian Gaborik, Filip Kuba and Dwayne Roloson as the only Wild players to appear at the All-Star Game. The game will be played on Wednesday, January 24 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. No doubt he’s also a front-runner to win the hardest shot contest during the Dodge/Nitro SuperSkills Competition on Tuesday, the 23rd.
“It’s definitely an honor to be selected,” said Rolston. “There are a lot of great players on the team, and in the Western Conference. It’s very exciting and I’m happy I can be a part of it.”
Had there been an All-Star Game last year, Rolston would have been a worthy candidate during a career year, in which he finished with 34 goals and 79 points. He’s on pace to surpass those totals in 2006-2007, having scored a team-leading 24 goals and 41 points in 45 games. He’s reached those totals while the Wild has dealt with injuries to key players, including Gaborik, who missed 34 games with a groin injury.
“I’ve evolved as a player since I came here last year,” said the 33-year-old Rolston. “I came (to Minnesota) as an older guy, and I needed to step up and be a leader. I’m comfortable with that, and I hope to be able to continue with that here in Minnesota for a long time to come.”
Wild fans certainly hope that is the case. Rolston has endeared himself to the State of Hockey with his knack for scoring the big goal in key situations. He has never missed a game since joining the Wild prior to the 2005-2006 season, and he’s scored 10 game-winning goals in 127 games in Minnesota. He quarterbacks the power play, is a standout penalty killer, and is a four-time captain of the team, which rotates the role on a monthly basis.
Wild Media Relations/Team Services manager, Aaron Sickman, notified Rolston on Friday night after he scored a goal to help Minnesota to a 4-2 win in Edmonton.
“I’ll just enjoy the accolade and enjoy it with my family,” said Rolston from Chicago, where the Wild is getting set to take on the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night. “My boys (Ryder, Brody and Stone) will get to see everything that goes on, so that will be fun.”
Rolston has been repeatedly asked to step up in big situations, and more often than not; he’s answered the call. On the 24th, he’ll be able to relax a bit, albeit for just one game.
“It’s not too high-pressure",he said. “It’s more of just a fun weekend, and I’m looking forward to it.”
To view a list of the All-Star Game rosters, click here.