When asked if there’s one fellow NHL standout he would like to play with this weekend at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, Zdeno Chara didn’t even hesitate.
“I always admire Nick and to be able to play with him, even at the All-Stars, would be a huge honor,” said Chara of his former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who will be a captain of one of the teams in Raleigh over the weekend. “I always look up to him. He’s one of the best to ever play the game, but it’d be a huge honor to be able to play with him on the same team.”
Chara and goaltender Tim Thomas will represent the Bruins in the All-Star Game, while Tyler Seguin will be among the NHL rookies taking part in the SuperSkills competition Saturday night.
Thomas, when asked where he’s going to go in the draft Friday night, joked “to whichever team picks me.” But then he revealed a couple preferences for teammates at his third NHL All-Star Game.
“I’m sure whichever side you’re on, there’ll be people that you want to meet and that’ll be fun to play with,” said the goaltender, who earned the win in his previous two All-Star berths. “Obviously, I played with Martin St. Louis for years [in college], so I always enjoy playing with him. Patrick Sharp’s another UVM guy that I don’t really know that well, so maybe it’d be fun to play on the same team with him and maybe get to know him a little bit. And there’s guys like Ryan Kesler that I played with at the Olympics that’d be fun to see again. I’m sure whatever team I end up on it’ll be an enjoyable experience.”
Chara, the defending champion in the hardest shot competition, said he hasn’t come up with a bet to organize for this year’s contest yet. In Montreal in 2009, Chara challenged his fellow participants to put up money, and combined with the NHL and NHLPA a lot of money was raised for Right to Play.
No doubt, there will be All-Stars eager to line up next to Chara and Thomas. The goaltender’s temporary teammates will get a closer look at one of more amazing phenomenon’s the NHL has seen, with Thomas going from Vezina winner to injured back-up goaltender and now returning to All-Star form.
“It’s quit an acknowledgment to be in an All-Star game. But to get back to an All-Star game after all the adversity last year, it’s special to me,” said Thomas.