January 22, 2011
The NHL announced its alternate captains for All-Star Weekend, as Mike Green(notes) of the Washington Capitals and Ryan Kesler(notes) of the Vancouver Canucks join Team Eric Staal(notes) while Patrick Kane(notes) of the Chicago Blackhawks and Martin St. Louis(notes) of the Tampa Bay Lightning join Team Nicklas Lidstrom(notes).
Our first thought, "Oh good, this will allow the NHL to sell Green, Kane and Kesler All-Star Game jerseys to three of the most rabid fan bases in the League prior to the All-Star Draft." So, naturally, hours after the announcement, none of the alternates are available on the pull-down menus on Shop NHL.
(We do know that Team Staal will wear the red and white while Team Lidstrom will rock the blue, however.)
When we spoke to NHL VP of hockey and business development Brendan Shanahan(notes) earlier this week about the All-Star Game format, he said the players in the All-Star Draft pool "picked just the captains." So we'll assume that means another group, like NHL Hockey Operations, selected the alternates.
If you're a little baffled as to how, say, Mike Green ended up as an alternate captain, the selections make sense.
Each team is spotted two forwards and a D-man prior to the draft. Putting Kane and St. Louis on the same team makes for some immediate drama if Steven Stamkos(notes) and Jonathan Toews(notes) are both on the board. Putting Kesler and Green on the same team makes for immediate drama with the Sedins and Alex Ovechkin(notes) still on the board.
As for whether he might try to nudge Staal and Kesler toward picking Capitals teammate Alex Ovechkin early, Green only said that he wouldn't mind lining up against the two-time Hart Trophy winner if that were the case.
"I'd love for him to come down on me but it's all up for what Staalsy and Kesler want too," Green said.
"I think it's a decision the three of us have to make, not just one guy. We'll see how it pans out."
In case you missed it on yesterday's Puck Daddy Radio on Sirius 98, Jussi Jokinen(notes) of the Carolina Hurricanes said he spoke with Eric Staal and expected him to "pick Cam Ward(notes) first and then some of his friends from Thunder Bay after that"; a reference to the players he trains with in the offseason.