All-Star Draft: Team Staal on strategy, drafting teammates/brothers

Team Lidstrom discussed the NHL All-Star Game yesterday and today, two-thirds of Team Staal were on a conference call with reporters this afternoon to lend their thoughts.

Eric Staal(notes) of the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green(notes) discussed the numerous injuries affecting the Game, reuniting with teammates and brothers and their strategy for building Team Staal.

The highlights:

On Injuries Impacting the Game

Every day it seems another NHL star or two has to drop from the game due to injury or personal reasons. Today, it was Evgeni Malkin(notes) and Tobias Enstrom(notes) having to pull out. Staal was asked if the missing stars will take away from attention on the game.

"There's injuries throughout this game. I mean, it's a long year," said Staal. "There's a lot of games. I think for the most part, guys want to be a part of the All Star festivities."

Said Staal on Sidney Crosby's(notes) absence: "I think missing arguably the best player in the league, you know, for an event like this, is missed," said Staal. "But like I said before, injuries happen and you deal with them as individuals and as teams."

On Draft Strategy

Yesterday, Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) joked about selecting Cam Ward(notes) first to get the hometown fans on the side of Team Lidstrom.

What would Staal do in response?

"I don't know, I would have to figure out something as far as making a trade," said Staal.

"If he won the coin flip and ended up taking Cam first, I think it would be I don't think it would be as fun for our fans to be honest. I think we have to have all of us on the same team and let the one the home crowd cheer for one team."

The Hurricanes captain was then asked how Team Staal will go about building their squad.

"Obviously you have to have some rhyme or reason in what you're doing, but like I said before, there's a ton of talent there and not really any bad picks," said Staal. "Everyone is a great player and deserves to be there. So, you know, obviously goal scoring is a premium in the All Star Game, and goalkeeping, too, and defense. So there's no wrong way to go about it I don't think. You know, we are going to enjoy it, the three of us getting together and trying to figure out a game plan and making our pick."

On Teammate/Brother Reunions

Staal was asked about how he'd approach potentially drafting or not drafting his brother Marc.

"The way [Marc's] been talking, he's been telling me to take him first, and then he's telling me he doesn't want me to pick him; so he doesn't really know what he wants. You know, we'll see what happens. I've been having some pressure from my mom, making sure we are on the same team."

Said Green on whether he'd rather play with or against Alex Ovechkin(notes): "I did an interview today and said it would be nice to have him on the team, have him do some one on one on you, but again, we'll see what happens with the draft."

On the All-Star Format Change

When asked if the All-Star Game needed a change, Staal noted the influence of fantasy sports makes the change this year intriguing.

"I would not necessarily say that it needed to be changed," said Staal. "I think the change is welcome. I think it was a great idea. I think it adds a different element, a different you haven't seen anything like this in pro sports before with anything. And I think in this day and age with all of the football pools, the hockey pools, the baseball pools, the sports fans pay attention to that kind of stuff. Why not have the athletes themselves kind of in that same mix for an All Star event."

Speaking of paying attention, Staal is currently in 10th place in the Y! Sports Fantasy Hockey Challenge.

On Separating the Sedins

Both captains have now been asked about the possibility of the Sedin twins finally playing on separate teams.

Said Staal: "You know what, kind of. When we have our discussions between Mike and I and Ryan, we can ask Ryan who he loves the best and we pick him and leave the other for the other team no, they are obviously two very, very talented players."

For the record, Kesler has said he'd prefer Henrik because he's a center.

On Being Out of the Player Pool

Finally, Green expressed his relief on being named assistant captain of Team Staal and not being available in the Draft.

"That's my worst fear is being picked last, so at least I don't have to worry about that now."

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