A new era has been ushered in as the National Hockey League will introduce a new All-Star game format in time for this season's All-Star weekend.
The Carolina Hurricanes will host the NHL's elite on the weekend of January 28, 29 and 30, 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
A new wrinkle, the All-Star fantasy draft will be held on Friday night, the SuperSkills competition will go on Saturday followed by the All-Star game on Sunday.
This new direction is the brain child of former NHLer Brendan Shanahan, now the NHL's Vice President of Hockey and Business Development.
Shanahan has also relied on input from other members from the NHL's hockey operations department, National Hockey League's Players Association and current players.
Under the new guidelines, two Captains were voted on by the 42 participating All-Stars who were announced earlier. Hometown 'Canes Captain Eric Staal and Detroit Red Wings Captain Niklas Lidstrom were voted as the games two Captains.
Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks were announced as alternate Captains for Captain Lidstrom. Team Staal will consist of Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Mike Green of the Washington Capitals as alternate Captains.
While Calgary Flames forward Jarome Iginla has bowed out of the All-Star game for personal reasons, allowing Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere to replace him, there are reports indicating that Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will both miss the All-Star game with Injuries. Without getting in to who should replace them, I've included them anyway into my mock draft. Expect the NHL to clarify their positions some time this week.
How the Draft will work:
"A coin toss will decide first pick with the team captains, joined by their two alternate captains, alternately drafting the 36 remaining All-Stars through 18 rounds. Each team will consist of three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards total. For sake of fairness in the draft, the captain and alternate captains for each team will consist of two forwards and one defenseman. Also, to ensure that the final draft picks are true selections and not simply predetermined due to position requirements, each team’s three goalies must be picked by the end of Round 10 and each team’s six defensemen must be picked by the conclusion of Round 15." —Taken from NHL.com
No doubt that both Captains and their alternates will be busy during the draft. It should be interesting to see how it all pans out. Say what you want about the new All-Star game format, but this draft should be very interesting to watch.
Tune in on Friday January 28 at 7:30 pm eastern time to watch the events unfold. TSN in Canada will have the draft and Versus in the United States. NHL Network in both Canada and US will recap the events starting at 10pm eastern time.
I'm about to put it all on the line...
Here is my Mock draft of the 2011 NHL Star game rosters for Team Lidstrom and Team Staal...
Here we go...