The NHL’s decision to have two captains draft teams for the All-Star Game has certainly breathed new life into the game. More than that, it has given them another thing to put on television. Last night, the second annual NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft happened in Ottawa, where I am told hockey is quite popular.
The two team captains were Ottawa’s long time face of the franchise Daniel Alfredsson and former Senator and noted giant Zdeno Chara. Alfredsson’s assistant captain was Henrik Lundqvist. For some reason, Chara’s was Joffrey Lupul. Lupul has had a very impressive season, but he isn’t exactly a big name, even in hockey circles. My guess is they wanted a player from a Canadian team, and ideally Toronto since they are also in Ontario, and Phil Kessel probably would have said no, based on how visibly uncomfortable he seemed when he got interviewed after being not the last pick again. Top notch player, however.
Anyway, Chara had the first pick and took Pavel Datsyuk. He is a great player, so that makes snese. Alfredsson then took teammate Erik Karlsson. It makes sense since they are both Senators, but also because Karlsson has had a great season. When Alfredsson then proceeded to take Jason Spezza it made less practical sense, but this is the All-Star Game. He wanted all the Ottawa Senators, and that’s fine. This is an exhibition. Chara’s second pick was his teammate and noted American citizen Tim Thomas.
The first defensemen taken who wasn’t the teammate of one of the captains were Kimmo Timmonen and injury replacement Kris Letang. Jimmy Howard was the last goalie taken, going in the 10th round. In case you were curious, yes Alfredsson also got Milan Michalek. Dennis Wideman and Alexander Edler both went in the 15th round, the last blueliners taken. The final pick came down to Jamie Benn and Logan Couture. Chara took Benn, leaving Couture to go last, but he also got the car, so there’s that. Plus, he’s a second year player making his first All-Star game. He’s probably still pretty happy all things considered. Oh, also the Sedins are on the same team.
Overall, I think the two teams are quite close. I give Alfredsson the edge on goalies, Chara the edge on forwards (taking Spezza and Michalek didn’t help there), and the defensemen are kind of a wash. Granted, in an All-Star game it is kind of hard to put together a poor roster. The skills competition is Saturday. The All-Star Game is Sunday. Will Team Chara or Team Alfredsson take the prize in Ottawa? It won’t mean anything, but it should be fun to watch.