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Brendan Shanahan answers questions, reflects on 2011 All-Star Game Fantasy Draft

In the simplest way, the selection process during the 2011 NHL All-Star Game’s Fantasy Draft will feature Team Eric Staal and Team Nicklas Lidstrom rattling off players in a fashion very similar to school kids choosing sides during gym class.

Of course, there are some things that complicate matters, which Brendan Shanahan discussed with Puck Daddy in a story that was published this morning. We’ll cover some of the highlights from that interview in a second, but it might be important to discuss some of the caveats first.

  • Each team will have three alternate captains which include two forwards and one defenseman.
  • There will be a 36-player pool to choose from during an 18-round draft.
  • Each sides’ three goalies must be taken by the 10th round.
  • All defensemen must be chosen by the 15th round.
  • There will be a “Mr. Irrelevant” in the draft, something Shanahan hopes will be treated in a “tongue-in-cheek” way.

OK, now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s get to some of the most interesting comments from Shanahan in that PD article.

After discussing how the restrictions will make the draft most interesting, Shanahan discussed the way goalie selections can leave you rattled in a mock draft:

SHANAHAN: Originally, we were going to tell them to draft who they wanted, when they wanted. But when we started doing mock drafts in the office, you realize [poop]: If I’m drafting against you, and you took your goalies in the first few rounds, because you’re a goalie freak, then the reality is that I’m not going to draft a goalie [until late] because you’ve essentially picked mine. I’m not going to waste a pick on a goalie because I can just wait until the end to draft them. The last six guys standing could have been predetermined; totally bad, dead TV.

(snip)

That’s what was fun. It’s like that old saying in boxing: Everyone’s got a plan before they get hit. That’s how it was: Regardless of you many times you did the mock draft with a plan, the other guy would do something you weren’t expecting and you’d have to change it.

On how being picked last might motivate that guy to win the MVP:

Everyone keeps focusing on the guy going last, but the reality of it is that if you go 10th, then you think you should have gone 7th. If you go fifth, you think you’re better than the four guys who went in front of you. If you go second, you’re mad at the guy who didn’t take you first, and you want to beat him.

I ran it past some perennial all-stars, and Luc Robitaille told me that if he had been taken last, he’d go home, get some sleep and then win the MVP.

***

Click here to read more from Shanahan, including the fact that players might find some “perverse pleasure” in splitting up the Sedin twins.

Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 15: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers shares a laugh with teammate Antti Raanta #32 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 in NHL action on November 15, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.

Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).

Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:

Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.

Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.

For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.

They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.

Columbus is now at 16-5-4, giving them 36 standings points. They’re once again in breathing distance of leading the Metro Division when you consider games in hand.

Update: Here’s how the standings look after the Rangers beat the Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

That’s a stout division, and the Blue Jackets remain shockingly effective. Then again, with results like these over and over again, it might be time to merely expect such impressive work.

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For Detroit, it was a rough night. Jonathan Ericsson couldn’t play, Mike Green was a little banged up and Petr Mrazek was pulled for Jimmy Howard. This goal summarized some of their struggles:

Blues blaze through Devils, even in New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Brad Hunt #77, Robby Fabbri #15 and Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate Fabri's first period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.

On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.

It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.

This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.

That’s impressive stuff.

This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:

The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”

Oh yeah, don’t forget about Jake Allen, either.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Update: The Wild were able to shake off that goal, ultimately beating the Oilers 3-2 via a shootout.