Players have fun, show off personalities in water-fueled All-Star Fantasy Draft

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COLUMBUS — If the number one goal of this weekend is fun, then mission accomplished tonight at the All-Star Fantasy Draft.

The players had fun; that much was obvious. And based on social media, the fans enjoyed watching them have fun.

“It was fun. The two teams obviously had some ideas on what they wanted to do, but after that you’re just going with the flow and having fun up there. Nothing too serious,” said Patrick Kane, one of the assistants on Team Foligno.

“I think the only thing that was set up was they wanted us to make a trade, because there was a trade available.”

It was a fun trade, too. Tyler Seguin for Phil Kessel. Because of course.

“They told us to just have fun with it,” said Kane. “Show off the personality, and just roll with the show. I think throughout the whole thing it wasn’t too serious, it was just kinda fun.

“And I think that’s the good thing about hockey players. We can have battles on the ice — like you saw with [Mark Giordano and Ryan Getzlaf], they said they didn’t like each other too much last game, and they’re joking around about it — so that’s the great thing about hockey players.”

The joking around continued afterwards, when the players were asked what was in those cups.

Apparently, just water.

“I think we drank, honestly, three or four cases of water,” said Nick Foligno. “I’ve never gone to the bathroom that much in my life. It was a lot of water.”

“When you come from L.A. to Columbus, you struggle to stay hydrated, just because of the long flight and whatnot,” added Drew Doughty, who sure was hydrated, wasn’t he?

And what about Alex Ovechkin? Did he steal the show or what?

“Oh yeah, he did,” said Doughty. “We kind of had it planned out. He was lobbying to go last in the draft to get the car, so we had a plan that he was going third last, no matter what.”

Hockey players take a lot of heat for giving boring, clichéd quotes. For the most part, they don’t like drawing attention to themselves as individuals, and they don’t like saying things that could be deemed controversial.

Tonight, the players took a few chances and it paid off in laughs.

Apparently, the trick is lots of water.

NHL All-Star Game rosters set after fantasy draft

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The rosters for the 2015 NHL All-Star game have been decided. Drink it all in, hockey fans.

We saw it all tonight, didn’t we?

Phil Kessel wasn’t taken last, selected second overall by Team Toews, and then traded to Team Foligno for Tyler Seguin. Alex Ovechkin so desired a new car and didn’t get one.

Here are the rosters for both All-Star teams.

TEAM FOLIGNO:

Forwards: Nick Foligno, Patrick Kane, Ryan Johansen, Anze Kopitar, Steven Stamkos, Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux, Bobby Ryan, Radim Vrbata, Zemgus Girgensons, Alex Ovechkin, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Defensemen: Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Burns, Kevin Shattenkirk, Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Goalies: Carey Price, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brian Elliott.

TEAM TOEWS:

Forwards: Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf, Rick Nash, Tyler Seguin, Jakub Voracek, John Tavares, Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrice Bergeron, Patrik Elias, Tyler Johnson, Filip Forsberg.

Defensemen: Shea Weber, Brent Seabrook, Aaron Ekblad, Ryan Suter, Mark Giordano, Justin Faulk.

Goalies: Corey Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Jaroslav Halak.

Undrafted Giordano has some draft advice for NHL GMs

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COLUMBUS — Mark Giordano can’t wait for tonight’s NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft.

“To be drafted is going to feel great,” he said. “I’ve never been drafted before.”

/rimshot

Giordano, of course, went undrafted out of junior. At 31, he’s now a Norris Trophy candidate with the Calgary Flames. And you never know, if his team makes the playoffs, he could be right there in the Hart Trophy discussion.

“I think I’ve become a better player, obviously, over the years,” he said. “There’s a lot of great players in the NHL, and not in the NHL. A lot of it has to do with opportunity and being in the right place at the right time.”

Giordano, whose career path included a season in Russia with Moscow Dynamo, also believes defensemen are more likely to become late-bloomers.

“You’ve got to play a bunch of seasons before you really understand that it’s all about position and not running around and making bad reads,” he said. “For young guys to come in and be really effective defensemen, like [Drew Doughty and Aaron Ekblad], they’re pretty special players to be able to read the game the way they do at such a young age.”

Giordano was asked, if he were an NHL general manager with a late-round draft pick to use on a defenseman, what would he look for?

“The number one thing is hockey IQ,” he said. “Just look for a guy who reads the game well and sees the ice. At the end of the day, playing in your own zone is going to take a while. I think if you can look for guys who can move the puck and make plays, those are guys you can build around.”

Finally, he was asked if, in hindsight, he did deserve to be drafted.

He laughed.

“No, not at the time,” he said. “I was playing my second year of junior. I wasn’t really a star. I think I got a lot better as I got older.”

Clearly.

NHL on NBCSN: Sharks face Kings in California clash

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign with Wednesday’s second game as the San Jose Sharks host the Los Angeles Kings at the SAP Center at 10:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

Beating the Los Angeles Kings handily to open the 2014-15 season obviously didn’t erase all the pain from that infamous “reverse sweep” in the 2014 playoffs, but the San Jose Sharks still got a measure of revenge with that 4-0 win.

The Sharks will get another chance to spite the Kings tonight, as things haven’t been going smoothly for the defending champions lately. The aim is obvious enough for a Kings team that is currently on the outside of the playoff picture, as NHL.com notes.

“We need to be in that playoff spot before the break. No doubt about it,” Drew Doughty said . “We need to win this game. It’s a division game and it’s a big rivalry. We need to win it, and we need to go into the break feeling good about ourselves.”

Really, you can trace the bad times back to a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 6. Including that defeat, the Kings have gone 6-7-7 in their past 20 games. More recently, Los Angeles has dropped three straight games and six of seven, squandering precious points from an expired seven-game homestand.

(While four of those defeats netted standings points, there was also the frustration of leaving points on the table.)

Much of those struggles stem from Jonathan Quick’s prolonged slump.

After starting brilliantly (.942 save percentage in October), Quick’s individual stats have dropped significantly each month; his January save percentage has been a putrid .861.

That’s not to say that the Kings are the only team that sees room for improvement, of course.

You know things aren’t going great for a team when its head coach questions their drive, as Sharks bench boss Todd McLellan did on Tuesday.

After beating Toronto to begin this seven-game homestand, the Sharks have dropped two straight games. They would greatly benefit from exploiting this opportunity to load up on standings points.

As much as these two perennial contending California teams have been struggling lately, there’s still plenty of talent on hand. From Joe Thornton to Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture, the Sharks remain loaded with scoring skill. Los Angeles can go toe-to-toe in that area with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter as well while also boasting elite defenseman Drew Doughty.

Sharks – Kings games are always an entertaining watch, but things get that much more interesting when there’s something on the line. That’s the case tonight, January game or not.

Foligno, Toews named All-Star Game captains

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Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno and Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews have been named the captains for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game, set to take place in Columbus on Jan. 25.

Foligno, who’s enjoying a career-year for the Blue Jackets this season (with a team-leading 18 goals and 40 points), recently re-upped with Columbus on a six-year deal worth $33 million. He promises to be a popular figure during the league’s annual All-Star gala, and will spearhead a leadership group that includes assistants Patrick Kane and Drew Doughty.

Toews, meanwhile, earned his “C” after finishing third in All-Star fan balloting with 1,217,210 votes.

The more intriguing storyline, though, will be who serves as Toews’ assistant — Rick Nash, the former Blue Jacket captain who was traded to the Rangers after spending the first nine seasons of his career in Columbus. With 41 points, Nash is the Rangers’ leading scorer this season and is tied for the League lead in goals, with 26.

Also serving as an assistant for Team Toews will be Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf, who’s making his third All-Star Game appearance.

Related: Sutter, Laviolette named All-Star Game coaches