Mikhail Grabovski is your first star of the week

A short week turned into a big one for Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski as he earned the NHL’s first star as player of the week.

Grabovski notched five points (one goal, four assists) in back-to-back wins over the New York Islanders. Those wins got the Leafs back into the top eight in the Eastern Conference. Grabovski is the first Russian Maple Leaf to win the award since Sergei Berezin did in April 1999.

Nashville’s Pekka Rinne had a big enough week to earn second star honors after going 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals against and a .961 save percentage. Nashville has been on fire of late and has stormed into the discussion with Detroit, St. Louis, and Chicago as part of a dominating foursome in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Rounding out the week’s three stars was Ottawa’s All-Star captain Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson had a goal in each of the Senators’ games leading up to the All-Star Game. While the Sens lost both games, Alfredsson did lead the way for his team in the All-Star Game scoring two goals and adding an assist in a 12-9 loss to Team Chara.

Your All-Star Game lines and goalie rotation


You already know that Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin will be on a line together with Joffrey Lupul, but how about the rest of the lineups? Since the Internet is a wonderful place, the lines, defense pairings, and what periods the goalies will be playing is already out. Here’s how things shake out for this afternoon’s NHL All-Star Game.

Team Alfredsson

Milan Michalek – Jason Spezza – Daniel Alfredsson

Scott Hartnell – Henrik Sedin – Daniel Sedin

Logan Couture – Claude Giroux – Steve Stamkos

James Neal – John Tavares – Jason Pominville

Erik Karlsson – Kris Letang

Keith Yandle – Shea Weber

Alex Edler – Dan Girardi

In goal, Team Alfie will roll with Henrik Lundqvist in the first period, Jonathan Quick in the second, and Brian Elliott in the third.

Hartnell tweeted about how excited he was to play on a line with the Sedins. Meanwhile, seeing Couture with Giroux and Stamkos is a youth explosion. The hometown fans will be happy to have their top line all together for this game. Having a 27-goal-scorer like Neal on the fourth line ain’t bad either.

Team Chara

Marian Gaborik – Pavel Datsyuk – Marian Hossa

Corey Perry – Evgeni Malkin – Jarome Iginla

Joffrey Lupul – Tyler Seguin – Phil Kessel

Jamie Benn – Patrick Kane – Jordan Eberle

Zdeno Chara – Brian Campbell

Dion Phaneuf – Dennis Wideman

Ryan Suter – Kimmo Timonen

Team Chara will go with Detroit’s Jimmy Howard in the first period, Montreal’s Carey Price in the second, and Tim Thomas in the third. If Thomas gets the win in this game, it’ll be his fourth straight All-Star Game victory.

A top line with Gaborik, Datsyuk, and Hossa is mind-boggling and with Datsyuk having some previous experience with Hossa should help make that line go with Gaborik and Hossa being Slovak countrymen. Having a line with Malkin centering last year’s MVP Perry and all-world man of the hour Iginla is something special.

We’re sure no one in Philly will make a big deal about Suter being paired up with Timonen and no one will say it’s a preview of what could happen if the Flyers trade for Suter. Nope. Chara will be happy to take passes from Campbell the same way Campbell has been feeding them to Jason Garrison in Florida this year.

These are just the way the lines will start and the coaches have said that if guys want to change things up on the fly, they’ll be happy to accommodate.

Today on NBCSN: The 2012 NHL All-Star Game


It’s finally here. The NHL All-Star Game between Team Alfredsson and Team Chara drops the puck in Ottawa this afternoon (4:00 p.m. ET) and while it’s just an exhibition and the guys are out there to do their part to light up each other’s goalies, there are some curious juxtapositions in this game.

Team Alfredsson is made up of all the Swedish All-Stars. Daniel Alfredsson captaining the team with Henrik Lundqvist as the assistant managed to pick up Alex Edler, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Erik Karlsson.

This also means that Team Alfredsson has all the Vancouver Canucks in today’s game on their team. Comparing that with Team Chara captained by Zdeno Chara who also drafted his Bruins teammates Tyler Seguin and Tim Thomas to his side and you have a the whole Bruins-Canucks rivalry at hand. If this game were played like a playoff game, there’d be enough fire there to make sure no one tuned out.

As it is we’ll have to hope to see maybe the Sedins work some magic around Thomas or perhaps see Chara throw a bodycheck on Edler. With checking being practically forbidden, any hit would be enough to cause a stir. If all that isn’t enough drama for you, perhaps seeing Phil Kessel being coached by Claude Julien one more time is enough to get you excited.

As for the guys that will take the worst of it in the game, the goalies are ready to be shelled. Team Chara rolls with Thomas, Canadiens goalie Carey Price, and Red Wings starter Jimmy Howard. Team Alfredsson will try to hold things down with Lundqvist, Kings star Jonathan Quick, and Blues starter Brian Elliott.

For what it’s worth, Bovada Sports (formerly Bodog) has the over/under on goals scored in this game at 19.5 — Keep in mind that last year’s game ended up 11-10 win for Team Lidstrom over Team Staal and the 2009 All-Star Game was a 12-11 win for the East over the West.

Streaking: Team Chara starting goalie Tim Thomas has been the winning goalie in the last three All-Star Games. Should Team Chara get ahead while he’s in the game, Thomas will have a shot at making it four in a row. It’s a bit of a silly stat, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

See also: Breaking down Team Alfredsson and Team Chara’s lineups.

Breaking down Team Alfredsson vs. Team Chara

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There’s a solid chance you already voted for Team Alfredsson or Team Chara in these polls.

Still, if you’re mulling it over or just want to soak in waves and waves of information, then this post should be your tonic. Starting things off, NHL.com has this splendid “Tale of the Tape” for both teams. Check out the screen shot below.

source:  (click to enlarge)

A few takeaways from that:

  • Despite Chara’s presence, both teams average the same height and about the same weight.
  • Alf is the older captain but Chara’s team is almost two years their senior on average.
  • Team Chara boasts a roster of players who’ve been selected to the All-Star Game far more often.

Moving on, if you’re wondering how much each team would cost if they actually played a full season, the wonderful number crunchers at Cap Geek have those answers.

Team Alfredsson (via Cap Geek): $90.4 million overall cap hits; $86.8 million in salary this season.

Team Chara (via Cap Geek): $106.3 million overall cap hits; $107.5 million in salary this season.

So Team Chara is older, slightly bigger, far more expensive and more decorated. Does that make them better? Vote in the polls in this post to share your thoughts – and let us know in the comments if this post changed your mind at all.

Fantasy Draft videos: Joey the Junior Reporter hits on Heidi Androl (and more)


The 2012 Fantasy Draft was a good time for all – at least if you believe that Logan Couture isn’t too crestfallen. If you missed it, here are some of the best videos from the night via NHL.com.

Couture gets a car for being picked last:

Zdeno Chara makes Pavel Datsyuk the first overall pick while Daniel Alfredsson covers the homer and Swedish connection bases by nabbing Erik Karlsson:

Joey the Junior Reporter already has more game than I do, as he asks Heidi Androl if she “dates younger men” and offers to buy her a steak. (Takes down notes.)

(He might want to work on his posture a bit, though.)

Finally, Carey Price almost does a spit-take and then shuffles comically to the podium after being selected by Joffrey Lupul/Team Chara:

What was your favorite moment from the draft?