Gomez Earns Spot in NHL All-Star Game
|Rangers scoring leader Scott Gomez will be returning to the All-Star Game for the first time since his rookie season.
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Rangers center Scott Gomez, the team's leading scorer through its first 44 games, will represent the Blueshirts at the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta after being named to the Eastern Conference roster on Friday afternoon.
Gomez was one of 15 players added to the roster for the Sunday, Jan. 27, game at Philips Arena. The game will air at 6 p.m. ET on Versus in the U.S. and CBC in Canada.
This will be Gomez's second All-Star game in his eight-season NHL career. He previously represented New Jersey as a rookie at the 2000 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto. During that year, the game was split into a North American Stars vs. World Stars format. Gomez played for the North American Stars team that fell 9-4 in a game featuring a hat trick by former Ranger Pavel Bure.
Gomez leads the Blueshirts in both points (40) and assists (30). Earlier this season, he enjoyed a career-high 13-game points streak from Dec. 6, 2007, through Jan. 2, 2008.
The All-Star host Atlanta Thrashers gained two All-Stars on Friday, left wing Ilya Kovalchuk and right wing Marian Hossa joined Gomez on the Eastern Conference roster.
Two members of the conference-leading Ottawa Senators also made the team on Friday. The addition of left wing Dany Heatley and center Jason Spezza gives Ottawa three players on the Eastern roster – more than any other team. Should all three play on the same line, they would be the first forward line from the same club to skate in an All-Star Game since Mario Lemieux, current Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr and former Ranger Kevin Stevens represented the Prince of Wales Conference in 1992 as members of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Rounding out Friday's additions are Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, whose 32 goals rank second in the NHL to fellow Russian Kovalchuk, New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro and Philadelphia Flyers center Mike Richards, goaltender Tomas Vokoun of the Florida Panthers; defensemen Brian Campbell of the Buffalo Sabres, Sergei Gonchar of the Penguins, Tomas Kaberle of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Kimmo Timonen of the Philadelphia Flyers, and forwards Martin St. Louis of the Lightning and Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Players added on Friday join Alfredsson and the other five players voted by fans to the starting lineup, forwards Sidney Crosby of the Penguins and Vincent Lecavalier of the Lightning, defensemen Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens and Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and goaltender Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils.
The head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars will be the Senators' John Paddock, making his first career All-Star Game coaching appearance.
Roster additions were selected by the NHL's Hockey Operations Department, after consultation with League General Managers.