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Staal, Lundqvist are All-Star teammates

Rangers duo both drafted by Team Staal; Stepan on Team Lidstrom

Friday, 01.28.2011 / 10:08 PM / News
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Marc Staal
Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, the 13th overall pick at the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, jokes with host Ryan Duthie about being selected to play for an All-Star team captained by his older brother.
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By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com

After much debate as to whether or not Eric Staal -- captain of Team Staal -- would pick his brother, Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, in the Fantasy Player Draft prior to the 2011 NHL All Star Game, the elder brother decided to add a bit more suspense to the proceedings on Friday night in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In the fifth round of the draft, Staal, who is also captain of the Carolina Hurricanes, leaned into a microphone and said, “Team Staal selects … from the New York Rangers … Henrik Lundqvist

As Lundqvist approached the stage to receive his Team Staal jersey and sit with his new teammates, Marc Staal mugged to the cameras, jokingly trying to show how angry and disappointed he was that his brother had failed to select him, not to mention had drawn out the pick of Lundqvist to lead most observers into thinking that brother was indeed selecting brother.

“I expected to be taken in the first round,” said a dead-pan Marc Staal, whose brother actually chose Hurricanes goalie -- and teammate -- Cam Ward with the first overall pick. “I am not happy about this.”

When the sixth round of the draft commenced, Eric Staal quickly made amends by selecting his younger brother Marc. Both siblings noted that this would be the first time they had ever played on the same team.

“Even as a kid growing up, playing on the rink out back, it was always Eric and (Penguins forward) Jordan against me and my younger brother,” Marc Staal said last week.

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist pulls on his new Team Staal jersey after being picked by Eric Staal at the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft on Friday night. Lundqvist is one of three goalies, along with Cam Ward and Carey Price, on Team Staal's roster.
With one smart decision, Eric Staal made sure that there would be family harmony in Raleigh this weekend. With their parents and Jordan all in attendance for All-Star Weekend, the eldest of the Staal boys clearly made a wise move in making sure that Marc would be on his team.

And Marc Staal will also remain a teammate of Lundqvist this weekend, another perk for the first-time All-Star. However, the Rangers duo will not have fellow Blueshirts teammate Derek Stepan on their side during Saturday’s SuperSkills competition. Stepan’s rookie grouping, captained by Edmonton’s Taylor Hall, will represent Team Lidstrom during the skills competition.

“I am not sure what skill I am going to choose,” Stepan said last week. “I would have said the shootout, but I am like oh-for-four this season in the shootout so I may need to find myself another skill.”

Lundqvist and Ward will be joined between the pipes for Team Staal by Montreal Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price. Staal will be joined on defense by Zdeno Chara of the Bruins, Mike Green of the Capitals, Dan Boyle of the Sharks, Kris Letang of the Penguins, and Erik Karlsson of the Senators.

Team Staal will be coached by Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup-winning head coach Joel Quenneville, while Team Lidstrom will be led by Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Vancouver’s Alain Vignault.

The SuperSkills Competition will take place at the RBC Center in Raleigh on Saturday night beginning at 7 p.m. The All Star game itself will be played Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. The events will be televised live on Versus.

“It’s an honor to be selected to play in the All-Star game, and it’s a fun time,” said Lundqvist, who is making his second appearance in the NHL All Star Game. “It’s a weekend I’m looking forward to.”