Last night saw only the second NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft since the change from the East vs. West format. We loved it last year, when all the players sat in front of the captains and were drafted in the same room. Hilarity ensued when Alex Ovechkin started tweeting photos of Phil Kessel all on his lonesome at the end...
This year, the players were all backstage and called out one by one by the two captains, Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators and Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins. They were helped by their assistants, Henrik Lundqvist and Joffrey Lupul, as chosen by the NHL... as well as by the ladies of CBC Live as the hottest All-Stars.
At first, late last year, there was a fan ballot. The six players with the most votes were:
Erik Karlsson - Ottawa Senators (with almost 1,000,000 votes)
Daniel Alfredsson - Ottawa Senators
Jason Spezza - Ottawa Senators
Milan Michalek - Ottawa Senators
Dion Phaneuf - Toronto Maple Leafs
Tim Thomas - Boston Bruins
The Ottawa Sens fans really rallied behind their team, getting much more in to the voting than fans of any other team. This is probably because they wanted to see their hometown heroes playing in Ottawa... it's surprising then that a Maple Leaf managed to make it in to the top six. Last night, the boos and chants of "Leafs suck!" did drown out poor old Joffrey on occasion.
Then, the NHL named the rest of the All-Stars, and 12 rookie All-Stars.
Before the draft, the All-Star players voted for who they wanted to be the two captains. After choosing Sens captain Alfredsson and the man who lifted the Stanley Cup last year, Chara, it was down to business last night...
Chara won the puck toss and chose Pavel Datsyuk first.
Alfredsson chose his team-mate Erik Karlsson first.
Logan Couture was the last pick, and won a car for it. He didn't look too impressed.
Phil Kessel, the last pick last year, went in the 8th round last night. He was picked by Chara's assistant, team-mate Joffrey Lupul.
The Sedin twins (Daniel and Henrik - Vancouver) are together on Alfredsson's team - last year they were separated and played against each other for the first time in their lives.
Alfredsson, of Gothenburg in Sweden, picked all four remaining Swedish players. There are six in total, including himself and his assistant captain Henrik Lundqvist. When deliberating with each other, they spoke in English. Speaking in Swedish would have been much cooler.
Chara, from Slovakia, picked his two fellow Slovaks at the draft.
Each captain picked all of their respective team-mates.
Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers was a late call up to the All-Star team, and was widely regarded as a candidate for last pick... he tweeted this before the draft:
After standing next to the veritable giant Zdeno Chara, Joffrey Lupul tweeted:
I shoulda wore lifts in my shoes...-- Joffrey Lupul (@JLupul) January 27, 2012