Senators quartet voted into NHL all-star game
The Ottawa Senators will be well represented at the NHL All-Star Game in their own arena, with four players voted in by fans, the league announced Thursday.
Forwards Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek and defenceman Erik Karlsson were the Ottawa players who came out ahead in fan balloting for the Jan. 29 game at Scotiabank Place.
Rounding out the six players voted in are Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Dion Phaneuf and Boston Bruins netminder Tim Thomas.
Senators captain Alfredsson, in his 16th season with the franchise, will finally play an all-star game in his own rink. He has 12 goals and 16 assists in 34 games, and led all forwards with over 897,000 votes.
"It's great, obviously, to see all four of us getting in," Alfredsson said. "You look at Jason, Erik, and Milan, too, they've had great starts to the season. If we would have had to choose one player, it would have been tough because they've all played great to start the season. To be able to all get in when it is in Ottawa, it's going to be a special occasion for all of us and something we'll cherish forever, I'm sure."
Just 21 years old, Erik Karlsson will make his second all-star appearance in as many NHL seasons. The Swede has 37 points in 40 games for Ottawa, the highest point total of any NHL defenceman.
Karlsson received more votes than any other player — just under 940,000.
Spezza has 14 goals and 26 assists in 40 games, which helped him finish second in voting among forwards.
Michalek, with 19 goals in 35 games, overtook Toronto forward Phil Kessel in the voting to claim the final forward spot.
"I didn't think I had a shot," Michalek said. "I was really surprised when I looked up this morning and my name was there. The fans did a great job."
Phaneuf has six goals and 20 assists in 35 games for the Leafs. He finished ahead of another Ottawa player, Sergei Gonchar.
Boston's Thomas will make a return appearance to the game after being a clear vote winner among fans for his position. Thomas is the only netminder to ever win three consecutive all-star games.
The NHL All-Star game and skills competition will be broadcast on CBC Sports and streamed at cbcsports.ca
with files from Associated Press