As a youngster in Thunder Bay, Marc Staal played with younger brother Jared in two-on-twos against older siblings Eric and Jordan. Tuesday, hours after he was named to his first NHL All-Star team, Marc declared that he'd still rather play against Eric, of the Carolina Hurricanes, who is expected to pick teammates in his capacity as captain of one of the teams. "I don't think I could handle being on his team," he said. "He's too mouthy."
The Rangers' defenseman, 23, is anything but mouthy, and has quietly developed into a top shutdown defenseman, playing more than 25 minutes a game.
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"He's played against some pretty good forwards on opposing teams, I think the league has recognized that now," coach John Tortorella said.
Henrik Lundqvist was selected as one of the six goaltenders for the game in Raleigh on Jan. 30. It will be Lundqvist's second All-Star appearance.
Rookie Derek Stepan, who has 12 goals and 12 assists, was selected with 11 other freshmen for the All-Star skills competition. "It's an honor. Things just keep snowballing for me," said Stepan, who made the team in training camp after leaving the University of Wisconsin and winning a gold medal for Team USA in the World Junior Championships. "It's definitely going to boost my confidence. But you have to make sure you keep a level head."
Ryan Callahan, whose left hand was broken Dec. 15, was to be re-examined and he hoped to be cleared to skate with a stick . . . Erik Christensen (knee) was walking stiffly with a brace and is expected to be out another two to four weeks. "I was disappointed because I feel like I'm fighting for ice time every game," he said. "Now my attitude is that I'm going to come back in better shape, stronger."