NHL All-Star Game: North America
| North America |
Talk about depth? The hardest job for head coach Ken Hitchcock will be finding enough ice time for everyone... not an easy task when you've got mega-stars like Eric Lindros, Wayne Gretzky and John LeClair coming off the bench. Last year's Conn Smythe winner and fan favorite Steve Yzerman gets the starting nod at center, and will be between the speedy Paul Kariya and leading North American vote-getter Brendan Shanahan.
Anchoring the blue line will be five-time Norris trophy winner Ray Bourque and the always-dangerous Al MacInnis. Aside from their defensive prowess, both Bourque and MacInnis add unparalleled offensive skills from the point. Bourque has moved into third place on the all-time assists list behind only Gretzky and Paul Coffey, while MacInnis supplies the game's most ferocious slapshot and continues to lead all NHL defensemen in goals heading into the mid-season break. Starting in net and making his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance will be New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, the winner of last year's game.
The North American squad will be littered with familiar names chock-full of All-Star experience. Gretzky will be playing in his 18th All-Star Game, while Bourque suits up for his 17th. To put that into perspective, the player with the most experience from the World squad is Pittsburgh right wing Jaromir Jagr, who will be making his sixth All-Star Game appearance. Jagr was eight years old in 1980, when Gretzky played in his first All-Star Game.