Chris Osgood will have to cancel his trip to Disneyland.
Henrik Sedin will have to spend three days apart from his twin brother Daniel. And Shawn Horcoff may have finally proven to Edmonton hockey fans that he’s the real deal.
The NHL announced the rest of the Western Conference all-star team Thursday and the real feel-good story was Osgood, the backup goalie for the Detroit Red Wings. His league-leading numbers were impossible to ignore so the 35-year-old native of Peace River, Alta., will make his first all-star game appearance since 1996 when the game’s best face off in Atlanta on Jan. 27 (6 p.m. ET).
“At this stage in my career, yeah, it’s kind of cool for me,” Osgood told reporters in Detroit. “It’s a fun thing for me to do. Coming into this year I would never have expected I was going to be there.”
Henrik Sedin and Horcoff are among seven first-time all-stars as chosen by the league’s hockey operations department in consultation with the NHL’s 30 GMs. The Eastern Conference additions will be announced Friday.
The starting lineups, as voted by the fans, were announced Tuesday.
“You always want to try and become the best player you can and when something like this happens and you’re recognized amongst the best players in the league, it’s just a huge honour,” Horcoff told The Canadian Press from Edmonton. “I had other plans for the all-star break (Florida with the family), but I’ll be happy to cancel them.
“This is going to be exciting for me and my family.”
Osgood, still considered the backup to Dominik Hasek in Detroit, carried an NHL-best 1.68 goals-against average and second-best .932 save percentage into Thursday night’s game against Minnesota. His 19-2-1 record is also sparkling.
He originally was planning a family trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., during the all-star break but instead he’s the fourth Red Wing headed to Atlanta after defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom and forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were voted on by fans.
“It didn’t matter to me either way,” Osgood said of cancelling the Disneyland trip. “I was going to have fun regardless.”
Joining Osgood in goal for the West will be former Red Wings teammate Manny Legace of the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks standout Evgeni Nabokov – who has started every game for his team this season and was arguably the team’s MVP in the first half of the season.
Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks was voted the starting goalie for the West on Wednesday but the superstar netminder pulled out of the all-star game, needing to spend time with his pregnant wife during the break.
Vancouver’s all-star representative will be Henrik Sedin, whose 42 points (7-35) before Thursday’s game at San Jose were two better than twin brother Daniel.
“It’s a great honour and I think it’s gonna be fun,” Henrik said after the pre-game skate in San Jose. “It’s too bad there won’t be room for both of us, but Danny and his wife are expecting a baby so it’s for the best.”
Horcoff is the Oilers’ man in Atlanta, leading the club in scoring with 39 points (18-21) before Thursday’s game against Phoenix. Horcoff hasn’t always felt the love among Oilers fans so perhaps his all-star inclusion and career season will change opinions in Oil country.
“I’ve never really concerned myself with stuff like that,” Horcoff said. “I know there’s many fans out there that are happy with the effort I put in every night. …
“I think the fans this year really warmed up to me and have come to enjoy what I do for the team on the ice.”
Sedin and Horcoff were joined up front by Jason Arnott of the Nashville Predators, Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks, Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche and of course, all-star veteran Joe Thornton of the Sharks.
For the 22-year-old Getzlaf, who leads the Ducks with 48 points (17-31), it’s also a first-time honour.
“It was something that I looked forward to and hoped I would be a part of this year,” Getzlaf said.
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla was already on the team as voted by the fans, along with Datsyuk and Zetterberg.
On defence, joining starters Lidstrom and Dion Phaneuf of the Flames will be Ed Jovanovski of the Phoenix Coyotes, Chris Pronger of the Ducks, Sergei Zubov of the Dallas Stars and a surprise choice, Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks. The 24-year-old from Winnipeg has 17 points (5-12) and a plus-14 rating in 43 games this season while leading the Hawks in ice time with 24:31 a game.
With all 15 Western Conference teams represented on the 21-player roster, a few deserving players didn’t make the cut.
Among those not chosen despite terrific seasons were forwards Kristian Huselius (47 points) of the Flames, Mike Ribeiro (46 points) and Brenden Morrow (42 points) of the Stars, Daniel Sedin (40 points) of the Canucks and Corey Perry (38 points) of the Ducks as well as defenceman Brian Rafalski (36 points and plus-16 rating) of the Wings and goalie Pascal Leclaire of the Blue Jackets, he of the league-leading seven shutouts.
Like the Sedins, Getzlaf feels funny not being accompanied by Perry, his linemate and friend on Anaheim’s top line.
“It does feel like that a little bit,” Getzlaf said. “You have to tip your cap to the rest of the league in the skill that we have. There’s a few guys that got left off the list that probably could have been there.
“It’s unfortunate I don’t get to share that with Corey. I know he’s pretty excited for me.”
The head coach of the Western Conference all-stars is Detroit’s Mike Babcock and his assistant Sharks head coach Ron Wilson.
Osgood jokingly wondered if his “in” with the coach might get him the start.
“Babs is the coach and I don’t want to be sitting there getting cold for a long time,” said Osgood. “It would be great if I could go in the first period and kind of sneak out of there with maybe three or four against.”
Western Conference All-Stars Roster
NEW YORK – The full Western Conference roster for the Jan. 27 all-star game in Atlanta (x-starter; Note Roberto Luongo was voted to start in goal but will not play):
Manny Legace, St. Louis; Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose; Chris Osgood, Detroit.
Ed Jovanovski, Phoenix; Duncan Keith, Chicago; x-Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit; x-Dion Phaneuf, Calgary; Chris Pronger, Anaheim; Sergei Zubov, Dallas.
Jason Arnott, Nashville; x-Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit; Marian Gaborik, Minnesota; Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim; Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton; x-Jarome Iginla, Calgary; Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles; Rick Nash, Columbus; Henrik Sedin, Vancouver; Paul Stastny, Colorado; Joe Thornton, San Jose; x-Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit.