TORONTO/SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today announced the Canadian and PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team rosters for the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, to be played later this month at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.
The Canadian team comprises players born in Canada, while the PlanetUSA team is made of players born outside of Canada. AHL fans determined the starting lineups via on-line balloting at theahl.com, while a committee of AHL coaches selected the remainder of the rosters.
AHL President and CEO David Andrews made the announcement as part of a press event at the Air Canada Centre this morning. He was joined by Andy Bathgate, Hockey Hall of Fame AHL All-Star Classic Honoree; Steve Thomas, AHL All-Star Classic honorary captain; former AHL All-Stars Peter Laviolette and Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes and Kyle Wellwood of the Toronto Maple Leafs; and current Leafs and former Marlies head coach Paul Maurice.
Thirty-four of the 48 selections are heading to their first AHL All-Star Classic, including team captains Mike Keane of the Manitoba Moose (Canada) and Kip Miller of the Grand Rapids Griffins (PlanetUSA), and standout rookies including Brett Sterling of the Chicago Wolves, Ryan Callahan of the Hartford Wolf Pack, Dustin Boyd of the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, Drew Stafford of the Rochester Americans, Matt Lashoff of the Providence Bruins and Marek Schwarz of the Peoria Rivermen.
The head coach of the Canadian All-Star team will be Bruce Boudreau, by virtue of his leading the Hershey Bears to the 2006 Calder Cup championship. Boudreau, a Toronto native and former AHL MVP who also played for the junior Marlies and the NHL Maple Leafs, will be making his second appearance behind an AHL All-Star bench. The head coach of the PlanetUSA team will come from the AHL club with the best points percentage after play on Jan. 14.
The 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic will take place at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, home of the AHL’s Marlies. The event features the 2007 CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 28 (7:00 ET) and the 2007 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 29 (7:00 ET), and will be televised live on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and on a network of regional broadcast partners in the United States.
Of the 394 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 93 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes, Daniel Briere, Jonathan Cheechoo, Pavol Demitra, Rick DiPietro, Patrik Elias, Ray Emery, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Dwayne Roloson, Marc Savard, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Steve Sullivan and Kyle Wellwood.
| 2007 Canadian AHL All-Star Team|
x-Starters… Stats are through games of Jan. 8
Dustin Boyd, Omaha
Troy Brouwer, Norfolk
Mathieu Darche, Worcester
Jonathan Filewich, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
x-Alexandre Giroux, Hershey
x-Darren Haydar, Chicago
Mike Keane, Manitoba (“C”)
x-Zenon Konopka, Portland
Jason Krog, Chicago
Clarke MacArthur, Rochester
Brad Moran, Manitoba
Kris Newbury, Toronto
Martin St. Pierre, Norfolk
Head Coach: Bruce Boudreau, Hershey Bears
| 2007 PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Team|
x-Starters… Stats are through games of Jan. 8
Keith Aucoin, Albany
x-Brandon Bochenski, Norfolk
Ryan Callahan, Hartford
Tomas Fleischmann, Hershey
Josh Hennessy, Binghamton
Andrei Kostitsyn, Hamilton
Joel Lundqvist, Iowa
Kip Miller, Grand Rapids (“C”)
Patrick O’Sullivan, Manchester
Drew Stafford, Rochester
x-Brett Sterling, Chicago
Bill Thomas, San Antonio
x-Erik Westrum, Toronto
Head Coach: TBD
2007 Canadian AHL All-Star Team Starters
Jason LaBarbera, Goaltender (Manchester Monarchs): Named the American Hockey League’s MVP and top goaltender in 2003-04, Jason LaBarbera ranks second in the AHL this season in minutes played (1,935), second in wins (18), second in save percentage (.930), second in shutouts (four) and first in shots faced (1,077) and saves (1,002) in 33 appearances for Manchester. LaBarbera’s 18-13-1 mark has lifted the Monarchs into first place in the Atlantic Division, and sends the Burnaby, B.C., native to his second AHL All-Star Classic.
Daniel Girardi, Defense (Hartford Wolf Pack): An AHL All-Rookie Team selection last season, Daniel Girardi has been voted to the starting lineup for his first All-Star Classic after tallying 21 points in 38 games for Hartford so far this season. Girardi, a 22-year-old from Welland, Ont., who won a Memorial Cup with London (OHL) in 2005, ranks second among AHL defensemen with 20 assists in 2006-07 after recording eight goals and 31 assists in 66 contests for Hartford a year ago.
Lawrence Nycholat, Defense (Hershey Bears): Making his third consecutive AHL All-Star Classic appearance, Lawrence Nycholat is currently the league’s top-scoring defenseman with 28 points in 29 games for the Bears. Nycholat also sports a plus/minus rating of plus-14 and is serving as captain of the defending Calder Cup champions. The Calgary native has added two goals and four assists for six points in eight NHL games with the Washington Capitals this season, including his first career NHL goal vs. New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur on Dec. 29.
Alexandre Giroux, Forward (Hershey Bears): Perennial scoring threat Alexandre Giroux earns his first AHL All-Star Classic selection this season, having already amassed 27 goals and 41 points in 36 games for Hershey in 2006-07. A native of Quebec City, Giroux is coming off back-to-back 30-goal seasons in the AHL, and rattled off 11 goals during a nine-game stretch with the Bears from Nov. 11-29. The 25-year-old Giroux has also appeared in two NHL games with Washington this year.
Darren Haydar, Forward (Chicago Wolves): Darren Haydar’s historic first half has seen him find the scoresheet in every one of Chicago’s 39 games this season, the longest scoring streak in the 71-year history of the AHL. Averaging better than two points per game, Haydar has racked up 24 goals and 55 assists to go with his league-best plus-23 rating. The AHL’s outstanding rookie in 2002-03 and a two-time Calder Cup Playoff scoring champion, the Toronto native will be making his second AHL All-Star Classic appearance.
Zenon Konopka, Forward (Portland Pirates): Zenon Konopka is back atop the Portland Pirates’ team scoring page with 22 assists and 31 points in 35 games this season, to go along with a plus-16 rating that ranks tied for sixth in the AHL. The native of Niagara Falls, Ont., helped the Pirates to within one win of the Calder Cup Finals last year, posting a team-high 29 points in 19 postseason contests. Konopka, who turned 26 last week, made his NHL debut with Anaheim in 2005-06 and tallied seven points in 23 games for the Ducks.
2007 PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Team Starters
Jaroslav Halak, Goaltender (Hamilton Bulldogs): The American Hockey League’s leader in goals-against average (1.70), save percentage (.944) and shutouts (five), Jaroslav Halak is shining in his first full AHL season. The 21-year-old from Bratislava, Slovakia, earned the Rbk X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month award for November after posting a 0.82 GAA and .972 save percentage in eight outings. His eight career AHL shutouts make him the Bulldogs’ franchise leader in that category, doing so with only 33 appearances to his credit.
Richie Regehr, Defense (Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights): Raised in Saskatchewan but born in Indonesia, Richie Regehr has racked up 14 points and an impressive plus-16 rating in 22 AHL games for Omaha in 2006-07, his third professional campaign. The 23-year-old Regehr, who will be making his second consecutive AHL All-Star Classic appearance, has added two points in six NHL games with the Calgary Flames this season, including his first career NHL goal on Dec. 19 at Los Angeles.
Noah Welch, Defense (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins): Voted an All-Star starter for the second time in as many seasons since beginning his pro career, Noah Welch has registered five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 18 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. Welch, a Harvard product and native of Brighton, Mass., played 18 NHL games during a six-week stint with Pittsburgh earlier this year, tallying a goal and an assist in that time. The 24-year-old Welch was a second-round pick by the Penguins in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
Brandon Bochenski, Forward (Norfolk Admirals): Norfolk forward Brandon Bochenski ranks second in the AHL with 28 goals and third with 54 points in 29 games this season, his third out of the University of North Dakota. A native of Blaine, Minn., the 24-year-old winger had 31 points during a 14-game scoring streak from Nov. 12 to Dec. 27, and has three hat tricks this season, including a four-goal game on Nov. 25 vs. Philadelphia. Bochenski also has two goals in 10 NHL outings for the Chicago Blackhawks this year.
Brett Sterling, Forward (Chicago Wolves): Second only to teammate Darren Haydar on the AHL leaderboard with 56 points in 37 games, rookie Brett Sterling leads the entire AHL with 35 goals, including 15 on the power play and five game-winners. The 22-year-old native of Los Angeles won the Rbk Hockey/AHL Rookie of the Month award in both November and December, scoring 30 goals in 26 games during those two months. Sterling was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in both his junior and senior seasons at Colorado College.
Erik Westrum, Forward (Toronto Marlies): Erik Westrum of the hometown Marlies has been voted to the PlanetUSA starting lineup for the second year in a row. The Minneapolis native wound up a First Team AHL All-Star last season after totaling 98 points in 71 games, and has followed up with 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points in 38 games for Toronto in 2006-07. Westrum, who ranks second in the AHL with 149 shots on goal, is also tied for third with four shootout goals (in eight attempts).