2010 PlanetUSA AHL All-Stars announced

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team roster for the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic, to be played next month at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine.

The team comprises 24 players – 13 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders – born outside of Canada; the Canadian team was announced on Tuesday. 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. All 29 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star.

Among the members of the PlanetUSA team are 18 first-time AHL All-Stars, including 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs MVP Michal Neuvirth of the Hershey Bears and 2009 AHL rookie of the year Nathan Gerbe of the host Portland Pirates, who missed last year’s event due to injury. The PlanetUSA club features five former first-round NHL draft picks: Lars Eller of the Peoria Rivermen, Jack Skille of the Rockford IceHogs, John Carlson of the Hershey Bears, Bobby Sanguinetti of the Hartford Wolf Pack and Ivan Vishnevskiy of the Texas Stars. Rochester’s Graham Mink will make his All-Star debut and serve as PlanetUSA captain.

Manchester Monarchs head coach Mark Morris and assistant Scott Pellerin will lead the PlanetUSA team because the Monarchs owned the AHL’s second-best points percentage (behind the defending champion Hershey Bears) at the end of play on Dec. 27.

The 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic will feature the top talent in the American Hockey League competing in the 2010 AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Monday, January 18 (8:00 p.m. ET) and the 2010 AHL All-Star Game on Tuesday, January 19 (6:00 p.m. ET), and will be televised live nationally in the United States and Canada. Of the 492 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 94 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes, Dan Boyle, Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell, Zdeno Chara, Rick DiPietro, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Zach Parise, Bobby Ryan, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Tomas Vokoun.

Tickets for the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic – which include admission to both the Skills Competition and the AHL All-Star Game as well as an official commemorative All-Star Classic event program – are $49 (rows 1-12 in all sections) and $42 (rows 13-24 in all sections). To purchase tickets call (207) 775-3458, visit the Cumberland County Civic Center Box Office or go on-line at portlandpirates.com.

   2010 PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Team  

Goaltenders Defensemen Forwards
Anton Khudobin, Houston John Carlson, Hershey
x-Keith Aucoin, Hershey
x-Michal Neuvirth, Hershey Jonas Junland, Peoria
x-Brandon Bochenski, Norfolk
Alexander Salak, Rochester Bobby Sanguinetti, Hartford Mark Cullen, Rockford
  Sean Sullivan, San Antonio Lars Eller, Peoria
  x-Ivan Vishnevskiy, Texas Dan Fritsche, Syracuse
  Viatcheslav Voynov, Manchester x-Nathan Gerbe, Portland
  x-Mike Weber, Portland Christian Hanson, Toronto
  Andy Wozniewski, Providence Mikko Lehtonen, Providence
    Graham Mink, Rochester (“C”)
    Patrick Rissmiller, Grand Rapids
    Sergei Shirokov, Manitoba
    Jack Skille, Rockford
x-starters   Brett Sterling, Chicago

Head Coach: Mark Morris, Manchester Monarchs
Assistant Coach: Scott Pellerin, Manchester Monarchs
Athletic Trainer: Robert Frost, Portland Pirates
Equipment Manager: Henning Aagaard-Svendsen, Portland Pirates

2010 PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Team Starters

Michal Neuvirth, Goaltender (Hershey Bears):
Second-year pro Michal Neuvirth ranks among the AHL’s top five goaltenders in both goals-against average (1.99) and save percentage (.929) while going 10-5-0 for Hershey this season. The 21-year-old captured AHL playoff MVP honors last spring as a rookie, leading the Bears to their record 10th Calder Cup with a 16-6 playoff mark and four shutouts. A native of Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic, Neuvirth was drafted in the second round by Washington in 2006 and is 5-3-0 in 10 career NHL appearances with the Capitals.

Ivan Vishnevskiy, Defense (Texas Stars):
Selected in the first round (27th overall) of the 2006 NHL draft, Ivan Vishnevskiy scored goals in each of the Texas Stars franchise’s first two games this season and has gone on to post 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 35 outings thus far. The 21-year-old native of Barnaul, Russia, has factored in the scoring of 11 of the Stars’ 25 power-play goals this year and is also 2-for-3 in shootout attempts. Vishnevskiy has been recalled by Dallas twice already this season and shows two assists in five career NHL games.

Mike Weber, Defense (Portland Pirates):
Tied for third in the AHL with a plus-16 rating, Mike Weber has played all 34 games for Portland this season and has contributed 10 assists, including a helper in four straight contests from Dec. 2-6. The third-year pro from Pittsburgh, Pa., is already just four points shy of the career-high 14 he registered in 59 games as an AHL rookie during the 2007-08 season. Weber, 22, was drafted in the second round by Buffalo in 2006 and has registered three assists in 23 career contests with the Sabres.

Keith Aucoin, Forward (Hershey Bears):
Keith Aucoin is making his fifth consecutive AHL All-Star appearance, but has been voted into the starting lineup by the fans for the first time. One of the top offensive players in the AHL during the 2000’s, Aucoin is tied for first in the AHL in goals (16) and ranks second in points (36) in 27 games for Hershey this season, and he also shows a goal and four assists in five NHL tilts with Washington. Aucoin has totaled 564 career AHL points and has finished in the top 10 in scoring four times in the last seven seasons.

Brandon Bochenski, Forward (Norfolk Admirals):
Brandon Bochenski has led Norfolk’s offense with nearly a point-per-game pace, putting up 16 goals (tied for the AHL lead) and 16 assists in 34 outings. The sixth-year pro has registered three or more points on four occasions and put together a six-game scoring streak from Dec. 5-19. Bochenski was previously an AHL All-Star as a rookie in 2005, and was voted to the starting lineup in 2007 but missed the event due to injury. Bochenski has 268 points in 248 career AHL games, along with 55 points in 128 NHL matches.

Nathan Gerbe, Forward (Portland Pirates):
The AHL’s rookie of the year in 2008-09, Nathan Gerbe has picked up where he left off with 20 points (5-15-20) in 23 games for Portland this season. A native of Oxford, Mich., Gerbe was voted a starter for last year’s All-Star Classic but was injured and missed the event. The 22-year-old was drafted by Buffalo in 2005 and has appeared in two games for the Sabres this year, scoring his first career NHL goal vs. Washington on Dec. 9. Gerbe won an NCAA title at Boston College in 2008 and led the nation in scoring with 68 points.