Monday, January 24, 2011

NHL All-Star Game Conference Call Transcript with Nicklas Lidstrom, Patrick Kane, and Martin St. Louis

In preparation for this weekend's NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, the NHL had the leadership of Team Lidstrom answer questions from the media this afternoon about the upcoming events.

Here is the full transcript from the NHL...

Lidstrom, Kane, St. Louis Conference Call Transcript--Jan. 24, 2011

DAVID KEON: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm David Keon of the National Hockey League's Public Relations Department. And I'd like to welcome you to today's call. With us we have the three captains of Team Lidström. Detroit Red Wings Captain Nicklas Lidström will be in charge of the All Star team named after him. He will be assisted by Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This Friday, January 28th, the NHL All Star Player Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Nick will be assisted by Patrick and Marty as they select the members of Team Lidström for Honda Super Skills and NHL All Star game which will be held on Sunday afternoon. Thanks again to all three of them for taking the time to join us and answer your questions. Operator, we'll open it up now.

Q. This is for Nicklas Lidström. Do you like the change in the format for the All Star game? And do you think that the old way was kind of getting stale and a change was needed at this point?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: Yeah, I like the new format. I think I played when we had World versus North America or East versus West. I've been part of some other formats, and I like the change. I like something new and different. Having a draft like this, is something we've never done before. So I'm looking forward to the new change.

Q. What are your feelings on All Star games in general? Do you think fans still get interested in that, being that they get to see players all the time now whereas before you see a special case they didn't see guys from the other conference and things, but do you think that All Star games are still a popular thing?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: I think they appreciate having a chance to see world?class players, the best players in the league playing against each other. I don't think they're expecting physical game or intense game, but I think they enjoy seeing the skills come out in all the games I've been part of.

Q. Nick, I'm just wondering if you've spoken at all with Eric Staal and figured out maybe how this draft might go and who might be hanging around until the end?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: No, I haven't spoken to Eric about that. We were on a few conference calls together. But we've never spoke in private about how this is going to go down.

But we're going to have fun with it. It's a new format and something we'll try out. But I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun with it.

Q. Nick, Team Lidström strategy, are you going to pick friends? Foes? Are you going to lean on Patrick for some of the young guys, what he might know? Or are you going to lean on Marty for some of the eastern guys? How are you going to plan this out?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: We're going to have a talk amongst each other here and try to figure it out. I don't have a teammate that's going to be part of this All Star game but they do. I want to get their input, see what they want to do as well. Maybe there's some guys teammates they don't want on their team either. So we'll have to discuss that.

Q. You want to have fun with this. So, I mean, do you look down the list now and say: Boy, I'd really want to play with that guy and I'm going to pick him just because I've always wanted to play with him? Or do you pick guys because, you know what, they might help you in a skills competition, and it's all about you want to compete, too, you know?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: I think you have to look at it both ways. Some of the guys you played against and you'll have a chance to play with them. And other guys are good at specific skills in the skills competition. So that's another thing that we'll talk about amongst the three of us and trying to figure it out.

Q. When do you guys plan to talk? Is it going to be right before? Are you going to actually take this seriously?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: As soon as I have a chance to chat before we start doing it. I'm sure we'll have a chance to discuss what we want to do here.

Q. Nick, I'm just curious, when did you find out that it was called Team Lidström, and what do you think of that? What do you think of having a team named after yourself?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: Well, I'm honored. I'm honored to have my name put to the team. And I think I found out when I saw it in the papers. They didn't tell me beforehand or when they were asking me about the different captains. So I just found out in the paper about it.

Q. And does that carry ? does it now carry a little extra incentive for you to do well for your own team to do well?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: Of course you want to do well. I think we're all competitors, and we all want to win. We're going to have fun with it. But I think it's still the competitiveness is going to come out, too. So being the first time and everything, you want to win that game.

Q. Marty, I'm wondering what you're going to say to convince Nick and Patrick that Steven Stamkos should be at the top of the list of addressed eligible players here?

MARTIN ST. LOUIS: Well, obviously 38 goals so far. That guy, that's all I have to say. But, you know, he's pretty good, too, for the skills thing, you know? He's got some good moves, and I don't know, obviously it would be nice to be on the same team. But we'll see. I know Staalsy's picking first. So hopefully he goes with his teammate Cam Ward, and we can make an educated first pick.

Q. Nick and Patrick, I know you don't see a lot of Stamkos playing in the West, but from what you've seen, what do you think of him?

PATRICK KANE: I got a chance to play against him in Junior and he was just a rookie, and you could just really tell how good he was going to be even back then.

So obviously you see some of the highlights, you can't really believe he scores all those goals from the wing on power play. Marty does a great job setting him up and actually talking to Stamkos in the summer he was saying he was probably the highest guy in Tampa when Marty got resigned. He’s a fun player to watch. He's really explosive. Got a great shot and he's a hell of a player.

Q. And Nick?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: I think the first thing that comes to mind is the quick release. Got a great quick shot. Whether it's a slap shot or quick wrist shot. He looks to be a strong skater, too. Very quick and strong strides. So that's what I've seen just from watching him on TV and seeing some of the highlight goals he's been scoring.

Q. Marty, I know you didn't get a chance to hear your name called at the entry draft, and being an alternate captain is quite an honor here. But would you have preferred maybe to hear your name at the All Star draft?

MARTIN ST. LOUIS: Well, it's an honor obviously to be alongside Nick and Patrick, you know, but when this all came out I thought about for once that put the hat on or the jersey and take a picture, I thought it would be neat. But, you know, in all honesty it's a nice place to be just to be in an All Star game amongst all the other elite players in the league. But everybody finds their way and everybody has different stories.So it's just nice to be part of that weekend like everybody else.

Q. Pat, I'm curious news of the day is Sidney Crosby won't be able to play in the All Star game. I guess, what's your response to that? Does that change anything for you?

PATRICK KANE: I don't know. Some players go through injuries. And sometimes the rest is better than being part of the game. For me, personally, obviously coming off an injury, I'm just honored to be going to the All Star game. I wasn't really expecting to get my name called for the game, let alone be an assistant captain. So I'm just going to soak it all in, have a fun weekend and really try to enjoy it. But it doesn't really change anything for me. I'm just happy to be going.

Q. Marty, Brendan Shanahan, when he came up with this idea, the thought process was he really hoped players would be more competitive in the All Star game than maybe in years past. Do you think this format kind of creates that competitive edge that maybe that's lacked in games in the past?

MARTIN ST. LOUIS: You know, I think everybody, you know all the games, there's not that much intensity out there and stuff. But in reality all the elite players that are out there, the main thing is obviously entertaining but not get hurt, probably, is probably right behind it because all of us have a playoff push to make and try to go far in the playoffs. And you're not going to let one game like this hurt your team. But at the same token this format Nick said earlier you've got a chance to play with different formats, but with this one I think it's going to bring a little more competitiveness to it, because of how the teams are going to get formatted. So you'll probably see a little more intensity. But I don't think it's going to be to the point where guys are putting themselves in a vulnerable position or situation to get injured.

Q. Nick, one of the things you've got this job to be the captain of Team Lidström, and you said it before: There's nobody else from the Wings that's going to be in this game. I know it's a fun thing and whatnot. But that means you don't have anybody in your ear chirping about pick me, pick me, does it take the pressure off?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: Maybe. I talked to Pavel the other day. He's not going to be back until after the break. And he said: Would you have picked me if I was there? So a few questions like that were, guys that are having fun with it. But I still enjoy, even though I'm the only Red Wing going, I still enjoy going in there, and with the format that we have set up here now, I think we're all going to not take it too seriously and just have fun with it.

Q. And one more for you, you have Ken Holland there and I've read something that you've talked to him about this and he said he'd get back to you. Have you had a conversation with Kenny about this, and perhaps is this their future of you picking in future drafts, as a man in a suit?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: I guess we have to wait and see what happens here over the weekend. But the same thing with Kenny, too, we were joking about it. He said gotta go with defense first, defense wins games. But I don't think that's necessarily right for this one. This game coming up. But I've been having fun with it with some of the teammates and some of the guys around the team.

Q. Nick, I'm just curious. There's a lot of people wondering out on the West Coast about the possibility of splitting up the Sedins. Have you any interest in doing that just to see what would happen for yourself?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: We all know they're great together. They really have a knack of finding each other out there on the ice when they're playing together. So it might be something to look at, seeing how they would do when they're facing each other.I'm sure that will be discussed before we have to sit down and do the draft, too. But that is a possibility.

Q. Obviously you're not going to be standing there waiting to hear your name called because you're not going to be drafted. But do you think for the final four or five guys, when it gets to that point that they'll be feeling nervous they don't want to be the last one picked? Obviously you won't have to wait to hear if you're picked but do you think the final four, five guys when it gets down to the end they'll be nervous having to go last?

PATRICK KANE: I'm definitely sure you don't want to go last, kind of a tough situation. But I've been talking to some of my teammates about it. I think me and Sharpy, Patrick Sharp, joking about it a lot, of maybe someone being the last pick. It's just, I don't know, I think it's kind of a tough situation, but at the same time there's 600 other NHL players that aren't in the All Star game that you're still playing. So I guess you gotta take the positives from a bad situation.

Q. Any of the three, following up on Craig's question about Sidney Crosby, how much of a hit do you think the game is going to take with him not being there and being that he's probably the most recognizable face of the league and he's not going to be at the marquee event?

MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I guess it's my turn to speak. Obviously everything he's done in the league so far ? and he's lived up to that times two for the game, not just on the ice but off the ice, too. And he's having another great year. Tough situation that he can't be there. Disappointing. But I mean is the league going to take a hit? I don't know. There's a lot of other great players in this league having great years. In terms of marketing?wise, obviously he's the face of the NHL. And it's tough for him not being there. But obviously we wish him a speedy recovery. But hopefully other guys will step up and try and fill his shoes. It's a tough thing to do. But hopefully collectively we can do that.

Q. There's already new rules this year about head shots and things like that. With an injury like this to Sid, do you think that will reopen the argument that goes even further as far as what things might not be allowed anymore?

MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I think it's something that they mark that every year and try to improve. I think we made a huge step. There's still gray areas. But a lot less than before. And heavy head shots are reviewed for face games, physical. Guys are getting stronger. And it's just nice to see that they're making steps to try and keep the guys healthy.

Q. Question for Pat. You touched on a little bit about drafting your teammates. You're going to have the most now that Crosby's out. Do you care if you play against anybody, or do you want to play with all three of them? I know you've already faced Keith and Toews in the Olympics, but what's your thoughts about playing with and against those guys?

PATRICK KANE: I don't know. It's a fun weekend overall. So I think no matter if I play against them or with them, you know, we're just going to have fun with it. No, I think it will be pretty fun to match up against Toews. Kind of been together our whole careers and played together a lot. So it would be fun to be away from him for a bit. But we'll see what happens. Maybe Nick and Marty want to play with him. So we'll see what the captains think. Either way, I'm just happy to be going. Hopefully we'll play against a few of them. And I think obviously Joel Quenneville and Havi are going, too. So maybe fun to play against them.

Q. Nick, is there any chance you would try and get to Cam Ward before Eric Staal did?

NICKLAS LIDSTRÖM: That's a good question. We'll see. I know he wants Cam on his team being in front of the home crowd and everything. So might be a good strategy to take him and maybe take the crowd out of it and get the crowd on our side a little bit. But that's another thing that we'll have fun with and talk amongst ourselves there what we're going to do. If you want to do something like that, we'll have to wait and see.

More Later...

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