Penguins Notebook: Fleury, Letang to be opponents in All-Star Game
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was drafted by Team Lidstrom for this weekend's All-Star Game.
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RALEIGH, N.C. -- For a couple of days, Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Kris Letang relaxed on a Florida beach, getting a little color on their faces and thinking ahead to the All-Star Game.
Now, for a weekend anyway, they will be opponents.
During a fantasy league-style draft Friday to pick teams for the NHL All-Star Game, they were split up.
"I think it's a great. It's important to have bragging rights when you come back to Pittsburgh," Fleury said.
"It's going to be good," Letang added. "We'll see if I'm going to face him in the [SuperSkills]."
Fleury was selected in the ninth round, 18th overall, by Team Lidstrom, headed by captain Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit. He was the fourth of the six goaltenders picked at the Raleigh Convention Center.
Letang was taken by Team Staal, led by captain Eric Staal of host Carolina, with the 23rd selection.
The NHL usually pits Eastern Conference All-Stars against those from the Western Conference, but it is going with a different approach this year. Team Staal and Team Lidstrom will square off tonight in the SuperSkills competition and Sunday in the All-Star Game.
Fleury and Letang professed to being a little overwhelmed by the spotlight, the anticipation of seeing which players went to which teams and the novelty of the event. Letang, in fact, stumbled up the stairs when Staal called his name.
"I was a little nervous," Letang said. "I didn't want to do anything stupid, but I ended up slipping a little. I was still on my feet, so it was good."
The draft included many interesting subplots.
In 2004, winger Alex Ovechkin was the top pick by Washington in the entry draft in this city, but Friday he fell to third overall.
"He didn't cry or anything," said Fleury, who sat next to Ovechkin.
Staal took a teammate, goaltender Cam Ward, with the first pick, and Lidstrom took NHL leading goal- and point-scorer Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay second overall.
Staal took Vancouver's Daniel Sedin fifth overall, and Lidstrom immediately took the Canucks' Henrik Sedin, making this All-Star Game the first time the skilled twins have played opposite each other.
The All-Star coaches were assigned to the teams of each captain earlier in the day via a coin flip.
Coach Joel Quenneville and his assistant Mike Haviland of Stanley Cup champion Chicago were assigned to coach Team Staal.
Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette and Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault will be behind the bench for Team Lidstrom because their teams led their respective conferences at the midpoint of the season.
Eric and Marc Staal aren't the only members of the Thunder Bay, Ontario, clan here. Penguins center Jordan Staal and parents Henry and Linda Staal have made it something of a family vacation.
Jordan Staal might be a perennial All-Star candidate as his career advances, but he missed the first 39 games this season after foot and hand injuries.
Marc Staal, a defenseman with the Rangers, was selected by his brother in the seventh round.