Blackhawks contingent has much to celebrate

Staff WriterJanuary 31, 2011 

For Chicago Blackhawks teammates Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith, the plane ride home from the NHL All-Star Game figured to feature a debate over bragging rights.

Kane, Toews and Keith were members of Team Lidstrom, which recorded a 12-11 win over Team Staal on Sunday, but Sharp picked up MVP honors with a goal and two assists for Team Staal in the loss.

Throw in Saturday's accuracy-shooting mix-up, when Toews beat Sharp after requesting a do-over, and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and assistant coach Mike Haviland taking the loss as the coaches of Team Staal, and it's hard to figure who ended up on top among the Chicago contingent.

"It's a good question," Sharp said. "This will be a topic of conversation, definitely. I'll bring it up a few times. Jonathan and I have some unfinished business with the shooting targets, the accuracy shooting. So we'll have to do some back in Chicago, but all in all it was a great weekend for the Blackhawks, the coaching staff. We all had a lot of fun and represented the team well."

(At least this time Kane should be on the plane with them; he missed his flight to Raleigh on Friday.)

Sharp picked up a Honda Crosstour EX-L along with a crystal trophy. Other MVP candidates included Team Lidstrom captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who was plus-7, his defensive partner Shea Weber, who was plus-6 with four assists, and goalie Tim Thomas, who picked up the win for the third straight All-Star Game.

Record comeback: Team Lidstrom's comeback from an early 4-0 deficit was the largest in All-Star history, but Team Staal contributed when the lead became motivation to set up hometown favorites Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner for goals.

"We got complacent, I'm not going to lie to you," Staal said. "You're right. I'll take the brunt of it. Leave a little bit for Quenneville, too."

Staal ended up with two goals, the fifth and sixth of his All-Star career, but Skinner failed to score on four shots.

"I know one shift, I think we set Skinner up five times," Team Staal defenseman Dan Boyle said.

Staal's second goal, the last of the game, made it among the highest-scoring in All-Star history, with 21 total goals. Only three games - Colorado (2001), Montreal (2009) and Montreal (1993) - saw more scoring.

Stay a while: With the Boston Bruins scheduled to visit the Hurricanes on Tuesday to resume the regular season, Thomas and teammate Zdeno Chara are sticking around town until the rest of the Bruins arrive tonight.

Tyler Seguin, who was one of the rookies invited to participate in the skills competition, returned to Boston on Sunday and will practice with the Bruins there today before returning to Raleigh.

Staff writer Javier Serna contributed to this report.

luke.decock@newsobserver.com, twitter.com/LukeDeCock or 919-829-8947

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