Defenseman Justin Faulk will again represent the Carolina Hurricanes at the NHL All-Star Weekend, proud to be named but mindful there were other deserving candidates among his teammates.
The 2017 All-Star selections were announced Tuesday by the NHL and Faulk will be making his fourth All-Star appearance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 28-29. Faulk played in the All-Star games in 2015 and 2016 after making his first appearance, in 2012, in the rookie competition.
“Any time you have the opportunity, it’s nice,” Faulk said Tuesday. “I definitely wasn’t planning on it this year, but it’s a fun event and a pretty big thing this year with (the NHL) celebrating the 100th year and the top 100 players. Should be a fun weekend.”
Faulk, 24, leads the Canes defenseman in goals (7) and is tied with Jaccob Slavin with 16 points in 33 games. Faulk missed four games with a lower-body injury but returned to the lineup last week against the St. Louis Blues.
Slavin is among the Canes’ leaders in plus/minus at plus-11 and has had a solid season. Goaltender Cam Ward has a career low 2.28 goals-against average and forward Jeff Skinner has a team-high 14 goals.
The All-Star format, changed last year, has a three-on-three tournament among teams from each division. Faulk will be on the Metropolitan Division team coached by Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella.
“It’s fun, I think the fans enjoyed the three-on-three more than they did the old, sloppy five-on-five as it used to be,” Faulk said, smiling.
Each division has a team of six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies. Seth Jones of Columbus and Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers will join Faulk on the Metro blue line. The forwards are Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Ovechkin of Washington, Wayne Simmonds of Philadelphia and John Tavares of the New York Islanders.
The goalies are Sergei Bobrovsky of Columbus and Braden Holtby of the Capitals.
Tortorella, asked Tuesday about coaching in the game, grinning and said, “I don’t even know what the format is. I don’t spend too much time thinking about it.”