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Howard, Datsyuk named All-Stars

Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 2:08 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Howard, Datsyuk named All-Stars
Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard will represent the Red Wings in the upcoming All-Star Game in Ottawa.
DETROIT – Two reasons the Red Wings are near the top of the Western Conference standings with a plus-36 goal differential has been the stellar contributions from goalie Jimmy Howard and center Pavel Datsyuk.

And apparently those responsible for picking the players for this month’s All-Star Game think so too, as they selected Datsyuk and Howard to represent the Wings in Ottawa later this month.

For Datsyuk, the mid-winter classic will be his third invite. But Howard, who has a league-leading 24 victories this season, this will be his first All-Star appearance.

Again, Datsyuk has been one of the league’s premiere defensive forwards, leading the NHL in takeaways (59). He’s also fourth in assists (30), and he’s rated No. 8 in face-off wins at a 56.1 percent clip.

News of their selection wasn’t known as the Wings prepared to head home after Thursday’s morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. But that didn’t dampen Howard’s enthusiasm for what he was hoping to hear.

“Definitely it would very welcomed, an honor,” Howard said.

In 35 games, Howard has been an absolute workhorse for the Wings, allowing 71 goals and making some incredibly timely saves that have kept his team in games this season. Only Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick has logged as many games while allowing fewer goals (67).

“He's played real well and become an important part of our team,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Goaltending is very important, but obviously Howie has become an upper echelon player on our team, he's been very consistent.

“Good players aren't once in awhile they're every night. And that's what we expect from him. We've grown accustomed to that's what we're going to get.”

Captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who was kept off the All-Star roster, said he’s pleased in knowing that Howard has gained the recognition that he deserves.

“I think the guys in here believe he should be there, especially with the kind of season he's had,” Lidstrom said. “He's up there in most wins, he's playing great for us and has been getting better and better every year for us and you can tell his confidence is high as well.”

Howard said that he used to watch the All-Star games and root for his boyhood idol, former New York Rangers goalie Mike Richter. Now Howard gets to follow in his idol’s skates.

“When you're a little guy, it's a lot of fun to watch, you get to see all the names in hockey,” Howard said. “I definitely enjoyed it when I was growing up, watching the skills competition and all that.”

In the past, goalies have been target practice for flashy superstar forwards. But Howard had a different take on the festivities.

“They're all for fun,” he said. “You go out there, get to meet guys from other teams, catch up with old friends that you know. Just basically have a good time and take it all in.”

As for Lidstrom not making the 12th All-Star appearance in his illustrious career, he seemed OK with the league’s decision either way.

Last year, Lidstrom was one of the team captains, who got to pick his All-Star team in a fantasy draft format before the game in Carolina. He was the only Wings’ representative at that game.

“It's always an honor to be selected and one of the guys going to the All-Star Game,” he said. “It would be nice to get the weekend off, kind of re-energize and get back at it after the break.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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