Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 NHL All-Star Game: The Off-Ice All-Star team

2011 NHL All-Star Game @ RBC Center - P. Koutroumpis
As game day for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game has finally arrived and will take place at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC at 4 p.m. EST, there is time to recognize the 2011 Off-Ice All-Star team. As the NHL’s 42 fan and league-selected stars and 12 rookies have been embraced by hockey fans in the area throughout the weekend, a look at the group of individuals performing off the ice seems fitting before the puck drops. A look at the lineup helps to frame the scope of the success of this weekend’s events from NHL Fan Fair, NHL All-Star Wide Open, and NHL SuperSkills for the entire league and its fans.

2011 NHL Off-Ice All-Star Team

Center: Gary Bettman
Shoots: Right
Years: 17

A small and scrappy player who doesn’t back down to anyone, his years of leading his team in developing a productive corps  tis paying off with a lot of offensive output. By the end of February he will have led his team through three enormous events in seven weeks and two countries, showing the type of tenacity and endurance that he espouses on the ice. It is no surprise that NHL revenues are up 32% with popularity in the game continuing to rise in tough economic times.

Left Wing: Peter Karmanos Jr.
Shoots: Right
Years: 17

A solid performer who creates scoring opportunities for his teammates, Karmanos has been a strong proponent of supporting youth hockey initiatives with USA Hockey and convincing his team that growing the game is the way to win games for the NHL. Karmanos’ ability to bring the Hartford Whalers to Raleigh, NC and transform them into the Carolina Hurricanes has shown that he can produce many assists as well as hit the net to get the game-winning goal when needed. The 2011 NHL All-Star Game will truly be his opportunity to shine in his home rink, the RBC Center.

Right Wing: Brendan Shanahan
Shoots: Right
Years: 1

A newcomer to the game off the ice, Shanahan is the leading rookie and has jumped onto the ice to continue utilizing his strength, grit, and creativity in the offensive zone to score big goals for his team. His creative offensive set up has been highlighted in his ability to gain the zone in a non-traditional manner. Though he is able to scrap with the best of them, his subtle approach to utilize his two-way ability to cover on defense and offense in working with the players throughout the 2011 NHL All-Star Game has provided for many great scoring opportunities. By the end of All-Star Sunday, Shanahan should be a favorite to receive MVP honors.

Defense: Don Renzulli
Shoots: Right
Years: 3

This seasoned veteran in special events programming has provided a solid foundation on the blue line and knows how to transition the play from defense to offense effectively. Renzulli possesses tremendous vision at the point and uses his powerful shot to provides his teammates the ability to tip-in or score around the net at will.  Coming into the 2011 NHL All-Star Game already a +1 after the Winter Classic, Renzulli will no doubt help his team score a game-winner in Raleigh.

Defense: Rob Blake
Shoots: Right
Years: Rookie

Another rookie on this solid team, Blake complements Renzulli on the power play and has worked well moving the puck up the right side to Shanahan. On the power play, Blake now provides his team great offensive strength across the ice from Renzulli on the blue line. Another two-way player who can move the puck effectively, he’s already made an impact with his teammates and will continue to do so as his first appearance at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh as an Off-Ice All-Star should be a memorable one.

Goalie: Jim Rutherford
Shoots: Left
Years: 17

A teammate of Karmanos Jr. for his entire Off-Ice career, Rutherford’s ability to backstop this solid lineup provides them the opportunity to achieve success quickly and effectively. As the foundation of the team from the goal out, Rutherford reads the ice well and has provided a controlled atmosphere at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, NC to be a positive one for everyone involved. There is no doubt that with all of the offensive success that his team is experiencing over the weekend, that Rutherford’s job has been a relatively easy one to watch and admire from the other side of the rink.

Updated stories - All-Star Game edition

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