Gaborik named MVP, but Alfredsson the real star

Right to the end, it looked like it was going to be an entirely magical weekend for Daniel Alfredsson, like he would lead his team to victory in the All-Star Game and be named the most valuable player.

And it almost did happen, as his teammates kept feeding him the puck in the final few minutes, hoping that he’d get a hat trick in what might be his final All-Star Game.

But in the end, Zdeno Chara’s handpicked team of all-stars beat Alfredsson’s 12-9, and Marian Gaborik’s three goals and one assist topped Alfredsson’s two goals and one assist.

So the most valuable player award went to a Slovak, not Ottawa’s favourite Swede.

It was a small blemish, though, on a fun afternoon.

As much as the weekend celebrated the NHL’s stars, it also celebrated Alfredsson.

It’s not that anyone wants to push him out the door, but Sunday’s all-star game might have been his last, and this was a time to applaud what he has done in his 15-year career.

You could see it, said teammate Jason Spezza, in the respect shown Alfredsson by his all-star teammates, the way they kept trying to set up his third goal.

“Hockey’s a very respectful game, and guys really respect what Alfie has done in his career,” said Spezza.

“This is an amazing weekend to be a part of, and it’s great to see the accolades.

“As a teammate, we appreciate him and we understand what he’s done in our locker room, but for him to be on the national stage and to get the recognition he deserves, it’s something we really enjoyed seeing.”

To which Erik Karlsson said: “Well said.”

The game was tied 6-6 after two periods before Chara’s team took it over in the third.

In addition to Gaborik, Joffrey Lupul had two goals for Team Chara, while Zdeno Chara himself, Corey Perry, Marian Hossa, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Jerome Iginla, and Patrick Kane had one each.

Spezza, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, John Tavares, Jason Pominville, Milan Michalek, and Claude Giroux scored for Team Alfredsson.

An emotionally spent Alfredsson said the weekend will rank high in the many memories he has from his career, but it was hard to touch the ground. He felt a bit like he was on Cloud 9. The weekend felt surreal.

“You can never dream up anything like this,” he said.

“And you don’t really know how to embrace it, either. Tonight, after the kids go to bed, you can sit and relax, and I’m sure I’ll be dead tired.

“But (it’s difficult to take it all in) and realize that this is something that not everybody gets a chance to experience. I don’t know if I deserve it or not, but it’s definitely humbling.”

All three goalies on Team Chara — Tim Thomas, Carey Price, and Jimmy Howard — gave up three goals each.

Team Alfredsson’s first two goalies — Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick — each gave up three.

But the third, former Senator and present St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott, had luck that was just as bad as when he played here in an Ottawa uniform.

He gave up six goals on 19 shots and took the loss.

But Elliott received a warm reception from Ottawa fans, which he appreciated, and had a fun weekend.

“I wasn’t really expecting anything, but they were really nice, really supportive,” he said.

“It’s a little weird coming back here, but it was fun. We’ll be back here in about a week (Feb. 7) with different things on my mind.”

The beauty of the all-star game is that it gets you dreaming about a world without a salary cap, and what it would be like to have a line like Gaborik ($7.5 million), Marian Hossa ($5.275 million), and Pavel Datsyuk ($6.7 million). It was the force behind Team Chara.

Hossa had a goal and two assists and Datsyuk had three assists to give that line a 10-point night.

“Marian and I have played together at the international level, and Pavel here’s one of the best,” said Gaborik.

“Just pure talent, he’s got it all.”

The combined total of 21 goals made the game the fourth highest-scoring game in NHL history, and 30 of the 36 position players — 15 of the 18 on each team – had at least one point.

Milan Michalek and Spezza each had a goal and an assist.

Karlsson was the only Senator who didn’t have a point.

“I’m saving it for the games,” he said.

One Response to “Gaborik named MVP, but Alfredsson the real star”

  1. Albert Panazzolo
    January 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    I did not see the game however…. by all accounts it and the festivities surrounding it were a huge success. Good for all involved. One thing that was not mentioned in the article was the constant booing (according to several articles) of Toronto players at virtually every opportunity – draft, skills competion, game. The sign on the highway shows that the population here is 900,000 but in some ways this city is a small town.

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