All-Star Team Captains Named

All-Star team captains named / NHL.comWe can stop referring to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game opponents as Team Red and Team Blue. This morning, the league revealed the two team captains.

Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom were selected by a vote of the 42 players named to this year's All-Star roster. Team Staal will wear red and Team Lidstrom will sport blue.

I'm not questioning the validity of the vote, but it does seem rather convenient that one of the captains plays for the host team, and as a pair, we have one from the East and one from the West.

To be fair, hockey players seem like a magnanimous bunch when it comes to things like this, so I could see them picking the hometown hero. And Lidstrom, well, he's an 11-time All-Star on his own. No question.

It is refreshing to see that Crosby (unless his injury keeps him out) and Ovechkin will be standing behind the fence waiting to be picked, and — perish the thought — not the center of attention. But it just goes to show who's popular among the players.

So how do you see the Fantasy Draft playing out? Does Staal take the North Americans while Lidstrom goes with the Europeans and Russians? Do they each get a Sedin twin? Do they snub their rivals?

An All-Star cover-up / Uni WatchWhile you ponder that, here's something else. Uni Watch posted a photo yesterday that clearly shows the decision to reformat the All-Star Game was made after the jerseys had already been designed — and produced for that matter.

As you can see, this All-Star jersey (left) on display at the NHL store in New York City is covering up a little secret.

The blue jerseys were originally going to be worn by the Western Conference team. Red would've been worn by the East, of course. And each conference would've gotten a brand new All-Star logo, as this does not match what was used in 2009, 2008 or 2007.

My guess is that the rest of the jersey design remained the same — the NHL shield as the crest and all — while the conference would've been identified only on the back beneath the number. I'm sure it would've looked just fine, but I'm glad they chose to reformat the game.

Regardless, it looks like Staal and Lidstrom ended up in the right sweaters anyway. Now the question is, who will join them? We find out on Friday, Jan. 28.