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Elias looking forward to third All-Star trip

2011 All-Star Game set for Sunday, Jan. 30 in Carolina

Wednesday, 01.12.2011 / 4:23 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Elias looking forward to third All-Star trip
Elias gets a shot on Jose Theodore at the 2002 All-Star Game in Los Angeles.
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After a nine-year wait, Patrik Elias is going back to the NHL All-Star Game.

The Devils’ leading scorer was one of 36 additional players named to the 2011 All-Star rosters on Tuesday.

He has a team-high 30 points, and leads the team in assists (21) and power-play goals (5). Two of his nine tallies have been game-winners.

In what has been a challenging season for the Devils, his selection to the All-Star festivities is something Elias can smile about.

“No question,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “It’s been a very hard season result-wise. It’s something nice that people still recognize the way we work or the way I work. It feels good. You go through rough times, and all you can do is your best.”

Elias had two assists and an empty-netter in Sunday’s 6-3 win over Tampa Bay. It snapped a four-game losing streak for the Devils (11-29-2), who will look to end an 11-game road slide when they visit the Lightning on Friday.

He’s been lauded by head coach Jacques Lemaire for his play this year, but Elias would prefer that this All-Star appearance were occurring under better circumstances.

“You want to go when the team is doing well or you’re in the top 10 in points,” he said. “On the other hand, there were years that I thought maybe I could have gone and you don’t go.”

Two such seasons stand out. The first is 2000-01, when Elias finished with a career-high 40 goals and franchise-record 96 points. The Devils sent three representatives to Colorado that year: Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer and Scott Stevens.

The other is 2003-04, when Elias collected 38 goals and 81 points, and Brodeur, Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski were tapped for the 2004 game in Minnesota.

Brian Rolston, a former All-Star (2007), found Elias’ honor to be well-deserved this year.

“I’ve played with him for two, three games now,” Rolston said. “It’s fun to play with him. Patrik’s a guy that makes his linemates better, plain and simple. Last year when I played with him, I was really productive. It took a few games, but we got a few on the board last game. There’s not many players as good as him that I’ve seen in my career, how he makes other guys on his line better, and just thinks the game really well. He’s got the skills to do it, and there’s not many that are as good as him.”

Dainius Zubrus, the right wing on Elias' line, scored Sunday off a set-up from Rolston, who had two assists. Zubrus, too, had high praise for No. 26.

“He’s a smart guy that almost every possession tries to make a play, tries to make something,” Zubrus said. “When it’s not there, he simplifies it.” 

This will be the third All-Star trip for Elias, who debuted in 2000. He contributed two assists in the World Team’s 9-4 win over North America at Air Canada Centre, and picked up a helper in the World’s 8-5 win at Staples Center in 2002.

“I was in great cities,” Elias said. “I was in Toronto and L.A., and it was amazing, both of them. The whole event, the whole experience was great. You’re in your prime, kind of, in your 20s. You just enjoy it. I had a great time especially seeing a lot of the older guys, to be a part of the game with them. Now I’m the older guy. I don’t know everybody who’s going, but it seems like I’ll be one of the oldest there.”

Among the oldest, perhaps, but Elias, 34, can take comfort in knowing he won’t be the most senior participant in Carolina. That title goes to the ageless Nicklas Lidstrom, who at 40 is set to take part in his 11th All-Star Game.

Fans voted in the first six players for this year’s game, which takes place on Sunday, Jan. 30 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. The balloting was topped by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews, Kris Letang, Duncan Keith and Marc-Andre Fleury.

A new wrinkle has been added in 2011. The NHL has replaced the conference versus conference system with the All-Star Player Fantasy Draft, to be televised live on VERSUS at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28. A coin toss between the two captains will decide the first pick, and the selections will alternate until each team has three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards.

Elias has one wish for his appearance at the 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend.

“Hopefully I won’t be picked as the last guy,” he joked. “Otherwise, I’m looking forward to it.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51