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All-Star Weekend starts Friday

Draft set for Friday (8p), SuperSkills on Sat. (7p), All-Star Game on Sun. (4p)

Thursday, 01.27.2011 / 12:14 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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All-Star Weekend starts Friday
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Patrik Elias
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To understand what makes Patrik Elias so effective, you need only ask his linemates.

Centering a trio with Brian Rolston and Dainius Zubrus, Elias has been a major catalyst for the Devils’ recent 6-1-1 surge.

New Jersey suffered just its first regulation loss of the second half with Wednesday’s 3-1 setback at Detroit.

Rolston had the Devils’ lone goal to extend his points streak to five games (3 goals, 4 assists). He has credited Elias with helping him get on track offensively.

“It’s fun to play with him,” Rolston said. “Patrik’s a guy that makes his linemates better, plain and simple. Last year when I played with him, I was really productive.”

Elias, the Devils’ leading scorer, will be their lone representative at the upcoming All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, N.C. Through 48 games, he tops all Devils with 37 points, 24 assists and seven power-play goals. His 13 tallies are second only to Ilya Kovalchuk (14).

Wins haven’t always been easy to come by for the Devils (16-30-3) this season, but Elias is most deserving of this All-Star trip, the third of his career. He previously represented the Devils in 2000 at Toronto and 2002 at Los Angeles, collecting three assists.

He’s a smart guy that almost every possession tries to make a play, tries to make something. - Dainius Zubrus on Elias
“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,” Rolston said. “He’s got the skills to do it, and there’s not many that are as good as him.”

Zubrus has also benefitted from Elias’ skillful playmaking this season.

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

The weekend’s festivities start Friday at 8 p.m. ET with the first-ever NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft Powered by Cisco. A coin toss will decide the first pick, and team captains Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit and Eric Staal of Carolina will alternately draft the 36 remaining All-Stars through 18 rounds. Lidstrom and Staal each will be joined for the draft by two alternate captains.

The Honda NHL Superskills returns Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. All-Stars will compete in six events, including the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater, McDonald’s NHL Accuracy Shooting and XM NHL Hardest Shot.

The puck drops on the 2011 NHL All-Star Game Presented by Discover on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. All of the All-Star events will be televised live on VERSUS.