The pressure is off. That's how Jonathan Toews feels after Hurricanes center Eric Staal and Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom were named the two captains for the All-Star Game Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C.
Staal and Lidstrom were selected by their fellow All Stars, and they will pick their teams on Jan. 28. Officially, the NHL All-Star teams are now designated as Team Staal and Team Lidstrom.
"It could have been fun, but I think I'll be more comfortable just sitting on the outside," Toews said Tuesday after practice. "It's only my second all-star game appearance, so there's no reason to want to take all that pressure right off the bat."
There would have been "pressure" too, especially with teammates Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith headed to Raleigh with him.
"I was kind of hoping [Toews] would have been." Kane said. "I could have talked to him every day to try and get him to pick me."
The fantasy draft was just one the new wrinkles added to the All-Star Game as the NHL altered many things for the weekend, starting Jan. 28. It also was the most intriguing.
Kane said the All Stars were told to pick four players and the captains were selected off that. Toews was mentioned as a possible captain candidate -- among many others.
But Kane didn't vote for Toews -- at least that's what he said.
"I picked two guys in here," Kane said. "Not three. Not Toews."
Coach Joel Quenneville and assistant Mike Haviland will coach one of the teams.
"I like to think we're to going to coach one of our guys at least," Quenneville said.