Marian Hossa called it a great 33rd birthday present Thursday after he was one of three Blackhawks named to participate in the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 29 in Ottawa.
Selected with Hossa were Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
It will be the fifth All-Star Game for Hossa and the third for Toews and Kane.
“It’s always an honor to be picked in the top players,” said Hossa, who leads the Hawks in scoring with 45 points going into Thursday’s game against Minnesota. “It’s a special thing going back to Ottawa because that’s where I started my career.”
Toews leads the Hawks with 22 goals and is in the middle of the best regular season of his brief career.
“It’s great to be going with a couple teammates,” Toews said. “Every year to be part of that select group across the league, it’s a huge honor.”
Kane is going to the All-Star Game again despite his recent slump, but he still has 38 points in 43 games thanks to a strong start. Kane has only 10 goals and just in the last 24 games.
“For me personally, it’s definitely an honor to be named, especially when you’re probably not having the season you want it to be,” Kane said.
Patrick Sharp, last year’s All-Star Game MVP, didn’t make it this time. While Hawks coach Joel Quenneville thought it might have something to do with the broken left wrist Sharp suffered this week, a league source claimed Sharp wouldn’t have been named even if healthy.
Sharp has 20 goals and 20 assists and is plus-18.
“We have a few more guys deserving of it, especially Sharpie, but unfortunately he’s out with an injury right now,” Toews said. “I’m not sure if that’s because of his injury, but it has to be 100 percent in my mind. There’s no doubt that he should be there.”
Two former Hawks from the 2010 Stanley Cup team made the all-star roster in Florida defenseman Brian Campbell and Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.
Three members of the Vancouver Canucks were named in forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and defenseman Alex Edler.
Center Pavel Datsyuk and goalie Jimmy Howard were selected from the Red Wings, but not defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.
Next week the NHL will name the all-star captains, who then will pick the teams in a fantasy draft on Jan. 26.
“Maybe I’ll be the captain and see if I can pick Kaner last,” Toews joked.