The Vancouver Canucks, who started the day with the best record in the Western Conference, also lead in another category — most players added to the All-Star Game.
Four members of the Canucks were among the 36 veterans and 12 rookies announced by the NHL for the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game, to be played Jan. 29 in Ottawa.
Players from all 30 teams will be represented at the game, with four members of the Canucks added to the pool of players Thursday — forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin, defenseman Alexander Edler and forward Cody Hodgson, who was one of the dozen rookies selected to play in the game and the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition, to be held Jan. 28.
The Ottawa Senators will have the largest representation at the game, with five players selected — forwards Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek, and defenseman Erik Karlsson, who were voted in by the fans, and forward Colin Greening, added to the rookie pool.
The Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers had three players selected — goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, defenseman Dan Girardi and forward Marian Gaborik. The defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins had two players named — forward Tyler Seguin and defenseman Zdeno Chara. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas also will be at the game after being voted in by the fans.
The players added Thursday join the six players elected to the game by fan balloting — Thomas; defensemen Dion Phaneuf of the Maple Leafs and Karlsson of the Senators; and the three Ottawa forwards.
Added to the roster Thursday were five goaltenders, among them the Red Wings’ Jimmy Howard, who leads the League in wins, and the Blues’ Brian Elliott, who is second in the League in goals-against average and save percentage.
Among the nine defensemen added were the Panthers’ Brian Campbell and the Jets’ Dustin Byfuglien, who last were teammates in 2010 to help the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. Also added from that championship Blackhawks team were current Hawks forwards Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa.
Also going to Ottawa will be Predators teammates Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Joining them will be teammate Craig Smith, from the rookie pool.
The League’s top nine scorers all will have a place in Ottawa — the Sedins, the Maple Leafs’ Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, the Flyers’ Claude Giroux, the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos, Hossa, the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin and Spezza.
Other forwards added to the roster include Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who last week became the 42nd player in NHL history with 500 goals; Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who will play in his fifth All-Star Game; and the Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk, who was named to his third All-Star Game.
After captains and alternate captains are named, the rosters will be picked at the 2012 NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft, to be held Jan. 26.