Chara named All-Star Game captain

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Chara named All-Star Game captain

TAMPA Zdeno Chara was alreadylooking forward to a returnto his former NHLstomping groundin Ottawa for this months All-Star game festivities, and now hell do it in the familiar roleas a captain.

The NHL named the Bs captain and Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson as the acting captains for the two All-Star squads set to play against each other at Scotiabank Place on Jan. 29.

That means Chara and Alfredssonwill be selecting individualplayers at the second annualAll-Star fantasy draft three days prior to the event, and the B's defenseman said hell take the responsibility seriously. Theres no salary cap and its all for fun, but Chara will get to step into the shoes of Peter Chiarelli and 29 other NHL GMs making moves and evaluating players for "Team Chara".

Its gonna be interesting. Its another honor on top of being selected as an All-Star. I found out this morning, so Im a little bit surprised, said Chara. Im going to at least try to see how it is to be in the position that some GMs are in, or people that are making those decisions. In thegroup of players that are being selected I dont think you can make a wrong choice.

Im not going to do too much research, but Im going to do the best job I can to build the best possible team.

It should be asatisfying homecoming for Chara going up against his former Ottawa teammate in Alfredsson, and playing in front of a Sens fan base that's treated him like an enemy since his free agent departure. It should also be interesting to see if the big defenseman gives Phil Kessel a mercy pick this season. It was Kessel, after all, who was the final player selected last year in the memorable first edition of the fantasy draft. It wasan All-Starmoment that could only be defined as "awkward" while Alex Ovechkin snapped pictures of him on the stage, and Kessel appeared to be searching for the nearest rock to crawl under.

Chara and Kessel had their run-ins overNo. 81s toughness and commitment to hard work while Phil the Thrill was in Boston, but the 6-foot-9 defenseman appeared tohave no qualms taking him on his All-Star team. And if Kessel turns about to be the NHL All-Star game version of Mr. Irrelevant again, then hell get another new car out of the deal.

I dont know. Well see how it goes. Somebody has to go last, said Chara with a smile on his face. I dont know if theyll have a car for him or something else . . . well see how it goes.The B's defenseman is, of course, referring to the new Honda car and 20,000 donated to charity that Kessel received last season for being the last player tapped in the All-Star draft.

If Chara and Kessel are All-Star teammates, one thing is certain: it will be a relief to the Toronto sniper as he finally wont have the gargantuan Bs defenseman knocking him all over the ice.

Perry: Can finally put a face to Patriots draft punishment

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Perry: Can finally put a face to Patriots draft punishment

Phil Perry and Tom E. Curran discuss the New England Patriots losing their first-round pick, and how they can finally put a face to the punishment and see which player they could've drafted.

Stevens: Thomas, C's must make right play, not force shots

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Stevens: Thomas, C's must make right play, not force shots

BOSTON - Isaiah Thomas is good to go for Game 6, though it's yet to be determined how much the ankle will affect him.

Either way, he can expect much of the focus to be on him throughout the game, as it has been for the entire series.

In Game 5 specifically, though, the Hawks stopped Thomas in a way they haven't been able to all series. The result? Just seven points for the C's leading scorer. They brought the double-team, and sometimes even the triple-team, making him unable to score.

But though Thomas' main objective is to score, as the starting point guard he's needed to do much more than that.

"You just have to make the right basketball play," Stevens said when asked if Thomas needs to be more aggressive when he's trapped. "He’s going to have the ball a ton for us, he’s going to be off the ball on actions for us, he’s going to have to read when he should screen, he’s going to have to read when he gets the ball how he’s being played, and just make the right basketball play.

"There’s certainly things you can do to alleviate some of that. But I felt we attacked it really well at the start of the game. Certainly part of their scoring runs was some bad offense on our part in the latter parts of the game. I left thinking Isaiah made a lot of the right basketball plays. That’s his charge – he has to do that, and we’ll follow suit."

Following suit with making the right decision - and hitting the shot - is something the C's couldn't do much of in Game 5. If Boston wants its playoff run to continue, it's going to have to be a team effort.

"We just have to make the right read, whether it’s catch and shoot or whether it’s catch and rip and drive," Stevens said. "Somebody else gets in the paint and makes the right read, and that’s part of it. We have good players who can do that, I believe they can and Isaiah does too. But Isaiah can’t force. If they’re going to put two to the ball, that’s when you have to make the right basketball play."