Sabres set star standard

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

If the Maple Leafs feel as if they are taking on some kind of all-star team tonight at the HSBC Arena, they have good reason to think that way.

Three Buffalo Sabres -- forward Daniel Briere, defenceman Brian Campbell and goalie Ryan Miller -- were voted in as starters for the NHL's annual showcase of elite talent, which takes place in Dallas on Jan. 24.

HISTORIC TRIO

Never before in NHL history had a trio of teammates been elected in fan balloting to start an all-star game.

A handful of others, including forwards Maxim Afinogenov, Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Chris Drury, could be added this weekend to round out the Eastern Conference team, which fittingly will be coached by Buffalo's Lindy Ruff.

"It's great for our team," Ruff said. "It's great for our city. It's awesome for our fans.

"It just goes to prove that the last year and a half hasn't been by accident. Last year was what it was, and this year we've built off of where we were at."

Campbell played road hockey with Anaheim Ducks forward Andy McDonald and Leafs goaltending coach Steve McKichan while growing up in the southwestern Ontario hamlet of Strathroy.

Now he is an NHL all-star, a concept he still is attempting to grasp.

"It's crazy," Campbell said. "I remember growing up and watching the game and seeing (current Anaheim defenceman) Scott Niedermayer. Now, I'm going to be facing him.

"It's nice. It's something to celebrate because this isn't going to happen every year."


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