Alfie joins stars on ice

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

It's hard to believe a guy who plays with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley could have better linemates.

But Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will be in that coveted position Jan. 27 in Atlanta.

Alfredsson was named to the starting lineup for the all-star game as voted by the fans yesterday and will line up with Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, the reigning MVP, and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier, the NHL's current leading scorer, for the Eastern Conference.

"I'm looking forward to it, no question. I'm pretty spoiled waking up every day and going to the rink and have Spezza in the middle and Heatley on the other side. There are not a lot of players who are that fortunate," said Alfredsson.

"It's going to be a lot of fun to play with Sidney and Vincent, especially seeing the kind of years they're having.

"We played Tampa Bay here the other day and the skill that Vincent had is pretty amazing and fun to watch. It's going to be a good night to be up close and on the ice at the same time."

Alfredsson becomes the first Senator to be voted to the starting lineup, though he will be playing in his fifth all-star game (1996-97-98, 2004).

"It's a great honour to be voted in no question. I'm very humbled being there and being recognized as a starter," said Alfredsson.

CROSBY TOPPED VOTING

Crosby topped the all-star balloting with 507,274 votes. Among the forwards, Lecavalier had 224,661 and Alfredsson 224,483.

New Jersey's Martin Brodeur will be the goaltender for the East with Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens on the blue line.

The Western Conference team will have Vancouver's Roberto Luongo in goal, Nik Lidstrom of Detroit and Calgary's Dion Phaneuf on defence and Calgary's Jarome Iginla joining Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg up front.

The rest of the Western Conference team -- as selected by the NHL's hockey operations department and league GMs -- will be announced tomorrow. The rest of the Eastern Conference team -- which should include Spezza and Heatley -- will be announced Friday.

The selection of Alfredsson by the fans is a remarkable accomplishment.

"The fact that we're a small-market team and he's still voted in goes a long way," said Senators assistant coach Greg Carvel. "It says a lot about how he's perceived in the league and how important he is. It takes a long time to build up that view among NHL fans. That's spectacular.

"What he did in the playoffs last year I'm sure went a long way towards getting him that starting role in the all-star game.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's long overdue."

Senators forward Chris Kelly wasn't surprised Alfredsson got the nod.

"Something that's well-deserved and what I thought would a sure thing," said Kelly. "The way he's been playing this year, he's been our best player every game. For him to be named to the all-star game is a tribute to him and this team.

"He's a first in a lot of things for this organization, so it's fitting he's the first guy to be named to the all-star game."


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