Calgary Herald

SPORTSWRIT­ERS PLAY OUT FANTASY

Herald hockey writers take their shots at picking the NHL all-star teams

- VICKI HALL and SCOTT CRUICKSHAN­K

Staring at a hockey draft, there is never a shortage of advice. If you, as a general manager, want to put together a dandy outfit, remember the following rules of thumb:

Start with goaltendin­g, then work your way out.

Or, championsh­ips are built with a solid defence.

Or, teams need to be strong up the middle.

Or, opt for experience. Or, take young legs. Or, size matters. Or, speed kills. Each axiom has merit. Except for this particular exercise — pulling together a talent-laden lineup for the National Hockey League all-star showcase this weekend in Raleigh, N.C.

Pure offence — and pure offence only — prevails in the annual display of sweat-free hockey. Goals are the goal — the easier the better, the saucier the sweeter.

Even the Herald’s hockey hare-brains — Vicki Hall and Scott Cruickshan­k — realize that. And thanks to a limited pool of prime time players at their disposal, they can’t muck up the drill, which is a fantasy draft of the fantasy draft. Not muck it up too badly, anyway. For the purpose of simulating tonight’s made-for-television production, each reporter got one of the pre-ordained trio of stars — Carolina’s Eric Staal, Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler, Washington’s Mike Green for Hall; Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, Chicago’s Patrick Kane, Tampa’s Marty St. Louis for Cruickshan­k.

To start, all they needed to do was flip a coin. Uh, without a nickel between them, Cruickshan­k held two fingers below table level, asked, “Odd or even?” And Hallsie nailed it.

And away we go!

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