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January 25, 2011

Mike Green

Eric Staal

DAVID KEON: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is David Keon and I'm with the National Hockey League's public relations department. Today we are joined by Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal and Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green. Thanks to Mike and Eric for taking the time to join us today.
As previously announced, the NHL, working in conjunction with the NHLPA, created a player draft that will determine the team rosters for Team Staal and Team Lidstrom for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover on Sunday, January 30, as well as the Honda NHL SuperSkills on Saturday, January 29. Mike Green and Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks were named Saturday as Alternate Captains for Team Staal. Ryan will join today's call if his schedule permits.
The January 28 NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco will be televised live nationwide on TSN and RDS in Canada and VERSUS in the U.S. at 8 p.m. ET from NHL Fan Fair at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Q. Thanks for doing, this is a question for Eric. With the team named after you and the game, how are you embracing the extra spotlight?
ERIC STAAL: You've got to enjoy it. Obviously this is not something that is a regular occurrence for me and a regular occurrence for Raleigh and the area. This is exciting for our fan base, for everybody in our organization. You know, obviously it's an honor for me to have been named captain and especially getting to enjoy it here at home with the home fans, you know, I'm just going to enjoy the whole experience, and looking forward to the weekend, having a lot of family come in and something that I'll remember for a very long time.

Q. Are you concerned, two more guys now, Lidstrom and Malkin pulled out today. Do you worry about that lessening the attention or the impact of this game in Raleigh?
ERIC STAAL: I don't think so. There's injuries throughout this game. I mean, it's a long year. There's a lot of games. I think for the most part, guys want to be a part of the All-Star festivities.
You know, it's a unique chance to get together and enjoy a weekend amongst guys that you're playing against throughout the season, and obviously there's injuries and sometimes you need time to deal with them. It's unfortunate that a few guys are going to be missing out, but there's plenty of talent that is going to be here and it's still going to be a great event for everyone involved.

Q. Yesterday on his conference call, Nicklas Lidstrom probably just was having some fun, but there could be some seriousness to it, as well, that he might pick Cam Ward in order to get some of the home crowd on his side; and that on the NHL side, you need to do whatever you can to get Ward on your team. What would you do if Nik goes ahead and picks Cam?
ERIC STAAL: I don't know, would I have to figure out something as far as making a trade. If he won the coin flip and ended up taking Cam first, I think it would be -- I don't think it would be as fun for our fans to be honest. I think we have to have all of us on the same team and let the one -- the home crowd cheer for one team.
Obviously he's probably having some fun with it. We'll see what happens when it comes down to draft day. Obviously just like any other draft, you never know what can happen.
You know, it should be good either way. We'll have to figure something out.

Q. What does it mean -- you do have to think before you get into this. Exactly how do you approach this type of responsibility? I know it's all in jest, but how do you approach this responsibility? Do you look at it and say, you know, I want to get as much scoring as I can? Do you even think about things like that?
ERIC STAAL: I have two alternates in Mike Green and Ryan Kesler that can do some real thinking for me (laughing).
No, I think we are just going to enjoy. It obviously you have to have some rhyme or reason in what you're doing, but like I said before, there's a ton of talent there and not really any bad picks. Everyone is a great player and deservedly -- deserves to be there.
So, you know, obviously goal scoring is a premium in the All-Star Game, and goalkeeping, too, and defense. So there's no wrong way to go about it I don't think. You know, we are going to enjoy it, the three of us getting together and trying to figure out a game plan and making our pick.

Q. Last one for you, Mark can't be the last pick in the draft because defensemen have to go by the 15th round, but do you kind of want to see Mark go as the last defenseman?
ERIC STAAL: I don't know, we'll see what happens. The way he's been talking, he's been telling me to take him first, and then he's telling me he doesn't want me to pick him; so he doesn't really know what he wants.
You know, we'll see what happens. I've been having some pressure from my mom, making sure we are on the same team. Again this is something I'll be discussing with Mike and Ryan to figure out our game plan as far as all of our picks go.

Q. Eric, being that it is going to be somewhat of a Staal family reunion, whose idea was that, and how rare is it for the Staal family to get together during the season?
ERIC STAAL: It's very rare. Obviously sometimes we try to get together at Christmas, but the way our schedule is, you get two days there, and this enables us -- you get the four days in a row basically of time together.
My parents wanted to come down obviously and enjoy the experience together, and then Mark being named just kind of added another person to the group. And then Jordan figured he has not played a ton this year, and he went to No. 1 last year, so it's nice to get together as a family and kind of hang out. Too bad my younger brother won't be able to make the trip up, he'll still be playing, but he'll be there in props, anyway. It's nice to get together during the season, you don't always get those opportunities, and we look forward to the weekends for sure.

Q. Do you expect the weekend to be more relaxing because it's? Your hometown or less relaxing because there's so much going on with family in town?
ERIC STAAL: I think a little of both. I think at times it will be busy. But you know, when there is a downtime, it will be really relaxing. We have got family to enjoy together, just hanging out and my son keeps busy, keeps us entertained over the weekend with all of our family here, so looking forward to that, just enjoying everything together.

Q. Being that this is your fourth All-Star Game, what's your most challenging aspect of consistently playing at the All-Star level?
ERIC STAAL: Well, this year it's probably a lot more media requests considering it's in Raleigh and considering I've been named captain as one of the teams, it's been busy leading up to it, but exciting at the same time. Like I said, to get to do it at home and do it with a lot of teammates and family here, it's going to be exciting.

Q. Eric was talking about the game plan you guys are going to put together. Are you going to -- how much are you going to push for him to take Ove with one of those high picks?
MIKE GREEN: Again, we'll have to talk about it. Eric gets to play against him all the time and knows what he's about, so hopefully he goes with him again. It would be nice to have teammates on each other's team.

Q. The other side of it is you really don't to get to go against Ove. Would you kind of enjoy the challenge a little bit personally?
MIKE GREEN: I did an interview today and said it would be nice to have him on the team, have him do some one-on-one on you, but again, we'll see what happens with the draft.

Q. Does it feel good for to you finally be at this point where you're going to an All-Star Game? You have had the statistics that would have earned you in the spot in the past; what does the feeling and this experience feel like for you?
MIKE GREEN: It's an honor to be involved in the same category as the rest of the guys in the league.

Q. Is there anything in particular you're looking forward to, whether it's just the whole All-Star experience or maybe just seeing guys from the other conference that you maybe don't get to see very often?
MIKE GREEN: Yeah, that would be nice, and you know, obviously the players don't get a chance to get familiar with them off the so it would be nice to see some faces that you know and mingle a little bit.

Q. Eric, did you feel the All-Star Game needs some sort of change, something radical; do you like what's been done?
ERIC STAAL: I would not necessarily say that it needed to be changed. I think the change is welcome. I think it was a great idea. I think it adds a different element, a different -- you haven't seen anything like this in pro sports before with anything.
And I think in this day and age with all of the football pools, the hockey pools, the baseball pools, the sports fans pay attention to that kind of stuff. Why not have the athletes themselves kind of in that same mix for an All-Star event.
So I think the idea was very cool, and you know, it's exciting and adds a different element to it, same for the players and for the fans, and see how it goes down on Friday.

Q. Is any concern that -- is going to overshadow the game itself?
ERIC STAAL: No, I don't think so. Because obviously the draft will have an excitement to it, you know, the picks and wherever they may fall. But whatever happens, you want to see it plays out. Any time you pick something, you want to see it play in the end, and I think that will lead to a buildup to the game to see how it all shakes out and to see whether Mike and I and Ryan's picks are good; it will be interesting to see what happens on Sunday.

Q. Wonder what each you think the effect of not having a star like Sidney Crosby will have, not just on the game itself but the --
ERIC STAAL: I think missing arguably the best player in the league, you know, for an event like this, is missed. But like I said before, injuries happen and you deal with them it as individuals and as teams.
So he's a great player and a good guy. I've gotten to know him well over the last couple of years, and first and foremost, you want his health to get better and everything's okay. Obviously one of the best players in the league and we are going to miss him, but most important thing is getting him healthy and stronger for his team and the rest of the way in the regular season.

Q. And Mike, are you going to miss him from a rivalry standpoint? You guys and the Penguins have a pretty good thing going there.
MIKE GREEN: Yeah, maybe a little bit, but you know, I think once you get to an event, it's kind of washed into the distance and you just have fun with it. So you know, it's very important, like Eric said, that he's not going to be at the event, but we know as players that it's more important to get healthy.

Q. Eric, the Sedin twins, would you like to separate them or see them apart in the All-Star Game and see how that works out?
ERIC STAAL: You know what, kind of. When we have our discussions between Mike and I and Ryan, we can ask Ryan who he loves the best and we pick him and leave the other for the other team -- no, they are obviously two very, very talented players. And very, very talented players together, and it would probably be weird for them and weird for everybody else to have them on different teams. But you know, we'll see if we can add them and see what Mike and Ryan has to say about it on Friday.

Q. This is a unique role, nobody has ever done it, and now you're going to be one of two. You know, it adds an element of responsibility. Does it add an element of nerves, too? Are you nervous about a draft like this? I know it's fun but do you have a little bit of nerves?
ERIC STAAL: Not really. I think that, I'm nervous how it's going to play out a little bit but I'm going to have fun. Obviously there's a different aspect, I will have Mike and Ryan to talk to and figure out stuff with. I'm not just standing there a loan soldier and picks guys out and going to get down to the end and feel stupid.
It's going to be I think for all of the players, just more of a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy being together and hanging out, and it should be fun.

Q. A couple years ago, did you feel you deserved to be at the All-Star Game and didn't get there?
MIKE GREEN: Can you say that again?

Q. A couple years ago, did you think you deserved to be an All-Star?
MIKE GREEN: No, I didn't even -- it's -- I think it goes with how you play and your status in the game, and I was younger and really I didn't feel like I deserved to be there or should have been there or shouldn't have been there. It is what it is but I'm worried about now and this is my opportunity.

Q. For both of you, Eric, when did you find out that it was called Team Staal, and what do you think of that? And then I want to ask -- I'll come back to ask about that, but first my question to you.
ERIC STAAL: I think it's pretty cool. I mean, to be honest, that's basically the only way to describe it. Pretty surreal. Obviously Team Staal, a team with future Hall of Famers, many Stanley Cups; so that's something that I can remember and tell my grand kids about. Just that part of it is pretty cool.
And you know, I think the fact that that I'm the captain, it's in our building, our fans, I think that had a lot to do with being named captain. But I'm excited about that and I'm excited about it and looking forward to the whole weekend.

Q. When did you find out the team would actually be named after you?
ERIC STAAL: You know, no one's really told me that's exactly how it's going to go, but I guess there's no other way. You can't really say East/West. You can't really say any other way. So they kind of went after the captains. I didn't really find out. It's just been as it's been going and as the media coverage has been covering this whole event, it's kind of turned out this way.
I think Team Staal has a pretty good ring to it, but we'll see how it goes down on the weekend.

Q. How does it feel to be playing for Team Staal?
MIKE GREEN: It's good. Obviously played against him a lot and respect him as a player, and his game, and I think it's a well fit, obviously with it being in Carolina. You know, I'm just happy to be there. I don't have much of a say.

Q. Wondering about Friday night with the draft coming up, what do you think of this switch to this format of doing this and what is going to be through your mind as you and Eric and Ryan are sitting up there waiting to pick guys?
MIKE GREEN: I don't know how it actually happens, but even though like Eric said, we are going to have fun with it and obviously have to discuss a lot about what we think as a group and then we'll go from there. At the end of the day, I think the most important thing is just have fun with it.

Q. In the end is it better to be where you're sitting than having to sit out in the crowd and having to hear your name called in?
MIKE GREEN: That's my worst fear is being picked last, so at least I don't have to worry about that now.
DAVID KEON: Thanks very much, guys, for your time today.

End of FastScripts

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