ST. PAUL, MN — The Minnesota Wild today announced that goaltender Niklas Backstrom, center Mikko Koivu and defenseman Marek Zidlicky have been named to the 2011 NHL All-Star ballot that was released by the NHL today. Players appearing on the ballot were selected by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department. Voting opens Nov. 15.
Backstrom, 32 (2/13/78), is 6-4-2 with a 2.07 goals against average (GAA), a .933 save percentage (SV Pct.) and one shutout in 12 games this season. He won 26 games, while posting a 2.72 GAA and .903 SV Pct. in 2009-10. The Helsinki, Finland native is 125-72-32 with a 2.35 GAA, a .919 SV Pct. and 20 shutouts in 242 games with Minnesota and is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins and shutouts.
Koivu, 27 (3/12/83), leads the Wild with 14 points (3-12=14) and has recorded points in 11 of the Wild’s 14 games this year. The team captain established new career highs in goals (22), assists (49) and points (71) last season. The native of Turku, Finland has collected 269 points (82-187=269) in 376 games with Minnesota.
Zidlicky, 33 (2/3/77), has six points (2-4=6) in 10 games this year and leads all Wild defensemen in assists. In 78 games for the Wild last season he led all Wild defensemen in goals (six), assists (37), points (43), and power play goals (four). The Most, Czech Republic native owns 266 points (55-211=266) in 471 games with Nashville and Minnesota.
Five Minnesota Wild players have represented the team in past NHL All-Star Games. Marian Gaborik became the first Wild player to participate in the contest in 2003. In 2004, Filip Kuba and Dwayne Roloson represented Minnesota at the NHL All-Star Game held at Xcel Energy Center. Brian Rolston appeared in the 2007 NHL All-Star Game. Gaborik made his second All-Star appearance in 2008 and Backstrom made his first career NHL All-Star team in 2009.
Fans will vote for their top six All-Stars by position without regard to the conference in which the player plays. Fans will also have the ability to write-in a player of their choice with voting being conducted completely digitally on NHL.com and Facebook (facebook.com/NHL). The players selected by the fans will be named the first NHL All-Stars.
Voting will be conducted from Nov. 15 through Jan. 3 with voting announcements being held every Tuesday, beginning on Nov. 23. During the six-week voting period, each player position will command the stage on the NHL on Facebook page for two weeks. Fans will be able to vote for up to three forwards from Nov. 15-29. From Nov. 30-Dec. 12, fans can cast their votes for up to two defensemen per online ballot. During the last two weeks of voting, until the Jan. 3 closing period, fans will be able to vote for their top goaltender
The 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover will mark the first time Carolina has hosted NHL All-Star activities. The League’s mid-season spectacular will include Honda NHL SuperSkills at 6 p.m. CST on Saturday, Jan. 29 and the 58th NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover at RBC Center at 3 p.m. CST on Sunday, Jan. 30. Live television coverage of both nights will be provided by VERSUS in the U.S.