In a stark sign of the times, the New Jersey Devils, who have fallen from the top of the standings a year ago to the bottom, are sending only veteran forward Patrik Elias to the NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, N.C. this year.
The league announced the 36 players, along with 12 rookies -- who will participate only in the skills competition during All-Star Weekend -- who were chosen by the league's hockey operations department to make the teams. The fans chose the starters, and slumping Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was not among any of them.
The New York Rangers, who are sixth in the Eastern Conference, will send two players -- defenseman Marc Staal and goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Rookie Derek Stepan gets the call to participate during the weekend as well.
The Islanders, who are only better than the Devils in the East, will not have a player on the regular All-Star squad. They are represented by rookie Michael Grabner, who will only take part in the skills competition.
"It's special that it's in Carolina," Marc Staal said. "My family will all be down there, which should make for a fun weekend."
But make no mistake, first-time All-Star Marc Staal isn't looking to spend any extra time alongside his brother, who is a little more than two years older.
"Against him, obviously," he said when asked what side he would prefer. "I don't think I could handle being on his team. He's too mouthy.
"We've played together just in some pickup games, but I don't think we've ever been on a real organized team before."
The Pittsburgh Penguins dominated the rest of the fans' six picks, with forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, defenseman Kris Letang and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury claiming the other elected spots last week.
Although those players are teammates today and will be again once the calendar turns to February, chances are that several will be pitted against each other for the midseason classic.
The NHL is straying from the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format this year. Next week, two captains will be chosen and charged with the task of picking the two rosters -- think fantasy draft in a world of reality.
Each team for the game will be made up of three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards.
It has been two years since the NHL staged an All-Star Game. Last season's game was skipped because of the Vancouver Olympics.
The Canucks, who own the NHL's best record, are sending identical twins Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, along with Ryan Kesler -- their three leading scorers -- to the game. Picture this: Henrik and Daniel could be on opposite sides, something the NHL draft didn't do when this duo arrived from Sweden.
The unique draft will kick off All-Star Weekend Jan. 28. The skills competition will take place one day later, with the game Jan. 30.
Logic dictates Crosby and Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin will be picked as captains. If not, they certainly will be prime candidates to be the first two players picked -- assuming Crosby recovers in time from the concussion that has forced him to miss three games already.
Injuries have limited Crosby to only one All-Star Game in his five-year career, in 2007.
Call it the next chapter in the ever-growing rivalry between the stars that already has been on display on the scoring lists, at the Olympics, in the playoffs, on HBO and in this year's Winter Classic.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.