Messier is 24 years Nash's senior

Updated: January 23, 2004, 7:20 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers captain Mark Messier was added to the NHL's Eastern Conference All-Star team Thursday, four days after his 43rd birthday.

On the other side of the ice he'll see Columbus' Rick Nash, making his All-Star debut at 19.

Mark Messier
Messier

Messier will become the third oldest to play in an All-Star game when he suits up Feb. 8 in St. Paul, Minn. Nash, the NHL goal leader, will be the first teenage All-Star since Jaromir Jagr and Owen Nolan in 1992.

Nash will be 19 years, 237 days on game day, making him the youngest All-Star since Wendel Clark, who was 135 days younger in the 1986 game.

Only Gordie Howe, who was 51 when he represented Hartford in 1980, and St. Louis defenseman Doug Harvey, 44 in 1969, were older All-Stars. Messier also will become only the fifth player to appear in 15 or more All-Star games.

Messier, who passed Howe on the NHL's career points list earlier this season, leads the Rangers with 13 goals. He has 1,869 points -- second only to Wayne Gretzky.

His 1,727 NHL games played trails only Howe on the career list. Messier is tied with Ray Bourque for the most All-Star assists with 13 and is fourth in points with 18. Messier will have plenty of stories to share with five East teammates chosen to their first All-Star game. The announcements (East first) were made during the intermission of ESPN's Thursday Night Hockey game between the Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers.

Making their debuts will be, Florida goalie Roberto Luongo; defensemen Adrian Aucoin of the New York Islanders, Nick Boynton of Boston, and Montreal's Sheldon Souray. Washington forward Robert Lang also will play in his first All-Star game.

The third goalie, playing behind New Jersey starter Martin Brodeur, is Montreal's Jose Theodore -- a second-time All-Star. Theodore has rebounded from a subpar season and regained the form that made him an All-Star, an NHL MVP and the Vezina Trophy winner two years ago.

For the West, goalie Dwayne Roloson -- fourth in the league in goals-against average and save percentage -- and defenseman Filip Kuba will be making their debuts while representing the host Minnesota Wild.

They will be joined by All-Star rookies, goalie Tomas Vokoun and defenseman Kimmo Timonen of Nashville; forwards Pavel Datsyuk of Detroit, Shane Doan of Phoenix, Patrick Marleau of San Jose, and Alex Tanguay of the Colorado Avalanche.

The remaining West players are defensemen Mattias Norstrom of Los Angeles and Chris Pronger of St. Louis; and forwards Jarome Iginla of Calgary, Keith Tkachuk of St. Louis, and Colorado's Joe Sakic, making his 11th appearance.

On East defense, Wade Redden of Ottawa will join elected starters Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer of Stanley Cup champion New Jersey. Stevens is out indefinitely because of post-concussion symptoms.

The remaining forwards are Washington's Jagr, making his ninth appearance, Daniel Alfredsson and Marian Hossa of Ottawa; Toronto's Gary Roberts and Mats Sundin, making his eighth trip; and Keith Primeau and Jeremy Roenick of Philadelphia.

Roenick was chosen a week after harshly criticizing referee Blaine Angus and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after Angus didn't see Roenick being high-sticked during a game. Roenick threw a water bottle toward Angus and was ejected from the game and suspended for another.

He was in a better mood after his ninth All-Star selection.

"Every year is great," Roenick said. "When you can be mentioned among the top players in the league it's a special thing. You never see enough of those shirts hanging in your closet."

The starting East forwards are Boston center Joe Thornton, Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay, and Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk.

Dallas' Mike Modano and Bill Guerin, along with Vancouver forward Todd Bertuzzi, will start on the front line for the West. Rob Blake of Colorado and Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom will open on defense, with Marty Turco of Dallas in goal.

Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Edmonton and Anaheim aren't represented.

Toronto coach Pat Quinn will lead the East in his fourth career All-Star appearance, and he will be assisted by Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock.

Detroit coach Dave Lewis will coach the West, assisted by Vancouver's Marc Crawford.

The roster additions were made by the NHL's hockey operations department, after consultation with general managers. For the second straight year, the All-Star format pits the East Conference against the West instead of North America versus the World.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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