Oh, what a difference a year could make! It seems like just yesterday, Toronto's Joffrey Lupul was on the receiving end of a hilarious Twitter prank, which saw the 28-year old forward being shipped to Alcatraz Long Island in a deadline deal. Luckily for Lupul, he wasn't sent to the Nassau Mausoleum where careers go to die, and was kept north of the border to spend more time with buddy Phil Kessel.
Lupul, who has been traded four times over the course of his seven-year NHL career, is en route to shattering his personal best in goals, assists and points. His 20 goals and 31 assists ranks him fourth in the NHL in the points category, which helped earn the honor of being Zdeno Chara's assistant captain for this year's All-Star game.
Standing opposite Chara and Lupul, will be the Swedish tandem of captain Daniel Alfredsson and his assistant, Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist, who will be playing in his third All-Star Game, has once again been dominant in net for the New York Rangers. King Henrik is enjoying another stellar season, stealing 21 wins for the Blueshirts, with a minuscule 1.93 goals against average and 9.36 save percentage.
Both Lupul and Lundqvist will help their respective captains in all areas of All-Star Weekend, being held in Ottawa from January 26-29. In addition to helping set the lineups for both the Skills Competition on Saturday and the actual All-Star Game on Sunday, Lundqvist and Lupul will have their hands in perhaps the most entertaining part of the All-Star festivities: the draft.
This coming Thursday, both Chara and Alfredsson will select which players they want on their team, gym-class style.
An idea which came to fruition during last year's All-Star game, the draft has become many fans' personal highlight of the weekend. The draft, which will be televised live on the the brand new NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m. EST, should make for some great storylines heading into the weekend.
Hey, maybe with Lupul helping pick the teams this year, Phil Kessel wont have to wait until the last pick until his name is called...