Lots of new faces
14 new All-Stars grace the ice in Denver
Updated: Thursday February 15, 2001 5:58 PM
DENVER (CNNSI.com) - He still looks strange wearing an Avalanche uniform instead of a black and yellow Bruins jersey. But he looks just right in an All-Star Game.
Ray Bourque will make his 19th appearance in the All-Star Game when he suits up for the North American team on Sunday.
Fourteen first-time All-Stars will play in the game on Sunday. But it would take all them, plus five more first-timers, to equal the All-Star experience of Bourque.
"You come in, you try to establish yourself as a solid NHL player, and years go by and you keep coming here and it's really surprising in some ways," said Bourque, who was dealt by Boston to Colorado last March after 19 seasons with the Bruins.
"In other ways, you never take anything for granted and you always have something to prove," he added.
The newcomers will be on the ice at the All-Star game held at the Pepsi Center -- Bourque's new home arena -- and they intend to look for help from the regulars.
"There's a lot of guys that are here for their first year like me," said Samsonov, Bourque's teammate for 2 1/2 seasons. "I have no idea what's going on. I just have to take my itinerary and kind of go through and know what's going to happen. It's going to be fun I'm sure."
Samsonov's linemates with the Bruins, Bill Guerin and Jason Allison, are two of the five North America All-Star rookies along with Philadelphia's Simon Gagne, Donald Audette of Atlanta and Vancouver defenseman Ed Jovanovski.
"It's pretty amazing, it's wild," said Guerin, in his 10th NHL season. "There's a lot going on. I'm kind of overwhelmed a little bit with all the people around and seeing all the guys. It's great. It's been a lot of fun so far."
That is not an aspect lost on Bourque, even after all these years. "I'll have plenty of time to rest when I'm done playing the game, so as long as I get to come to these things, I'm going to enjoy them and take them the right way," he said. "It's an honor and a privilege to be here, and it always will be for me."
Dominik Hasek, a five-time All Star, will be the starting goalie for the World team -- which has nine first-timers. Hasek will be backed up in net by Philadelphia's Roman Cechmanek and San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov -- both in their first NHL seasons.
"It's a big surprise for me," said the 29-year-old Cechmanek, who did not get any playing time three years ago backing up Hasek on the Olympic gold-medal winning Czech Republic team. "For me it's a new everything. I'm not nervous, Dominik told me I must play my game."
The other World team rookies include Ottawa's Marian Hossa, Tampa Bay's Fredrik Modin, Alexei Kovalev from Pittsburgh -- all forwards. The defenseman are San Jose's Marcus Ragnarsson, Edmonton's Janne Niinimaa and Sergei Gonchar of Washington.
Hasek wasn't seeking out the newcomers to give them advice.
"Sometimes they come and they ask if you can help them but it's better if they can experience it themselves," said Hasek, who missed last year's game because of injury. "It's great. You can see new breaking stars that are coming. They will be here many times."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.