SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild announced today that goaltender Niklas Backstrom, defenseman Brent Burns, right wing Marian Gaborik and center Mikko Koivu have been named to the 2009 NHL All-Star Ballot, which was released by the league today. Players appearing on the ballot were selected by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department. Voting opens Nov. 12.
Backstrom, 30 (2/13/78), is 7-1-1 with a 2.26 goals against average (GAA), a .923 SV Pct. and one shutout in nine games this season and was named the NHL’s Second Star on Oct. 20. He established franchise records with 33 wins and 1,498 saves last season and tied the record for games played (58). The Helsinki, Finland-native is 63-22-15 with a 2.18 GAA, a .923 SV Pct. and 10 shutouts in 108 games with Minnesota.
Burns, 23 (3/9/85), has recorded four points (3-1=4) and a team-high 12 penalty minutes (PIM) in nine contests this season. He established career-highs in games played (82), points (43), assists (28), goals (15), game-winning goals (4) and multi-point games (9) in 2007-08. The Ajax, Ontario native has totaled 94 points (30-64=94) in 276 games with Minnesota.
Gaborik, 26 (2/14/82), has tallied one goal in two games this season and set franchise records with 42 goals and 83 points in 77 games in 2007-08. He is the Wild’s all-time scoring leader with 415 points (207-208=415) in 487 career contests. The Trencin, Slovakia native is a two-time NHL All-Star (2003, 2008).
Koivu, 25 (3/12/83), leads the Wild with 14 points (2-12=14) in 10 contests this season and ranks tied for second in the NHL with 12 assists. The October and November team captain established new career highs with four assists and five points at Florida (10/16) earlier this season. The native of Turku, Finland has collected 131 points (39-92=131) in 213 games with Minnesota.
Four Minnesota Wild players have represented the team in past NHL All-Star Games. 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 Saint Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. Brian Rolston appeared in the 2007 NHL All-Star Game and Gaborik made his second career NHL All-Star Game appearance in 2008.
In a first for all major professional sports leagues, the NHL will provide real-time All-Star fan balloting results online at NHL.com. From Nov. 12 through Jan. 2, NHL fans will be able to vote as often as they like to select the starting lineups for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal. During the voting period, real-time results will be available exclusively on Vote.NHL.com/results.
The 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend in Montreal will celebrate the Montreal Canadiens’ Centennial season with live national broadcasts of the Honda/NHL SuperSkills® event on Saturday, Jan. 24, and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 25, on VERSUS in the United States.