Blues duo having career years, each to make first appearance at event
ST. LOUIS -- To no surprise, the Blues will have a pair of representatives at the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Columbus.
The league announced the rest of the all-star lineup Saturday afternoon, and Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko and defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk were among those chosen for the All-Star weekend on Jan. 24-25. The game will be on Jan. 25 at 4 p.m. at Nationwide Arena.
Shattenkirk, 25, came into Saturday tied with Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano for most points (36) among defensemen with seven goals and 29 assists as well as a plus-18 rating. Shattenkirk is No. 1 in the NHL with 23 power play points (four goals, 19 assists).
"It's definitely a goal of mine to achieve that," Shattenkirk said this morning. "The Olympics, that's something that's once every four years you're trying hard for and it's a completely different honor in itself. But the All-Star Game is something that you grew up watching as a kid and seeing how much fun these guys had when they went there and really how much pride they took in being named and going."
It will be the first all-star appearance for Shattenkirk, who is the first Blues defenseman chosen since Chris Pronger in 2004. He was part of the SuperSkills Competition in 2011.
Shattenkirk is averaging a career-best 23 minutes, 4 seconds this season, which is second on the team behind Alex Pietrangelo (25:13).
"I think the maturity factor is obviously what led me to finally wake up and make the changes I need to change," Shattenkirk said. "Getting a little push from Army (general manager Doug Armstrong) and Hitch (coach Ken Hitchcock) after the season last year to see if I can reach another level in my game. The training this summer and the diet is really what elevated me and I feel energized every game and last year there were ups and downs and it seems like there are less of those this year, which makes it easier to play."
Tarasenko, 23, is also appearing in the first All-Star Game of his career. He's first on the Blues in goals (22) and points (43) in 41 games. He's tied for fourth in the NHL in plus-minus at plus-21.
Tarasenko is the first Blue since Brett Hull (1996-97) to record two hat tricks on one season. He did it Oct. 28 at Dallas and Dec. 16 against Los Angeles.