Backes chosen as all-star; Blues recall
McRae, Reaves, have interest in Wellwood
By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Forward David Backes was the lone player selected to represent the Blues at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, the first time in his career. The All-Star Game will take place at RBC Center, home of the Carolina Hurricanes, on January 30.
"It hasn't sunk in that I've been chosen," said Backes, who leads the Blues in assists (21) and points (33). " It's a dream come true obviously.
"I watch the other guys show their skills. I hope I have one-tenth of the skills some of the guys I'll be playing with have."
Backes, 26, is currently in his fifth NHL season, all with the Blues. Also last season, Backes was selected to represent the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympics, notching a goal and two assists in six games, helping Team USA capture the Silver Medal.
"David has been a key player for this team and he deserves this honor," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement. "He's a true professional and the St. Louis Blues are proud to have him represent the organization at this year's All-Star Game."
* Blues recall McRae, Reaves, reassign Hensick -- The Blues recalled forwards Philip McRae and Ryan Reaves from Peoria and reassigned center T.J. Hensick to the Rivermen Tuesday.
McRae is the son of former Blue Basil McRae and has played in 37 games for Peoria. He ranks 11th among all American Hockey League rookies with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) and will likely make his NHL debut tonight in Anaheim. He was drafted by the Blues in the second round (33rd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Reaves, who was recalled earlier this season by the Blues, has played in 33 games for Peoria, collecting nine points. He made his NHL debut in the Blues’ 5-1 win over the Ducks on Oct. 11.
Hensick has made five appearances for the Blues this season but was a combined minus-4 in games against the New York Rangers on Saturday and Phoenix Monday in a little more than 20 minutes of ice time.
* Blues interested in Wellwood? -- Reports started to circulate on Tuesday that the Blues are on the verge of signing forward Kyle Wellwood, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks, to a free agent contract according to TSN.
Wellwood, who was playing with Atlant of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, first must get clearance from the KHL that his contract is no longer valid, then ink a deal with the Blues (believed to be for the remainder of the season) and then clear waivers before becoming official.
Sound familiar? It ought to.
The Blues were in a similar situation a few weeks ago with Marek Svatos, who signed a one-year contract after being released by Avangard Omsk of the KHL, only to be claimed on waivers by the Nashville Predators.
Wellwood recently was with the Phoenix Coyotes in training camp on a tryout basis but never signed an NHL contract, this opting for the KHL, where he tallied five goals and eight points in 25 games. He tallied 14 goals and 25 points in 74 games for Vancouver last season and has 160 points in five NHL seasons.