Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard is thrilled to have the opportunity to play in his first All-Star game. And teammate Pavel Datsyuk said his first All-Star appearance in four years should be fun. Having the event in Ottawa is a bonus for Howard, who has ties to the city. That is where he was trained as a youth, played summer hockey and played Junior-A hockey. Ottawa is about an hour from Howard’s hometown of Ogdensburg, N.Y. His parents, sister and several friends will attend the game. Datsyuk has played in only two All-Star games (2004 and 2008). He was selected for the 2009 game, but he and captain Nicklas Lidstrom withdrew due to nagging injuries. That prompted the NHL to force both to sit out the team’s first game after the All-Star break, in an unofficial “suspension.”

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