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Panthers: Luongo to NHL All Star Team, Ekblad a skills participant; Huberdeau named 3rd star of the week

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News around the Cats continues to be of best kind...

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of recent bytes over the past day...

All Star Weekend to feature duo of Cats

Making his fourth NHL All Star appearance, Roberto Luongo will join fellow netminders Corey Crawford (Chicago), Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus), Carey Price (Montreal), Pekka Rinne (Nashville) and Jimmy Howard (Detroit; though a slight groin tear suffered Saturday may yet change his status for the game). Said Lou via the Miami Herald...

"It is an honor and not only a reflection of myself but the way this team is playing,"

"It’s more of a team recognition than anything else.

"Obviously, I’ve felt good on the ice, have worked hard on the ice and off it as far as the mental aspect goes. But this wouldn’t be possible I don’t think without our team play."

The game itself will be held Sunday, January 25 from Nationwide Arena (full lineup and start times).

Joining Luongo in Columbus will be rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad, whose 24 points (5 goals), plus-12 rating, and astounding on-ice comportment at 18 years of age made him a lock as one of only six first-year players to participate in the skills competition (the, um, real one). Sayeth the Ek:

He's the lone D-man of the half-dozen, featuring Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), Tanner Pearson (Los Angeles, currently on IR; no timetable so expect a replacement), Filip Forsberg (Nashville), Mike Hoffman (Ottawa) and Jonathan Drouin (Tampa Bay). The Skills Competition commences Saturday, January 24th and is quite seriously the only portion of the weekend worth clearing your schedule for. The Fantasy Draft on Friday has it's own unique value but remains only slightly less cringeworthy than the actual "game" Sunday.

Huby named 3rd Star for week ending January 11

Jonathan Huberdeau has awoken offensively, at least in recent days. With 5 points (3 goals) over his last three games the third-year forward may have finally busted the hex which haunted him the past 18 months or so. We remain cautiously optimistic going forward, but even the most negative critics had Huby seeing some sort of a breakout under former/current coach Gerard Gallant, and perhaps this is indeed the case. Video via the league:

On to the 'Peg...