Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson was named to the Metropolitan division squad for Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game at Staples Center. Atkinson, added to the roster on Thursday, will replace injured Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin.
Atkinson, a sixth-round draft pick in 2008, has 24 goals and 46 points in 47 games for the Blue Jackets, who have been one of the NHL’s most surprising teams this season. This will be his first All-Star appearance. Malkin was declared out of the game Wednesday because of a lower-body injury; he also was expected to miss the Penguins’ game against Boston on Thursday.
All-Star events will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, with the opening of the Fan Fair at the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The NHL also announced that Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux will be the coaches in the All-Star Celebrity Shootout, to be held Saturday at Staples Center. Fans who have tickets to Saturday’s All-Star skills competition will be allowed to watch the celebrity event, which will bring together actors, musicians and athletes.
The celebrity shootout will benefit Echoes of Hope, a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk youth. The organization was founded by Hall of Fame left wing Luc Robitaille — now the Kings’ vice president of business operations — and his wife, Stacia.
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