The Washington Times - January 12, 2012, 02:39PM

The NHL All-Star Game can get old and stale to a lot of veterans. But that’s not the case for 28-year-old Washington Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman, who was named an All-Star for the first time Thursday.

“I think it’s going to be an experience. Obviously guys that have been there eight, nine, 10 times and stuff like that, they might want a break if they’ve been there every year,” a beaming Wideman said. “For me and for guys that get picked their first time, it’s really exciting to get a chance to go and see what it’s all about.”

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Wideman admitted he’ll have to change some pre-made plans about going home to Ontario to take care of some things. But it’s worth it.

“It was a big surprise. It’s something that at some point in your career you hope you get a chance to do,” Wideman said. “I was lucky enough this year to get the opportunity.”

Wideman said when general manager George McPhee called him Thursday, he almost expected to hear he was traded.

“When he called me, I was like, ‘Aw man, where am I going now?’ ” Wideman said, drawing laughs. “In my experience, when a GM calls you, it’s usually not good news.”

This time it was, though hardly expected news.

“I was pretty excited and a little caught off-guard and a little shocked,” he said. “Obviously I’m pretty excited about it.”