- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dennis Wideman picked up the phone Thursday and George McPhee’s voice didn’t reveal anything.

“He’s pretty even-keeled. When he called me, I was like, ‘Aw man, where am I going now?’ ” the Washington Capitals defenseman said. “I didn’t know what was going on. But in my experience, when a GM calls you, it’s usually not good news.”

No, Wideman hadn’t been traded. Instead, McPhee informed him he’d be going to his first NHL All-Star Game later this month in Ottawa. It was a surprise pick, even to Wideman.

“I wasn’t expected to be voted in or picked for the All-Star Game,” he said. “I was pretty excited and a little caught off-guard and a little shocked.”

Wideman has eight goals and 21 assists and a minus-3 rating this season, and his 29 points had him tied for fifth among NHL defensemen going into Thursday night’s games.

While Wideman’s selection was surprising, it’s also an honor for a guy whose 2010-11 season was cut short with right leg hematoma.

“Yeah, the way the season ended last year I obviously wasn’t sure how I’d respond to that injury,” the 28-year-old said. “The trainers here did a good job, and obviously I came back and feel pretty good. Obviously anytime you get picked to be in the All-Star Game, it’s truly an honor, and I’m really happy about it.”

Wideman joked about the skills competition and how he hopes to avoid it altogether and “hopefully I can just hold a camera and take some pictures.”

The blueliner had to cancel a few plans to go home and take care of things for this summer, but he’ll get to take part in the NHL All-Star draft Jan. 26, skills competition Jan. 28 and game Jan. 29.

“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,” 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. I’ve been watching it on TV and stuff like that for years. It should be exciting.”