- The Washington Times - Monday, February 3, 2003

SUNRISE, Fla. Finally, the NHL All-Star event produced a truly entertaining classic. It produced a game.
The Western Conference was awarded a 6-5 victory over the Eastern Conference yesterday after winning a shootout 3-1. It was the first All-Star Game settled by shootout.
Dany Heatley, the Atlanta Thrashers left wing who was the rookie of the year last season, had four goals and was named MVP. He scored a fifth during the shootout, but that didn't count toward his total.
Heatley played on a line centered by Florida's Olli Jokinen that had Washington's Jaromir Jagr on right wing. Jokinen had a goal and three assists, and Jagr had three assists. The trio had 12 points between them.
"I just wanted to come in here and enjoy the weekend, have a chance to play with Jaromir Jagr and Jokinen," Heatley said. "I got a little more excited when I saw [who I was playing with]. It was a lot of fun out there for me today."
Heatley's four goals tied the single-game All-Star record shared by Mike Gartner, Vincent Damphousse, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. Gartner was the most recent to do it, 10 years ago.
"He was hot, and I was trying to give him the puck all the time," said Jagr, who has four goals, seven assists and 11 points in eight All-Star Games. "It was fun. I wanted him to get the record."
There was more to it than that. Jagr was one of Heatley's idols when the left wing was growing up. Two years ago, before Heatley signed his first contract with Atlanta, he was at a golf tournament in Radium, British Columbia, when he spotted a Jagr stick that had been used by the Washington star in the Olympics. The stick was going to be auctioned off for a charity involved with the tournament.
"[Heatley] was cradling the stick in his arms," said John Davidson, the retired goalie and TV broadcaster. "He was involved in the bidding while it was around $300, but pretty quickly it was up to about $3,000 and he was out of it. He was still poor in those days."
"I wanted to bid on it," Heatley said. "I didn't get it that time, but I got one from [Jagr] this year. It was good to get that and even better to play with him. He's been one of the best players in the game for a long time, someone I grew up watching. It was pretty special to be on the same line with him."
Said Jagr of the coveted stick: "I gave him one last month."
East coach Jacques Martin of Ottawa said he knew Heatley had a chance to break the mark and played him more.
"I think that's the only line we got some scoring [from] today," he said, "so we tried to win the game. It shows players are competitive, like in the late stages of the game when it was really on the line, you saw them really compete hard. It shows what kind of people they are."
Heatley scored against all three West goalies Patrick Roy, Jocelyn Thibault and Marty Turco. He had two in the first period, two in the second but none until it was his turn in the shootout, in which goals are not credited to individuals.
"I was pretty relaxed out there," he said. "I just wanted to get the first one, and after I got the first one I was pretty happy. After that I kept getting more chances, and they kept going in. I just kept cruising around and shooting the puck."
That's what he was doing 5:39 into the first when he turned former Norris Trophy winner Rob Blake inside-out and scored easily on Roy. Later in the first he tapped a Jagr rebound out of the air for his second.
To get his third, early in the second, he drove through Jagr in the crease and snapped a Jokinen pass through Thibault. His fourth was a wrist shot 14 minutes into the period.
In the shootout he beat Turco to knot the tiebreaker at a goal apiece. But he was the last player to score for his conference. Markus Naslund, Billy Guerin and Paul Kariya all beat Patrick Lalime, and the West was the winner.
It was the fourth All-Star Game to go overtime but the first decided by a shootout.
"I thought it was a great game for the fans," Jagr said. "They were excited about the overtime, excited about the shootout. They liked it. And I like this more than if the final score is 16-14 or something. This is better hockey."
Washington defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who also played for the East, agreed.
"We had a good time," he said. "It was fun, a great game. I'm sure everyone like it, and the fans had a good time. It seemed all the way through the game there was some backchecking. It never happened before. I never played in an All-Star Game like this. Tight game. It was fun."

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