All-star nods for IceCaps

Brendan McCarthy
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Zach Redmond and Paul Postma will join coach Keith McCambridge’s Eastern Conference squad at AHL all-star game

St. John’s IceCaps blueliner Zach Redmond carries the puck around the net during a game against the Toronto Marlies at Mile One Centre earlier this season. Redmond was selected as an AHL all-star on Wednesday. He’ll be joined by fellow IceCaps defenceman Paul Postma and coach Keith McCambridge who was named the Eastern Conference team’s head coach. — Photo by Jeff Parsons/St. John’s IceCaps

St. John’s IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge will never be mistaken for Adam Sandler, but on Wednesday, IceCaps’ rookie defenceman Zach Redmond thought McCambridge might have been playing the jokester’s part when he told the young rearguard he had been selected to play in the 2012 American Hockey League’s all-star game later this month.

“He wasn’t quite sure if we were telling the truth,” said McCambridge of the coaching staff’s good-news meeting with Redmond, one of two IceCaps blueliners named to the AHL’s Eastern Conference all-star squad, Paul Postma being the other.

“But he deserves it. We like the way he’s playing and obviously other people are taking notice of his game, too.”

Even some time after it was confirmed he would be heading to Atlantic City, N.J,. for the All-Star Classic Jan. 29-30, the news hadn’t completely sunk in for the 23-year-old Redmond.

“Honestly, a little bit surprised,” said the native of Traverse City, Mich, when asked his reaction to his all-star selection.

“I think we have a great team and the fact we’re doing so well has helped, but it could have been any of a number of guys on this team.

“(At the start of the season) I just wanted to work to be in the lineup every night and contribute and be a positive factor, so this was above and beyond my expectations.”

Redmond has four goals and 11 assists this season and a plus-nine rating that sits second on the team after fellow rearguard Arturs Kulda (plus-11). As well, he has appeared in all 32 of the IceCaps games, one of three St. John’s players to do so. Forward Spencer Machacek and blueliner Travis Ramsey are the others.

Postma has averaged nearly a point a game for the Caps, with six goals and 19 assists in 26 AHL outings. That’s good enough for third place in scoring among all AHL defencemen even though he has missed a half-dozen of St. John’s games, in large part due to a 10-day recall to the parent Winnipeg Jets in November.

“Postma has made some really good strides.” said McCambridge of the third-year pro. “Obviously, his offensive game has been there all season long, and real strong as of late, but on the defensive end, he’s been real accountable as well.”

This is Postma’s second AHL all-star selection. The Red Deer, Alta., native also participated in the 2011 event in Hershey, Pa., competing for the Western Conference and representing the Chicago Wolves. So, for a consecutive year, he’ll miss out on the full mid-winter hiatus enjoyed by non all-star participants — the league’s regular schedule will be suspended for four days to accommodate the all-star game.

“It’s a nice time to get a break, but at the same time, it’s nice to see other players from around the league. It’s a good experience for everyone,” said the 22-year-old Postma.

With the IceCaps (19-8-5) holding the Eastern Conference’s best winning percentage at the holiday break, McCambridge earned the nod to coach the conference all-stars in Atlantic City and admitted he’ll consider Redmond and Postma’s stated desire to be paired for the showcase game — “They definitely have my ear, for sure.” he said with a chuckle.

He also admitted he might have liked have been dealing with similar requests from a couple of St. John’s forwards. However, with 30 AHL teams and 48 berths (every club is guaranteed one representative), only so many slots were available on the teams, which were selected by committees of AHL coaches.

McCambridge didn’t name names, but considering the AHL likes to use its all-star game to promote young stars and prospective National Hockey Leaguers, the most obvious all-star omission for St. John’s was rookie winger Carl Klingberg, who has a team-leading 11 goals and 21 points in 24 games. On the veteran side, consideration must have been given to centre Marco Rosa, who continues to lead all St. John’s scorers (27 points in 29 games) despite missing the last three contests due to injury.

“As a team that’s sitting where we are in the standings where we are right now, do you thing we could have had a couple of forwards as well? Yes. But we’ll take the two (Postma and Redmond) and hope they enjoy the all-star game,” said McCambridge.

Notes: Starting line-ups for the AHL all-star teams will be selected through fan voting, which ends on Jan. 25. Ballots can be filled out can be done online at the theahl.com or facebook.com/theahl ... The IceCaps play their first home game in nearly four weeks Friday, when they host the Manchester Monarchs at Mile One Centre. It’s the start of a six-game homestand.

bmcc@thetelegram.com

Twitter@telybrendan

Organizations: American Hockey League, IceCaps, Winnipeg Jets Chicago Wolves National Hockey Leaguers

Geographic location: Atlantic City, Traverse City, Red Deer Hershey

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