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Brayden Point said All-Star selection ‘totally unexpected’

Lightning center get a deserving spot in All-Star game, replacing injured Victor Hedman
Lightning center Brayden Point said this weekend's All-Star Game was never on his radar. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Lightning center Brayden Point said this weekend's All-Star Game was never on his radar. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Jan. 25, 2018
Updated Jan. 25, 2018

Lightning center Brayden Point said this weekend's All-Star Game was never on his radar.

So when GM Steve Yzerman called Point after Tuesday's 4-3 win in Nashville, the 5-foot-10 center was stunned to find out he was going to join the Atlantic Division team, replacing injured teammate Victor Hedman.

"I was surprised," Point said. "Obviously just super happy and honored to be picked. I'm a little nervous for it, to be honest with you. Being on the same ice with all those guys is pretty sweet. I don't know what to expect, I'm just happy to be there and try to enjoy it as much as you can."

While Point was shocked, coach Jon Cooper wasn't, realizing just how important he is to this Lightning team. Point has 19 goals, second behind only Nikita Kucherov, and is a plus-19 while centering the team's shutdown line.

"We have a lot of big names that jump off the page – (Steven) Stamkos, (Nikita) Kucherov, (Andrei) Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman," Cooper said. "But if you really watch us close, you know one guy that kind of makes us tick, and that's Brayden Point.

"He's, more often than not, the straw that stirs the drink. Couldn't be happier for him."

Point said the first thing he did Tuesday was make a phone call and wake up his parents, who live in Calgary. Point said his parents can't make it this weekend, but his billet family from his junior team, Moose Jaw, in Saskatchewan, the Hudsons, will be in Tampa.

"I got a lot of texts and calls saying, 'Congrats," Point said.

What will be Point's favorite part?

"Just being around those guys," Point said of the other All Stars. "It's not too often you get that much talent in one place. Just to see those guys and be around them is the most exciting part. I'm just going to go and have as much fun as I can."