ATLANTA -- Nicklas Lidstrom's 10th All-Star appearance brought out a smile that belied what has become routine for the topflight Detroit defenseman.
Joe Thornton is back for his fifth, and seemed miffed that anyone would pass up the chance to show off their talent in the ultimate hockey exhibition.
Sidney Crosby and Lidstrom's Red Wings teammate Henrik Zetterberg were in line to start tonight in the NHL All-Star game, but injuries made that impossible. The elected goalies: New Jersey's Martin Brodeur for the Eastern Conference, and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo out West turned down invitations due to family commitments.
A four-day break in the hectic 82-game schedule is a luxury that comes about just once a season, and the chance to spend it away from the rink is sometimes too much to give up.
The skills competition highlighted Saturday's portion of the weekend, leading up to the game today -- telecast on Versus for the second straight year.
Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders will start in goal for the Eastern Conference, and his former teammate Chris Osgood -- now of Detroit -- got the nod from West coach Mike Babcock, also of the Red Wings.
DiPietro will be followed after the first period by Boston's Tim Thomas, a fill-in for Brodeur, and Tomas Vokoun of the Florida Panthers. Manny Legace of St. Louis and San Jose's Evegni Nabokov will man the nets for the West, last year's 12-9 winner in Dallas.
The average score for the past five games was 9-7.
• COLLEGE FOOTBALL -- The mother of South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier has died.
Marjorie Orr Spurrier was 86, died of natural causes on Jan. 24 in the northeast Florida town of Green Cove Springs, according to a statement from the funeral home.
She was a founding member of Pinewood Presbyterian Church in nearby Middleburg and used to serve as choir director and pianist, according to her family.
Majorie Spurrier was preceded in death by her husband, the Rev. Graham Spurrier. Her survivors include three grown children.
Funeral services will be held today at Pinewood Presbyterian Church.
• PRO FOOTBALL -- Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon will enter a plea Feb. 5 on charges of driving under the influence, court officials said.
The charges stem from an arrest Dec. 28, when a Medina police officer saw Moon's vehicle on the Highway 520 Bridge at about 2 a.m. and noticed it had an expired registration tab, said Medina police Lt. Dan Yourboski. Moon had a valid Texas driver's license, but his driving privileges had been revoked in Washington, Yourboski told the Seattle Times.
The officer arrested the former Seahawks quarterback on suspicion of DUI. He was taken to a Kirkland police station, processed and released.
• PRO BASKETBALL -- New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas' 19-year-old son has been arrested for underage drinking.
Joshua Isiah Thomas was charged with illegal consumption of alcohol and being a minor in a tavern, both Class C misdemeanors; and disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor, early Tuesday morning, according to Bloomington police.