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SAN JOSE -- Milan Michalek had some productive years early in his career with the Sharks. None can compare with the season hes having this year.
In just 43 games, Michalek has 23 goals, tied for fifth in the league, and just three shy of his career high of 26 set in 2006-07 with San Jose. That puts him on pace to break the 40-goal mark, and the way the Senators have been playing lately, theres a pretty good chance hell reach it while he skates on Ottawas top line centered by a resurgent Jason Spezza.
Oh, and another thing -- Michalek was voted in as an All-Star starter for the game on Jan. 29 in what his now his home city of Ottawa.
Its great. It was one of my dreams, and Im really happy about that, Michalek said on Thursday morning. I was surprised to get voted in, but Im very excited and its going to be lots of fun.
Teammates Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Karlsson were also among the players voted in by fans.
Its the second time Michalek will skate at HP Pavilion since he was sent to Ottawa on September 13, 2009 as part of the trade for Dany Heatley. He visited with the Senators on their last trip here on Dec. 1 that same year.
He admitted that game was a little emotional, and tonights wont really compare in that regard.
It was the first year I got traded and was the first two months of the season, he said. Now, its different. Ive been here almost three years now.
Hell also likely get a heavy dose of Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the Sharks top defense pair when it comes down to shutting down an opponents top line.
I know Pickles a lot. Hes a really good defenseman so thats going to be tough, but its going to be fun, too, Michalek said.