January 11 csnphilly.com:
BUFFALO — Claude Giroux was certainly excited and honored to be selected to play in his very first All-Star game. But he was equally disappointed that he’ll be traveling to Carolina without any familiar companions.
The 23-year-old Giroux was officially named Tuesday to this year’s NHL All-Star game that will be played in Raleigh, N.C., but more shocking was no one else on the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers — particularly leading goal scorer Danny Briere — was also given the nod.
“It’s a great honor,” Giroux said following the Flyers‘ morning skate prior to their game Tuesday night against the Buffalo Sabres. “You always dream of that when you’re a kid, and I never thought it would be possible. We’re having a good season, and having a lot of fun. But so many guys on this team should have been there, easily. Briere, [Jeff] Carter, [Mike] Richards, Kimmo [Timonen]. … I feel that I’m pretty lucky to be there.”
Though Richards leads the team with 37 points, one ahead of Giroux and two in front of Carter, Briere’s snub was perhaps the most surprising. The diminutive center is sixth in the league with 21 goals, four behind Chicago’s Patrick Sharp’s 25 tallies that are the third-most in the NHL behind Sidney Crosby (32) and Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos (31). The red-hot Briere has five goals in his last six games, and has scored the game-winner in the past two contests.
“I’m not surprised that I was bypassed,” said Briere, who acknowledged that his suspension in the beginning of the year when he cross-checked the Islanders’ Frans Nielsen may have been a factor in the league’s decision. “What I’m surprised is that we don’t have more than just one player. There’s no doubt that Claude was deserving, but with our record I thought that we could have had at least another one. Maybe Kimmo, or Matt Carle, or Jeff Carter, or Mike Richards. I think we deserved at least another representation. But it might be favorable for our team to get that weekend off and get to rest a little bit more.”
Going a step further, the optimistic Briere looked at the All-Star slighting as a testament to just how good the Flyers are as a club that doesn’t focus on individualism.
“It shows that we’re a team that relies on each other,” he said. “Even more so than last year, I think we’re more of a team now. I think we built a lot of it in the playoffs and down the stretch. We’re not going to beat you with just one or two guys. Everybody has roles, and we need everybody going.”
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