Better With Popcorn

Flyers Send Four to All-Star Game

You only turn 24 once, but if you are Philadelphia Flyers star forward Claude Giroux, you certainly don’t make the All-Star team only once.

On Thursday afternoon, the Hockey Operations Department of the NHL confirmed this fact when they announced that Giroux was named to the pool of 36 stars to be added to the six already voted in by the fans for the 2012 All-Star game in Ottawa on January 29th.

It will be Giroux’s second consecutive appearance in the game.

He will be joined by teammate Kimmo Timonen in the All-Star game as well as rookies Matt Read and Sean Couturier who will participate in the rookie portion of the skills competition (which takes place on January 28th).

This is the fifth time that Timonen has been named to the All-Star team.

For Read and Couturier, the selections speak to the contribution they have made to a Flyers team that has needed help from its younger players.

Read has been a jack-of-all trades this season, filling in on every forward line as well as every forward position. Couturier has centered the fourth line for a majority of the season and has been an integral component to the team’s penalty kill.

While many were up in arms about Giroux being snubbed by the fans, it was a foregone conclusion that he was eventually going to be named to the team.

Giroux’s play has spoken louder than any fan vote ever could.

His 18 goals, 30 assists and 48 points lead or are tied for the lead in each individual scoring category on the Flyers roster. He also leads all forwards in ice-time, has the most game-winning goals and has the best faceoff win percentage of any player on the team.

His 48 points have him tied for second with Toronto’s Phil Kessel for total points in the league. They trail only Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin by two points for the top spot.

In addition, his 30 assists place him in the top-three trailing only Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson (35) and Sedin (39).

Now that Giroux is officially on the team, two questions arise: is it possible that he will be named a captain? And if not a captain, will he be the first overall selection?

While one can’t speak on certainties given the relaxed attitude of the event, there is a strong possibility that Giroux is selected for either of the honors.

In last year’s event, the All-Stars voted for two captains and at a later date, the NHL and NHLPA named two alternates for each team. It was decided that the captains were to be composed of two forwards and one defensemen for each team.

It is already a forgone conclusion that Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson will be one of the team’s captains. Considering the wonderful season that Toronto’s Phil Kessel has had, in addition to the fact that he was selected with the final selection in last year’s event in Carolina (a somewhat dubious honor that came with a car), the players may pick Kessel as one of the alternate captains, if not the first overall selection, as a sign of respect.

If this year’s format is the same as last year, Giroux certainly could be selected as one of the alternate captains.

If he weren’t selected as a captain, with six of the top players already chosen it would be hard to imagine a better candidate than Giroux for the first overall selection.

The fantasy draft will be held on January 26th.



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