Peter Laviolette knows he is biased.
But Laviolette said on Thursday that he would have picked Claude Giroux, who has led the NHL in scoring for a good chunk of the first half of the season, first in the All-Star Game fan balloting.
The league announced the results of its All-Star fan voting on Thursday and Giroux was left off the list.
Instead, the host Ottawa Senators are guaranteed to have at least four representatives skate in the game, as Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek captured 4 out of the top 6 spots among 24 million votes cast.
Boston goaltender Tim Thomas and Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf were the only 2 non-Senators to be voted in.
That doesn’t bother Giroux one bit.
“I didn’t even know about it,” Giroux said after the Flyers’ morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center. “I don’t really pay attention to what’s going on with that right now.
“I really don’t care, Top 6 or not. I just want to make the team.”
Giroux finished 7th among forwards, just behind Sidney Crosby with 385,253 votes. Giroux has 18 goals and 28 assists for 46 points in 33 games this season.
The remaining 36 All-Stars will be selected by the NHL’s hockey operations department later this month, headed by Colin Campbell and Brendan Shanahan, with input likely from coaches and general managers.
Giroux, who turns 24 next week, represented the Flyers with Danny Briere at last year’s All-Star festival in Raleigh, N.C. The game will be played on Jan. 29 at ScotiaBank Place, with the fantasy draft being held in primetime on Thursday, Jan. 26 in downtown Ottawa.
For Giroux, this year’s All-Star game might mean a little more than others, since it will be played in the town where he makes his offseason residence. Giroux starred in the QMJHL just across the river in French-speaking Gatineau, Quebec, and his family re-located there from up north in Hearst, Ontario, a few years ago. Most of Giroux’s childhood friends attended university in Gatineau.
“Obviously if I do go back, it’s going to be pretty cool,” Giroux said. “I’ve got a lot of family and friends there. But I’ve got bigger things to worry about right now. We need to put ourselves in a better position before the All-Star break.”
JAGR TESTING: Just 2 days after the Flyers announced he will be out for 7-to-10 days with a mild, left groin strain, Jaromir Jagr was back on the ice on Thursday morning at the Wells Fargo Center.
Jagr said he was not “pushing” his injured groin, but simply skating to stay in game shape, so that there isn’t a lag in between when he is healthy enough to return to the lineup and when he is shape to do so.
“Usually, it takes a couple days to get ready once you are healthy,” Jagr said. “Last time when I had this injury [in November], I felt a sharp pain. This one was different. I wasn’t in that much pain. But I knew that if I played more, it would get worse. That’s why I stopped playing.”
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