RALEIGH, N.C. _ When the NHL names the remaining 36 all-stars on Thursday, Flyers center Claude Giroux will undoubtedly be selected to the team.
But coach Peter Laviolette made a passionate case on Tuesday for another member of Giroux’s high-scoring line.
“I’m not lobbying, but it would be criminal for Scott Hartnell not to be on there,” Laviolette said after the Flyers’ morning skate in Carolina. “In my opinion, he’s the top power forward in the league right now. Based on numbers, based on this season, based on plus-minus, hits, physical play, goals and assists,” you’d be hard-pressed “to come up with somebody who has had a better year than Scott. End of story.”
Hartnell, 29, is having a career season. The left winger entered Tuesday tied with Giroux for the team lead in goals with 18, and he topped the Flyers at plus-19 and was tied for third with 19 assists.
He was tied for 11th in the NHL in goals, tied for seventh in the league with seven power-play tallies, and 14th in plus-minus.
In his 11-year career, Hartnell has never played in an All-Star Game.
“It would be awesome,” Hartnell said. “You think about it…and it would be a thrill. I’ve never really considered myself an all-star, but I’ve had a pretty good season thus far. The role I play isn’t as flash as Giroux or Eric Staal or (Martin) St. Louis and those guys. But at the same time, I get the job done and it’s not pretty.”
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Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (8-3-1, 2.56 GAA, .914 save percentage) will get the start in Carolina on Tuesday. Ilya Bryzgalov (16-9-3, 3.07, .891) started the previous three games.
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Veteran winger Jaromir Jagr said he was tentative and “scared” to push off on his strained groin in Sunday’s game in Ottawa. He said the groin is improving and he is ready to play Tuesday.
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Danny Briere has picked up the pace after a recent meeting with Laviolette in which the coach told him he needed to play with more emotion.
"He was right," Briere said.
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Move over, Ashton Kutcher: In less than one day after he rejoined Twitter to "connect with fans," Giroux (@28CGiroux) has 50,000 followers. Amazing.
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Sam Carchidi, who is only 42,000 followers behind Giroux, can be followed on Twitter @BroadStBull.