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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final

Despite success, Flyers may not have All-Star

Friday, 01.07.2011 / 1:17 PM / 2011 NHL All-Star Game - Presented by Discover

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Three names poured right out of Mike Richards' mouth, and, shortly after, came a fourth. If he wanted to show a little ego he could have mentioned himself, too.

The question was who in the Flyers' dressing room deserves to be in the NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover on Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C.?

The answer isn't so simple, and that speaks volumes about a team that after Thursday's 4-2 victory in New Jersey had the most points-per-game (1.375) in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia has 55 points in 40 games as it battled Pittsburgh for Eastern Conference supremacy.

For all their succes, though, the Flyers don't have one defined all-star. Instead, they have several players who are having all-star caliber seasons.

"Claude Giroux, (Sergei) Bobrovsky, Kimmo (Timonen)," Richards quickly told NHL.com Thursday morning when asked the question. "In all honesty, there's probably a lot of guys. Matt Carle you could put in there."

Jeff Carter, Danny Briere and Richards himself have made pretty good cases for inclusion, too. Before foot surgery, Chris Pronger would have likely been a lock to be one of the 12 blue-liners selected to play in the All-Star Game.

There are only 36 spots available plus another 12 for rookies, so it's pretty far-fetched to think that the NHL's Hockey Operations Department will go eight-deep with Flyers when it announces the rest of the participants on Jan. 11. Remember, every team must be represented during the weekend's activities.

So, who from Philadelphia goes?

As defenseman Braydon Coburn told NHL.com, it's not a stupid question.

"I don't know," Coburn added. "You know what, I just don't know. Obviously, I think we have a lot of great players that are all-star caliber with Prongs and Kimmo, Richie and Carts. Ville (Leino) has been playing really well and Danny Briere is playing great. Those are just a few guys that are big name guys for us right now. I really don't know.

"Hey, Giroux, too."

That's two votes for Giroux, who Richards said has been the Flyers' most consistent performer all season.

Giroux, however, is not even their leading scorer.

Richards leads the team with 37 points, two more than Giroux. Briere leads the Flyers with 20 goals, four more than Giroux and Carter.

All four -- Richards, Giroux, Carter and Briere -- have more than 30 points, but not one of them is a point-per-game player.

"That's the strength of our team, and that's why we have many guys who could go (to the All-Star Game)," Briere told NHL.com. "We're not a team that relies on one or two guys, or even a line. We're successful because we come at you with many units that could score. Everybody is doing well defensively at the same time."

Pronger, based on his name and popularity alone, would seem like an easy selection, but he's hurt and may not even be healthy by All-Star Weekend later this month. Even if he were healthy, it's not like anybody would cry foul if Hockey Ops went with Timonen and/or Carle, too.

They are big-minute guys who have combined for 37 points and a plus-21 rating. They do not play together.

The Flyers don't have one of the League's best goal-differentials (plus-31) by accident.

"Kimmo is the workhorse in the back end," Richards said. "He's an underrated guy, but a guy that I think we'd be lost in the back end without him. Matty Carle, too. He plays minutes in every situation and has been that steady guy for us back there. He's always there."

What about Bob?

Bobrovsky is 15-6-3 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

"Bobrovsky's numbers speak for themselves," Richards said. "His numbers speak to how well he's played."

Maybe so, but now he's not even a regular in the Flyers' net. Brian Boucher started his second-straight game Thursday and has seven starts during the past 11 games. Bobrovsky has just three.

"It's been Boosh's run here for a bit," coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's been hot and winning hockey games for us."

But, nobody is considering Boucher for all-star honors.

"Even in net it's not just a one-man show," Briere said. "I think that's what makes us a better team, more of a team."

It also leads into a pretty interesting debate, one that the boys in Hockey Ops will have to consider.

"You could look at it and say there is no real all-star on the team, or you could look at it and say there are a bunch of all stars on the team," Richards said. "We look at it as more of there being no real one all-star, just a lot of guys that play well together and need help from the others to do it consistently.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild