Philadelphia's Danny Briere has repeatedly made clear his desire to go to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover later this month in Raleigh, N.C. On Wednesday, he was given that opportunity.
Briere was named as the replacement for Calgary's Jarome Iginla, who cited health concerns about his grandmother as the reason for dropping out of what would have been his sixth All-Star Game, which ties the Calgary franchise mark also held by Al MacInnis and Theo Fleury.
"It is always an honor to be a part of the NHL All Star Game but unfortunately I have to decline this year," said Iginla. "I just lost my grandfather in the spring and I have learned that my grandmother is not doing very well. With the way the season goes I don't get too many opportunities to see her, and as much as I was looking forward to being in North Carolina for the All Star Game, I just know that my mind will be elsewhere."
"My grandparents were second parents during my childhood and have been major influences on my life," continued Iginla. "I have been blessed to have them. And so after talking it over with my family I thought it best that I use the break to spend some time with her while I am still able to do so. Thank you."
Despite leading the Eastern Conference in points at the time of the selection, the Philadelphia Flyers placed just one player -- winger Claude Giroux -- on the roster.
"I'm not surprised that I was bypassed," Briere told reporters after the selections were announced last week. "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. ... 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."
Now, Briere will happily forego the aforementioned rest to become Philadelphia's second representative at the All-Star Game festivities. With a team-leading 41 points -- one more than Giroux -- Briere certainly has the credentials to be in Raleigh.
Like the rest of the 42-player pool, Briere won't find out which All-Star team he will be playing for until the Friday of All-Star Weekend when the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco, which will be televised live on TSN and RDS in Canada and VERSUS in the U.S. at 8 p.m., is held and the All-Star captains and their alternates pick the 21-man rosters.
On Tuesday, Carolina's Eric Staal and Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom were selected as team captains. Alternates will be named at a later date.