-- Claude Giroux
doesn't anticipate a friendly exchange if he and teammate Danny Briere
are on opposing teams and forced to fight for a loose puck in a corner during Sunday's 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover.
While Giroux certainly would prefer to have Briere on his team, there's no guarantee that will happen. The Philadelphia teammates will learn which club they'll represent Friday when the anticipated NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco (8 p.m. ET, VS, TSN, RDS) is staged at the Raleigh Convention Center.
"I think it would be pretty nice to play with him, but if I play against him, I know we're going to go pretty hard in the corners," Giroux, who scored his 19th goal in Tuesday's 5-2 defeat of the Canadiens, said. "Really, he's one of the reasons why we're in first place (in the Eastern Conference) right now. He just finds a way to get those big goals in the third period. It just looks like it's easy for him to score goals. Anytime you got a guy like that who gets those big goals, it's huge."
Briere, who will join Giroux and coach Peter Laviolette
in Raleigh, is making his second All-Star appearance and first as a member of the Flyers. He was named most valuable player of the 2007 game in Dallas as a member of the Buffalo Sabres
after totaling a goal and 4 assists for the Eastern Conference in a 12-9 loss to the Western Conference.
"I was voted in on the starting five," Briere, who had a goal and an assist against the Canadiens, recalled. "Lindy Ruff
was our coach and it was me, (Alex) Ovechkin and (Sidney) Crosby to start. But we didn't have enough centermen, so after the first shift, Lindy put me on a line with Marian Hossa
and Dany Heatley
... not that bad. For some reason, it clicked with those guys. I felt comfortable. I played with Heatley at World Championships for a couple of years and Marian Hossa
is just a great player, so it was really easy."
When told of Giroux's comments about what could happen if the two were to land on opposing teams at this year's All-Star Game, Briere laughed.
"We're both very competitive and there will be a lot of bragging rights back home with the boys, so I think it'll be a little intense (in the corners)," Briere told NHL.com.
Briere leads the Flyers with 26 goals in 47 games. His career high in three previous seasons in Philadelphia was 31 in 2007-08, when he finished with 72 points.
"He's got such a great scoring touch," Giroux said of Briere. "Sometimes it (ticks) me off the way he scores goals. Even behind the (goal) line, he knows how to score goals. That's why he's having such a great career. He finds a way."
Briere has scored a career-high 32 goals twice, with the Phoenix Coyotes
in 2001-02 and the Sabres in 2006-07.
"I'm excited for him," Briere's linemate, Ville Leino
, said. "He probably should have been on the roster right from the start (Briere was named to the roster after the Flames' Jarome Iginla
pulled out), but I'm happy he's there and he'll enjoy it with his family and his roommate (Giroux). I'm sure if they're on opposite teams it'll be a good scrum for the puck, but they'll be laughing about it afterwards ... maybe right away, actually."
Giroux enters the All-Star break on a career-high seven-game scoring streak, during which he's totaled 3 goals and 11 points. He's tied with Mike Richards
for the team lead with 47 points.
"There's no doubt that Claude was very deserving," said Briere, who assisted on Giroux's goal against Montreal. "There's lots of guys on our team I thought were deserving, but Claude was at the top. The way he's played, the way he's matured into his role, there's no doubt he deserved to be there right from the get-go."
Just because he was one of the original 36 players selected by NHL Hockey Operations, however, Giroux doesn't anticipate hearing his name called before Briere's at the fantasy draft.
"I don't think that will happen," Giroux said. "But we'll see. Danny's bringing his family and I'm bringing my family, so it's going to be pretty exciting. It'll be a good weekend."
Briere feels the new format for determining teams has created a buzz.
"It's fun having the players involved because it creates more interaction with the fans as well," Briere said. "At the same time, we're all going there to enjoy ourselves and the last thing you want is an injury. Maybe if you're the last guy picked you'll have a little something to prove."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale