This year’s NHL All-Star Game is garnering a lot of attention, at least compared to what the widely considered worst all-star contest in sports usually receives. Two players well on their way to becoming a part of the new process, where two captains will conduct a playground-style draft of those voted into the game by the fans, are Claude Giroux and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Sure, Mike Richards, Chris Pronger, Danny Briere, Jeff Carter and Kimo Timonen are all amongst Flyers on their way to this year’s dance. But for Giroux and Bobrovsky, it’s even more impressive. Their names aren’t on the ballot.
Giroux scored his 13th goal of the season Saturday, which is tied with Danny Briere for the team lead. He has stepped up as not only a team leader, but also one of the NHL’s top players.
“There’s no way I would have a chance to go to the All-Star Game without the fans,” Giroux said after Saturday’s win. “They’ve been pretty good to me. If I get in or not, I think it’s just pretty cool to see my name up there. It’s obviously because of the fans, I’m pretty lucky to have that.”
Giroux, in total, has earned 103,620 write in votes, according to the latest tally offered by the NHL’s official website.
Bobrovsky, unlike Giroux, is a name even most Flyers fans didn’t know coming into the season. The rookie goaltender, who came over from Russia, was expected to spend the year in Adirondack while picking up on the language and some of the North American style changes. But when starting goaltender Michael Leighton went down, his number was called and eventually he earned the team’s starting spot.
Bobrovsky’s journey has been incredible. He went from being a 22-year-old who no one knew a thing about to the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November. “Bob,” as he is endearingly called, is second amongst goaltenders with 116,725 votes.
The truly remarkable finish just reinforces how Philly fans get it. For a team that hasn’t received much national media attention yet, having two unlisted players ranked so high in voting is impressive. But it isn’t surprising.
Philly always has and always will get it. Take this as a reinforcement of that fact. And when you see Giroux and Bobrovsky take to the ice in Raleigh, NC on January 30 know that your passion and knowledge is the reason they are there.