Once thought to be playing in the shadows of Ryan Getzlaf and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, respectively, Corey Perry and Jonas Hiller became All-Stars in their own right Tuesday.
Perry and Hiller were among the 36 players chosen by the NHL’s hockey operations department to compete in the Jan. 30 game in Raleigh, N.C. Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler was one of 12 rookies chosen to compete in the “SuperSkills” competition the day before.
It’s the first All-Star selection for Hiller and the second for Perry, who was an injury replacement at the 2008 game in Atlanta.
“The last couple days I’ve been talking about it and felt like it would be really cool and a great honor,” Hiller told reporters Tuesday at Honda Center. “There are lots of good goalies out there. I wouldn’t want to be the one who has to pick.”
Hiller is currently riding a two-game shutout streak that’s moved him into a tie for second in the league in wins (21) and shutouts (4), and third in save percentage (.929). His 2.39 goals-against average is 13th in the league, but Hiller has earned it the hard way – by facing more shots than any NHL goalie.
“When I finally got the word it was just great,” Hiller said. “It’s a great feeling to have the chance to go there. It’s a great honor and I’m really excited.”
Perry leads the Ducks in goals (21) and points (45) and is tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (4). This season he’s added penalty killing to his resume and also leads the team in short-handed goals (2).
“Corey Perry is having another strong season and maybe even stepped up his game,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “Specifically in the absence of Ryan Getzlaf, he’s continued to make a contribution.”
Getzlaf has missed the last five games with multiple nasal fractures that will keep him out until February, but Perry and Bobby Ryan have kept the top line productive in his absence. Only three NHL forwards (Ilya Kovalchuk, Sidney Crosby and Eric Staal) are averaging more time on ice than Perry -which Perry takes as a compliment.
“Randy’s shown a lot of confidence in myself,” he said, “put me up there for power play, penalty kill and big crucial points at the end of the game, trying to save one-goal load or whatever it is. He’s put a lot of confidence in me and I’m trying to do my best out there.”
Fowler has exceeded expectations in his rookie year, leading all NHL rookie defensemen in scoring (21) and assists (18) in 2010-11. The Windsor, Ontario native also leads all NHL rookies in average time on ice (22:17), ranks tied for first in assists and seventh in points.
“I’m not sure what events I’ll be doing out there, but it’ll be good,” Fowler said. “I’ll be around some NHL superstars and that’s really all that matters.”