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Anaheim’s Hiller is first Swiss NHL All-Star goalie

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ANAHEIMJonas Hiller has become the first Swiss goalie to make an NHL All-Star team.
Hiller and Ducks right wing Corey Perry have been selected for the All-Star game in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Jan. 30. Hiller is also the only netminder from the Western Conference chosen this year.

“I don’t know who picked that, or if there’s a reason behind it, but I’m excited to go from the West,” Hiller said after Tuesday’s practice at Honda Center.

Hiller has tirelessly kept the Ducks competitive this season, ranking second in the NHL with 21 wins while facing more shots and making more saves and appearances than any goalie. He’s third in the league in save percentage, and he heads into Wednesday’s home game against St. Louis riding back-to-back shutouts of Columbus and San Jose.

“Our goalie has been probably the strongest part of our hockey club from day one,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “He has played huge, huge minutes for us, and he saw a lot of pucks early. I don’t know if that got him warmed up for the season, but he’s done a great job.”

Hiller also is just the second NHL All-Star from Switzerland, following defenseman Mark Streit of the New York Islanders in 2009. Not bad for a goalie who wasn’t drafted by an NHL club and spent several years in the top Swiss league before catching North American scouts’ attention while playing alongside Joe Thornton and Rick Nash with HC Davos during the NHL lockout.

Hiller’s roommate on the road is Perry, who leads the Ducks with 21 goals and 45 points, ranking ninth in the NHL in scoring. Perry, who made his only other All-Star team in 2008, also scored during Canada’s win over the U.S. in the gold-medal game at the Vancouver Olympics.

“It’s exciting to be a part of it, and it will be a fun week,” Perry said. “It’s an honor.”

Perry also isn’t worried about the possibility of playing against his roommate under this year’s All-Star game format. The captains will choose teams earlier in the All-Star weekend.

“We do that all the time in practice, and this game isn’t a practice, but it’s not a real game, either,” Perry said.

Captain Ryan Getzlaf, a two-time All-Star, wasn’t chosen for the game while recovering from broken bones in his face. Getzlaf had 37 points in 40 games before a deflected puck hit him in the forehead, resulting in injuries likely to keep him out until early February.

Teemu Selanne also wasn’t chosen despite scoring 37 points in 36 games this season, but the 40-year-old Finnish Flash is grateful to have the long weekend off.

Written by M:)

January 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm

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