The 35-year-old Phoenix Coyotes centre, whose clutch goals have helped turn around his team’s season, signed a US$700,000, one-year deal Oct. 29 and didn’t look back, putting up 14 goals and 11 assists in 31 games before taking on San Jose on Saturday night.
It’s the first career all-star nomination for the native of Sherbrooke, Que.
“It’s a nice surprise,” Perreault told The Canadian Press from Phoenix. “I’ve really been focused on our team trying to get back in the playoff race but obviously it’s going to be a great experience for me and my family.
“I didn’t expect this at all. It’s the first time for me and I’ll enjoy every minute of it for sure.”
Veteran winger Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks joined Perreault among the Western Conference all-stars named by the league Saturday. Selanne will be playing in his 10th career all-star game. The Finnish Flash had 57 points (28-29) before Saturday night’s game against Colorado, eighth among NHL scorers and tops in the Western Conference.
The hometown fans in Dallas will have two of their own in the all-star game, goaltender Marty Turco, who will be appearing in his third all-star game, and defenceman Philippe Boucher, a first-time selection.
Seven other players added to the Western Conference roster will be making their all-star game debut: goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and defenceman Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames, defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky of the Los Angeles Kings, and forwards Martin Havlat of the Chicago Blackhawks, Brian Rolston of the Minnesota Wild, Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers and Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings.
Defenceman Kimmo Timonen of the Nashville Predators and forwards Bill Guerin of the St. Louis Blues, Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks and Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets were also named to the Western team. They join the six starters voted in by the fans: forwards Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche, Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo of the Sharks, defencemen Scott Niedermayer of the Ducks and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings, and goaltender Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks.
Injured stars Jarome Iginla of the Flames and Chris Pronger of the Ducks would have been automatic choices but will still be on the sidelines during the all-star break.
In the East, headed to his ninth all-star game will be New Jersey Devils superstar goalie Martin Brodeur, putting him fourth on the all-time goaltenders list behind Glenn Hall (13), Terry Sawchuk (11) and Patrick Roy (11).
Also selected to the Eastern Conference roster were five players making their all-star game debut: forwards Eric Staal and Justin Williams from the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes, goaltender Cristobal Huet of the Montreal Canadiens, defenceman Jay Bouwmeester of the Florida Panthers and forward Jason Blake of the New York Islanders.
Rounding the Eastern picks are defencemen Brian Rafalski of the Devils, Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Tomas Kaberle of the Toronto Maple Leafs plus forwards Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Marian Hossa of the Atlanta Thrashers, Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators, Simon Gagne of the Philadelphia Flyers and greybeard Brendan Shanahan of the New York Rangers.
“It’s a great honour,” Heatley said during CBC’s Hockey Day In Canada. “It’s fun weekend, I’m looking forward to it.”
The roster additions were selected by the NHL’s hockey operations department, after consultation with NHL GMs.
Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby, winger Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, goaltender Ryan Miller, defenceman Brian Campbell and centre Daniel Briere from the Buffalo Sabres, and defenceman Sheldon Souray of the Canadiens were already selected in fan balloting as starters.
With only 18 skaters and three goalies on each team, the league has a tough task and some obvious names didn’t make it: centre Marc Savard of Boston, defenceman Dan Boyle of Tampa, centre Rod Brind’Amour of Carolina, forwards Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka of the Rangers, centre Olli Jokinen of Florida, winger Paul Kariya of Nashville, wingers Ilya Kovalchuk and Slava Kozlov of Atlanta, winger Maxim Afinogenov of Buffalo, goalie Dominik Hasek of Detroit, winger Alexander Frolov of Los Angeles, and goalie J.S. Giguere of Anaheim, among others.
The NHL, meanwhile, also announced the roster for the Jan. 23 YoungStars Game. Rookie scoring leaders Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins and Anze Kopitar of the Kings headline the East and West lineups.
Malkin will be joined up front on the Eastern team by the likes of Boston’s Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal and Ottawa’s Patrick Eaves while Kopitar will line up on the Western team with such youngsters as Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf, Nashville’s Alexander Radulov and Colorado’s Wojtek Wolski.