Slaney grabs All-Stars honors
WILKES-BARRE – What was supposed to be a showcase for the best players in the American Hockey League turned into a going away party for defenseman John Slaney.
Slaney, who was traded by the Penguins to the Philadelphia Flyesr for left winger Kevin Stevens on Sunday, was named MVP of the 2001 AHL All-Star Classic at First Union Arena in Wilkes-Barre. He had a goal and two assists, as the Canadian All-Stars edged Planet USA, 11-10, on Monday.
Slaney elected to represent the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins during all-star festivities. Fans gave him a standing ovation when he was introduced before yesterday’s game and chanted his name after he was named MVP.
‘You always like to hear your name chanted. It was really nice. I really appreciate it,’ Slaney said. ‘The support that the fans give here is unbelievable. I’ve been treated well. It’s tough to go.’
Slaney has been the captain and leading scorer for most of the second-year franchise’s existence. His popularity in Wilkes-Barre is surpassed only by enforcer Dennis Bonvie.
Slaney is expected to report to the Philadelphia Phantoms on Wednesday, which could create an interesting situation when the Baby Penguins play host to the Phantoms on Friday night.
‘You’re hanging out with the guy and you’re friends with the guy, and the next day he’s gone, and you could be potentially playing against him within the week,’ defenseman Andrew Ference said. ‘I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.’
Slaney was joined on the victorous Canadian squad by Ference and left winger Greg Crozier. Ference posted a first-period assist while Crozier matched Slaney’s output with a goal and an assist. Crozier was added to the all-star roster Saturday when Hartford’s Derek Armstrong was called up to the New York Rangers.
‘It’s been unbelievable,’ Crozier said. ‘It hasn’t even been 48 hours since they told me I was playing. I knew I could come out and do well. I always think I’m a pretty good offensive player. I just took advantage of the opportunity.’
Rookie center Toby Petersen had a goal and an assist for Planet USA, a team made up of players from the United States and Europe.
‘You expect a high-scoring affair out of these games, but I don’t think anybody expected 21 goals combined,’ Petersen said. ‘I feel bad for the goalies, but it was a lot of fun as a forward.’