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Michael Grabner named as rookie participant in All-Star Game

Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders and

Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders and Nick Leddy of the Chicago Blackhawks chase down the puck at the United Center, Sunday. (Jan. 9, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Speedy winger Michael Grabner, who was claimed by the Islanders off waivers from Florida in October, was named as one of the 12 rookies that will participate in this month's All-Star Game festivities in Raleigh, NC.

"It's exciting," Grabner told Newsday  minutes after receiving the good news. "I've never been to anything like that, so it should be fun."

The 23-year-old Austrian forward, who was traded from Vancouver in June and waived by the Panthers after training camp, has nine goals and three assists in 36 games for the Islanders this season. 

The Islanders are one of four teams that are sending rookies to the skills challenge, but do not have a representative in the regular All-Star Game, along with Phoenix, Florida and Buffalo.

Islanders general manager Garth Snow said the team was given a heads-up about the ASG roster and, although he pushed for John Tavares and Frans Nielsen, is comfortable with the league's decision.

"I understand that it is a very tough process  for the NHL to select the players for the All Star Game. In a perfect world, our team would be healthy and at the top of the standings. This would enhance our chances to have a better representation at this event in the future," Snow said when reached via phone.

Tavares, who has 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points in 37 games this season, said before the roster was announced that making the team would be a "tremendous honor."

"I'd be ecstatic if I made it, but if not I'll move on and get some rest during the break."

***Speaking of All Stars, just saw Mark Streit, who recently returned from spending some time back home in Switzerland. Streit said he saw the doctor last week and he was pleased with the progress he had made in rehabbing his injured shoulder.

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