Andrew Brunette may be the interim head coach of the Florida Panthers — but he is still going to the All-Star Game in Las Vegas.
The NHL announced on Tuesday that Brunette, whose Panthers currently hold a percentage-point lead in the Atlantic Division, would be one of four division leading coaches at All-Star weekend.
Brunette is the first Florida All-Star coach since Gerard Gallant led the Atlantic team in 2016.
Florida sent four representatives to that All-Star Weekend in Nashville: Gallant, captain Jaromir Jagr, goalie Roberto Luongo and defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
The Panthers will now have had three All-Star coaches in history as Doug MacLean coached the Eastern Conference team in 1997.
Brunette will be joined by former Florida coach Pete DeBoer (Pacific), Colorado’s Jared Bednar (Central) and Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour (Metropolitan).
All-Star Weekend will be held Feb. 4-5 in Las Vegas.
The 2022 All-Star Game rosters, including the four team captains, will be announced Thursday during SportsCenter on ESPN.
Brunette, 48, took over behind the Florida bench on Oct. 28 when Joel Quenneville abruptly resigned after it was revealed he knew more about a sexual assault within the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 than he had previously let on.
The Panthers were 7-0 at the time of Quenneville’s departure and have gone 16-7-5 since.
“He’s great,’’ Sasha Barkov said of Brunette. “He’s one of the smartest hockey guys I have ever been around. He always has those little things that not everyone sees on the ice and in practices.
“He has a really high Hockey IQ and it’s really good to have him on the team. We love playing in front of him.”
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
VANCOUVER CANUCKS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- NHL Betting Odds from FanDuel: Florida favored (PL -1.5 +116) — (ML -230) — U/O 6.5
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WAXY 790-AM, SiriusXM
- Last season: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Vancouver leads 18-10-3, 6 ties