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Is the All-Star Fan Balloting Process a Joke?

The NHL recently announced the six all stars as voted by the fans and while the players selected are all definitely talented, I believe that the whole fan voting process is a joke.

Let’s start by taking a look at this year’s picks: Sidney Crosby (forward, Pittsburgh Penguins), Evgeni Malkin (forward, Pittsburgh Penguins), Jonathan Toews (forward, Chicago Blackhawks), Kris Letang (defenseman, Pittsburgh Penguins), Duncan Keith (defenseman, Chicago Blackhawks) and Marc-Andre Fleury (goaltender, Pittsburgh Penguins). While there is no doubting that these players have all had successful seasons thus far, a lot can be said about how they were voted in the first place.

Obviously, because of the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Letang, and other solid players on the Penguins, fans have jumped on board to support them. In supporting them, the fans attend their games, by their merchandise and now, vote for them for the NHL All-Star Game and by vote, I mean A LOT. Just look at these voting statistics:

Crosby: 635,509 total votes (top vote getter)

Malkin: 376,887 total votes

Letang: 477,960 total votes (top vote getter among defensemen)

Fleury: 426,395 votes (top vote getter among goaltenders)

Again, all of these players have a lot of skill and are among the league leaders in several categories. With that said, don’t you think that there are more deserving players when it comes to being the top six all-stars?

I am sure several of you would agree with me, which is why I think that the All-Stars should be selected by those involved with the NHL whether it is NHL coaches, general managers, or those in the hockey operations department. Had they had the chance to select the top six All-Stars, I am sure that they would have used a different set of criteria and with the exception of Crosby, probably would have selected different players based on their performance this season.

Because of the All-Star fan balloting process, there are usually several snubs. This season, hockey pundits and knowledgeable hockey fans could make a case for the likes of Tim Thomas, Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and a slew of others. The players I mentioned are more than deserving of an all-star nod and while they may end up getting picked by the two All-Star team captains, they could all be starters with what they have done this season.

I am not looking to take fans out of the event in any way. I just wish that the fan balloting was done in a different way and that players who actually deserve to be starters get selected because the way it is done now is a joke.


Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: fan+voting, nhl, nhl+all-star+game


Tony's avatar

I’ll give you my objective view as a Pens fan, obviously…..

The only one that is really iffy is Malkin, with his so-so numbers and being out for a while with injuries….

Fleury, while he had a bad start, has been outstanding since, and not coincidentally, occuring at the same time that the Pens had their long win streak…. Are there better STARTING candidates ?  Yeah, probably…. But his selection isn’t what I would call a travesty…..

Outside of Nick Lidstrom, Letang has been the best overall defenseman in the league…. Anyone bitching about his write-in candidacy simply hasn’t seen him play very much…..

And Crosby….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 01/05/11 at 10:39 AM ET


Tony,  as a penguin fan, you had to know that once the NHL announced 4 penguins as starters, the boards would fill up with articles about this kind of thing.  And once again, penguin fans are stuck defending.

Can you imagine if Letang wins the Norris?  Wow, we probably should not even visit KK for a month.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 01/05/11 at 10:54 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I’ll give you Letang as a deserved starter.  Lidstrom (or even Byfuglien) deserve the spot over Keith.

As far as Fluery’s status as the best STARTING candidate?  It’s not a “probably” that there are better, it’s a “definitely”.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/05/11 at 11:00 AM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

Via PuckDaddy these arent “Starters” they’re just the first 6 added to the All Star Pool.  In which case, there shouldn’t be much of an argument…

Today, the “first six All-Stars” were announced: Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby(notes) received 635,509 total votes, Chicago Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews(notes) got 407,676 and the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin(notes) got 376,887 at forward. Letang led the defensemen with 477,960 votes, with Duncan Keith(notes) of the Blackhawks in second with 382,162. Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) led the goalies with 426,305.
These players are not starters, mind you, as they would have been in the past. They’re just the first six players in the pool. No one knew what the hell they were voting for, so the fans met the revamped format with apathy.


Posted by Russian Rocket on 01/05/11 at 11:09 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I pretty much agree with Tony. Crosby is a no-brainer. There are probably better starting choices for the other slots, though, Toews and Keith included, not just the Pens.

Three best forwards of the first 40ish games:
D. Sedin

Honorable mention to Datsyuk, 100 point pace prior to his injury and Selke-level play yet again.


Quick (I know, off the board, but look at those numbers, in the Western Conference no less, and if you’ve seen him win games for his team repeatedly, you can’t disagree)

Malkin and Fleury are popularity votes. The other two Pens are fully deserving, and I agree, if you don’t think Letang deserves it you aren’t looking at the right numbers or you haven’t watched at least a couple Pens games.

The ASG has never been about the most deserving players anyways. How many players actually want to play in the thing? Frankly, I couldn’t care any less about the game as a fan, and I don’t know anyone that is interested in the game. I’d rather see the likes of Lidstrom, Zetterberg, and Franzen stay home or go on a relaxing vacation. The Western Conference travel schedule is too brutal, it takes away practice days and rest days, so a short vacation is better for my team than seeing them at a boring exhibition. I’d rather watch preseason hockey—it is far more interesting.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/05/11 at 11:20 AM ET

Greg's avatar

Not saying I’m surprised that some fans arent’ happy with 4 of the first 6 players named being Pens, but it’s the same with any vote or election, give people an opportunity to vote and some do, some don’t. 

If there are fans of teams who think Sedin, Stamkos or Lidstrom (he got my vote) should have been in the first group named, then they should have voted, or voted more.

Posted by Greg on 01/05/11 at 11:42 AM ET

hiero4life's avatar

The all star game = WGAS I don’t care if the whole team was made up of ducks and pens.

Posted by hiero4life from anywhere i am on 01/05/11 at 11:54 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Meh. Sure, it’s a joke, but it always has been so it’s kind of hard to get upset about it. I probably haven’t watched an NHL ASG in 15 years. It just isn’t interesting to me. It’s specifically designed to appeal to 12-year-olds and casual fans, and the players are voted in by 12-year-olds and casual fans. So it’s hard not to understand why it’s always got a large contingent of flavors of the week. It’s not Malkin and Keith’s fault that people are f*cking morons. It’s just the way it is.

The only thing I care about this year is that Datsyuk not get named to the team. I’d hate for him to get suspended for having a broken hand.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/05/11 at 12:11 PM ET


I still like last year’s All Star Game vote/format best of all.

Posted by Cubanpuckstopper on 01/05/11 at 12:26 PM ET

awould's avatar

They should allow the coaches and GMs to vote on the bulk of the roster. Fan voting should still happen and it should be the top vote-getting 2 or 3 guys in each conference that weren’t already selected by the coaches/GMs. That way, some fan favorites might get in.

The fan voting has always been dumb, the way they do it. Way too much emphasis on a voting system that is similar to the one used that awards Twilight the Best Movie of the Year and Hannah Montana the Best Actress at the Teen Choice Awards.

Posted by awould on 01/05/11 at 01:06 PM ET


It’s the All-Star game, isn’t it supposed to be a joke? Who cares, this is all just for entertainment’s sake anyway. If the Pens fans enjoyed voting for those 4 then they got what they deserved by being engaged in the process.

It always makes me laugh when people hate the All-Star game because they actually take it seriously. It’s fun for the kids and a promo weekend for the NHL and that’s about it. You start to make this game count for something and you ruin the whole point of it.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 01/05/11 at 01:12 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Not saying I’m surprised that some fans arent’ happy with 4 of the first 6 players named being Pens, but it’s the same with any vote or election, give people an opportunity to vote and some do, some don’t.

If there are fans of teams who think Sedin, Stamkos or Lidstrom (he got my vote) should have been in the first group named, then they should have voted, or voted more.

Posted by Greg on 01/05/11 at 09:42 AM ET

I don’t vote because I don’t care—the game is irrelevant. I don’t think most die-hard hockey fans care about this game, either. So it’s not surprising that the teams made most visible over the past year made up the entire six. Keith is on a video game cover and commercials and Crosby is on almost every NHL-related advertisement or promotion. Regardless, Crosby happens to be the most obvious choice. Keith, not so much, he’s having a mediocre year.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/05/11 at 02:46 PM ET


The all star game is a bore.  They should be creative and have an outdoor game of NHL all stars versus European All Stars.  Or else just name an all star team at the end of the season.  It’s right up there with the Pro Bowl as far as competition goes.

Posted by 13 user names on 01/05/11 at 05:56 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

No one cares about the ASG.

And once again, penguin fans are stuck defending.

Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason for that??

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 01/05/11 at 07:12 PM ET

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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

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