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NHL names All-Star Game starters: Alfredsson, Spezza, Michalek, Phaneuf, Karlsson, Thomas

The NHL has just revealed its All-Star Game’s final six fan voting leaders and starters: Ottawa Senators forwards Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek will be joined by fellow Sen Erik Karlsson and Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf on defense, and Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas will start in goal. Here’s the NHL’s story about the fan selections (Jimmy Howard finished sixth among goaltenders, Wings fans), per NHL.com’s Shawn P. Roarke:

NHL fans have spoken loud and clear that the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game will have an Ontario flavor. Nearly 24 million votes were cast during the NHL All-Star Fan Balloting, presented by Sirius XM. The League announced the results of its voting campaign Thursday and five of the first six players named to the All-Star Game hail from Ontario-based teams, including four players from the host Ottawa Senators. The game will be played at Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place Jan. 29.

Goalie Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins was the only star able to crash the First Six parade of Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson led the voting with 939,951 votes, garnering 42,536 more votes than veteran teammate Daniel Alfredsson, the Ottawa captain. Center Jason Spezza is also among the First Six, joined by surprise addition Milan Michaelk, who used a stunning last-day push to oust Toronto’s Phil Kessel by 42,144 votes for the final forward spot. Kessel had been among the top-three in forward voting throughout the balloting process.

With Kessel being nipped at the wire, Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf is the only Maple Leafs representative among the First Six. The defenseman earned 614,933 votes to join Karlsson on the blue line.

Continued, and of course…

The remaining players will be named by the NHL’s Hockey Operations staff later this month.

Update: Here’s the NHL’s press release regarding the All-Star starters named by fans and the starters to come:

ALL-STAR HOST SENATORS DOMINATE LIST OF FAN SELECTIONS TO 2012 TIM HORTONS NHL® ALL-STAR GAME

NHL All-Star Fan Balloting™ Presented by Sirius XM Sees 66% Rise in Participation Over 2011

NEW YORK (Jan. 5, 2012)—Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson—all of the host Ottawa Senators—are among the first six players named by the fans to participate in the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL® All-Star Game. Defenseman Dion Phaneuf of the Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins earned the other All-Star berths in the 2012 NHL All-Star Fan BallotingTM Presented by Sirius XM.

Alfredsson, the longtime Senators captain who tallied the 400th goal of his NHL career Dec. 30, received 897,055 votes as the top vote-getter among forwards. Spezza earned 817,483 votes to grab the second spot, followed by Michalek (743,977).

The 21-year-old Karlsson, who leads all NHL defensemen in scoring with 5-32—37, garnered the top spot on the blueline with a League-high 939,591 votes. Joining Karlsson on defense is Maple Leafs captain Phaneuf, who ranked second among defensemen with 614,933 votes.

Thomas, the 2010-11 Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner who is 14-2-0 in his past 16 decisions this season, led all goaltenders with 626,540 votes.

From Nov. 14 through Jan. 4, when fans worldwide cast interactive online ballots at NHL.com and via mobile devices, approximately 24 million votes were registered—a 66% increase over last season. Voting leaders at each position are available at NHL.com.

The six players elected through fan balloting will be joined in Ottawa by 36 additional All-Stars, who will be selected later this month. Following the overwhelming success of its debut at last year’s All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft will be held on Thursday, Jan. 26 to divide the group into the two competing All-Star Teams, each comprised of 12 forwards, six defensemen and three goaltenders.

The 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend comes to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, Jan. 26 through Jan. 29. The festivities culminate with the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL ® All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place. Live television coverage will be provided by CBC and RDS in Canada and the NBC Sports Network in the United States.

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Comments

Primis's avatar

Milan Michalek:  All-Star.

Yeah, I just threw up in my mouth a little too.

No thanks, I’ll continue to ignore the game and not watch, that’s just how “for the fans” the ASG is.  Jesus I can’t figure out which is worse:  The Winter “Classic”, or the ASG.

Good job, Senators and Leaf fans.  All you’ve proven is that you are big, enormous, giant idiots.

Posted by Primis on 01/05/12 at 02:00 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

Sens fans want to see their team represented when the game is played in our building. This is not shocking.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 01/05/12 at 02:22 PM ET

SolidTG7's avatar

I thought for sure Reimer would be the goalie.

Posted by SolidTG7 on 01/05/12 at 02:29 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

I like the Winter Classic.  It’s a fun event.  I always flip back and forth between it and bowl games.  The lead up to it, HBO’s 24/7, is also fantastic.  The Winter Classic has been great for hockey and is a great event.

The All-Star game… Not so much.  I stopped watching and caring about this game about 20 years or so ago when I was a teenager.

Posted by Ajax19 on 01/05/12 at 02:29 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Who cares?

Everyone knows it’s a joke. I don’t think I’ve watched an ASG since the late 90s.

It’s an event for advertisers and 10-year-olds. It may as well be on MTV.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/05/12 at 03:09 PM ET

Matt Fry's avatar

At least Thomas made it in.  I can see Spezza and Karlsson making it too.  But the rest?  Come on.  I’ll again just watch the Skills Competition and skip that boring game.

Posted by Matt Fry from Winnipeg on 01/05/12 at 03:20 PM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

Well complainers, what would you like to see then? What would make you watch the ASG?

In terms of the fan votes choosing only 6 players - I’m totally fine with it. I’m content with a handful of “hometown heroes” being able to play, and I think the fans in Ottawa deserve that.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 01/05/12 at 03:28 PM ET

Avatar

What would make you watch the ASG?

If it was replaced with a weekend of regular season games, I would probably watch some of them.

Posted by Garth on 01/05/12 at 03:38 PM ET

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They need to replace the ASG with the Winter Classic.  The Winter Classic should be moved to mid-season in its place as others have suggested.  Heck, you can still have an ASG, and play it outside on the same ice, just like the alumni game.  That would make me want to watch it more.  But, of course, not ever city would get to host the ASG then.  Oh well.

Posted by BuzzFledderjohn on 01/05/12 at 03:51 PM ET

SYF's avatar

It may as well be on MTV.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/05/12 at 12:09 PM ET

Jersey Shores would draw greater ratings.  That’s how pathetic it’s become.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/05/12 at 04:04 PM ET

Wingfan191's avatar

There’s only 6 starters named, I don’t get it.  Aren’t there supposed to be 12?  6 for the East, 6 for the West?  If that’s the case then the West would be Toews, Datsyuk, Kane, Lidstrom, Keith, Howard.

Posted by Wingfan191 from Bothell, WA (originally from Troy, MI) on 01/05/12 at 04:14 PM ET

Avatar

There’s only 6 starters named, I don’t get it.

They changed it…not sure when…but now it’s one starter at each position.  It just so happened that this year they were all Eastern Conference players who were the tops at each position.

Posted by Garth on 01/05/12 at 04:21 PM ET

SYF's avatar

There’s only 6 starters named, I don’t get it.  Aren’t there supposed to be 12?  6 for the East, 6 for the West?  If that’s the case then the West would be Toews, Datsyuk, Kane, Lidstrom, Keith, Howard.

Posted by Wingfan191 from Bothell, WA (originally from Troy, MI) on 01/05/12 at 01:14 PM ET

I don’t know if they’re doing it again this year but last year, they did that “mock draft” thing and at that time, it was Team Lidstrom vs. Team Staal.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/05/12 at 04:25 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I enjoyed last year’s All Star Game. If that makes me 10 years old then so be it. In that case, give me some fuching candy or I’ll feed ex-lax to your dog, old man.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/05/12 at 04:46 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I still think the ASG should be the defending Cup Champs vs a team of all-stars voted on solely by the players.  And they should play for a “pot” or something.

There really is no other format at this point which I would consider anything but completely laughable.

Posted by Primis on 01/05/12 at 05:20 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I’m content with a handful of “hometown heroes” being able to play, and I think the fans in Ottawa deserve that.

Posted by DrewBehr on 01/05/12 at 12:28 PM ET

Based on…?

Do tell how they and their franchise “deserve” stuff…

Posted by Primis on 01/05/12 at 05:22 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

It should also be mentioned that Ottawa voters were, in part, reacting to a campaign started by Toronto fans to usurp all 6 starting spots for Leaves.

As for deserving it - the fans in Ottawa deserve it because they mobilized and voted for their guys.

Also, Thomas probably only beats Reimer because he got the Ottawa vote. So you can at least thank us for that.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 01/05/12 at 06:09 PM ET

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All of Ontario’s 12 year olds.  God do I hate watching Karlsson be the worst defenceman in the league (at defence anyway).
The Winter Classic should be the All-Star Game.  Combine 2 bits of mastibatory theatre into the same event.
Otherwise, I like the play for a pot idea (unless anyone on my team gets even a slight injury out of it).

Posted by Guerin's Backcheck on 01/05/12 at 07:24 PM ET

Avatar

Or…..use the outdoor ice for a weekend-long 3-on-3 all-star tourney.

Posted by Guerin's Backcheck on 01/05/12 at 07:25 PM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

I think if you had the players voting on who should go to the ASG it would make it more relevant.  With a fan vote you get BS voting campaigns like this year.  The ASG game should have the best players in it, you know as in actually having the best players in the game.  And I think it would mean more if the other players were the ones that voted.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 01/05/12 at 10:49 PM ET

jimathor's avatar

I think if you had the players voting on who should go to the ASG it would make it more relevant.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 01/05/12 at 07:49 PM ET

Totally with you on that idea.

I don’t see why they can’t combine the all-star weekend and the Winter Classic, have the skills competition friday night, the all-star game saturday night, the “Winter Classic” regular season game sunday night (with the alumni game in the afternoon before it). Make the all-star draft either the week before or an hour before the game.

Okay, it might play havoc with the already quite fragile and complex weather/ice issues we’ve had in the last few years, but i’m sure there’s something that can be done with that, let’s face it, having the game in late february rather than early january will mean the games are A LOT colder and won’t conflict with bowl games or the like.

Apart from the ticket prices probably being into the 1000’s of dollars for the weekend, it would be a really nice mid-season spectacle

Posted by jimathor from The land of Sir Humblepatch of Bumblehound on 01/05/12 at 11:17 PM ET

Avatar

Lots of angry people here

Posted by Josh on 01/06/12 at 05:35 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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