Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 01/05/12 at 01:37 PM ET
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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