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All Star Fan Ballot

Yesterday, the NHL released the list of players that will appear on the ballot for the NHL All Star Game.  Voting begins online on November 12th and continues until January 2nd.  The voting will occur at vote.NHL.com which is currently an unavailable website (the NHL would have been better advised to have this site up when they announced the ballot).

Here is the list of players on the ballot:

East Conference

Martin Biron Philadelphia Flyers
Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils
Rick DiPietro New York Islanders
Marc-Andre Fleury Pittsburgh Penguins
Kari Lehtonen Atlanta Thrashers
Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers
Ryan Miller Buffalo Sabres
Carey Price Montreal Canadiens
Vesa Toskala Toronto Maple Leafs
Tomas Vokoun Florida Panthers

Jay Bouwmeester Florida Panthers
Zdeno Chara Carolina Hurricanes
Sergei Gonchar Pittsburgh Penguins
Mike Green Washington Capitals
Tomas Kaberle Toronto Maple Leafs
Mike Komisarek Montreal Canadiens
Andrei Markov Montreal Canadiens
Teppo Numminen Buffalo Sabres
Chris Phillips Ottawa Senators
Wade Redden New York Rangers
Kimmo Timonen Philadelphia Flyers
Ryan Whitney Pittsburgh Penguins

Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators
Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins
Daniel Briere Philadelphia Flyers
Rod Brind’Amour Carolina Hurricanes
Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins
Chris Drury New York Rangers
Patrik Elias New Jersey Devils
Simon Gagne Philadelphia Flyers
Scott Gomez New York Rangers
Dany Heatley Ottawa Senators
Trent Hunter New York Islanders
Saku Koivu Montreal Canadiens
Ilya Kovalchuk Atlanta Thrashers
Alex Kovalev Montreal Canadiens
Vincent LeCavalier Tampa Bay Lightning
Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
Markus Naslund New York Rangers
Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals
Zach Parise New Jersey Devils
Mike Richards Philadelphia Flyers
Brian Rolston New Jersey Devils
Derek Roy Buffalo Sabres
Martin St Louis Tampa Bay Lightning
Marc Savard Boston Bruins
Alexander Semin Washington Capitals
Jason Spezza Ottawa Senators
Eric Staal Carolina Hurricanes
Alex Tanguay Montreal Canadiens
Tomas Vanek Buffalo Sabres
Ray Whitney Carolina Hurricanes

West Conference

Niklas Backstrom Minnesota Wild
Ilya Bryzgalov Phoenix Coyotes
Jean-Sebastien Giguere Anaheim Ducks
Miikka Kiprusoff Calgary Flames
Pascal Leclaire Columbus Blue Jackets
Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks
Evgeni Nabokov San Jose Sharks
Chris Osgood Detroit Red Wings
Marty Turco Dallas Stars

Rob Blake San Jose Sharks
Dan Boyle San Jose Sharks
Brent Burns Minnesota Wild
Brian Campbell Chicago Blackhawks
Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
Scott Niedermayer Anaheim Ducks
Dion Phaneuf Calgary Flames
Chris Pronger Anaheim Ducks
Brian Rafalski Detroit Red Wings
Sheldon Souray Edmonton Oilers
Shea Weber Nashville Predators

Jason Arnott Nashville Predators
Brad Boyes St Louis Blues
Dustin Brown Los Angeles Kings
Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings
Shane Doan Phoenix Coyotes
Marian Gaborik Minnesota Wild
Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim Ducks
Milan Hejduk Colorado Avalanche
Ales Hemsky Edmonton Oilers
Shawn Horcoff Edmonton Oilers
Marian Hossa Detroit Red Wings
Jarome Iginla Calgary Flames
Olli Jokinen Phoenix Coyotes
Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Paul Kariya St Louis Blues
Mikko Koivu Minnesota Wild
Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings
Patrick Marleau San Jose Sharks
Mike Modano Dallas Stars
Brenden Morrow Dallas Stars
Rick Nash Columbus Blue Jackets
Mike Ribiero Dallas Stars
Brad Richards Dallas Stars
Joe Sakic Colorado Avalanche
Daniel Sedin Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin Vancouver Canucks
Paul Stastny Colorado Avalanche
Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks
Keith Tkachuk St Louis Blues
Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
Henrik Zetterberg Detroit Red Wings

Both teams have 52 players on the ballot.  The East Conference has 30 forwards, 12 defencemen and 10 goalies.  The West Conference has 31 forwards, 12 defencemen and 9 goalies.  Thus the number of players by position is not a constant from one conference to the other.

The Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens lead the way with six players each on the ballot.  Each team has at least two players, with the Atlanta Thrashers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, St Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs held to the minimum.

It is hard to capture all of the players who might be logical choices to get votes, but this ballot contains a lot of players who are injured and will not play much if at all during the voting period.  This includes Martin Brodeur, Sergei Gonchar, Rick DiPietro and Ryan Whitney.  Ideally, they should have been replaced with active players.

The ballot tends to have name players who have been successful in the past (and are reasonable to imagine should continue that success) and a few of the players who are off to hot starts this season who might be able to continue at their current rate.  It does not omit players who are proven NHL stars who are having awful starts.  For example, Marty Turco who has the NHL’s worst saves percentage is on the ballot. 

I am not sure the value of having a ballot with limited choices when the voting is online.  Why is it not possible to have all the players in the NHL available for selection—perhaps with the current statistics available at the same time to remind the casual fan which players are among the top scorers?

If I were to pick All Star Game starters right now using the starts of the players and using past records to break near ties, my All Star starters would be:  Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Semin, Sidney Crosby, Andrei Markov, Filip Kuba and Mike Smith in the East and Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Chris Pronger, Brian Rafalski and Niklas Backstrom in the West.  Three of these players (Kuba, Smith and Sharp) are not even available.  That is a poor success rate.  Only 75% of my choices are available without write-ins.  Last year the ballot had 11 of my preliminary choices.  The player missing last year in Rod Brind’Amour is available this season despite an injury plagued 2007/08 season where he was limited to 59 games played.  That seems to be an admission that his omission was a mistake last year. 

Fan voting can be fun.  There is talk for a write-in campaign for an unworthy all star, but likely none will take off the way Rory Fitzpatrick did two years ago.

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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