Puck Daddy - NHL

The NHL today released the initial fan vote totals for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, and there were some surprising (and some expected) trends. Here are nine that caught our attention:

1. Carey Price(notes)

The story of the early voting, without question. He was considered by many to be a "snub" when the ballots were released, as the Montreal Canadiens goalie was in the midst of a fantastic start (12-7, 2.05 GAA, .932 save percentage, 4 shutouts). Not helping matters: His former teammate and competitive rival Jaroslav Halak(notes) was on the ballot for the St. Louis Blues while Price was not. 

In the early voting, Price's name was written in 71,199 times to lead all goaltenders. Halak was fourth at 47,483.

This huge total is a combination of Canadiens fans once again doing some ballot box stuffing (check out some of the write-in totals for Habs players, as well as vote totals for those on the ballot). But it's also recognition that a goalie who clearly should be an all-star is getting the public support to become one. 

2. Meanwhile, There's a Sergei Surge

Flyers fans have been as proactive as any fan base in the voting, writing in Claude Giroux(notes) to the No. 11 spot among forwards and Chris Pronger(notes) to No. 3 among defensemen, about 2,700 votes behind Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) for the Detroit Red Wings. But getting Sergei Bobrovsky(notes) into the No. 2 slot among goalies as a rookie write-in is impressive. His 58,101 votes are more than 11,000 more than Tim Thomas(notes) of the Boston Bruins (47,646) in third-place, who was on the ballot.

With rookie slots open for goalies, he should make the game regardless; but it's impressive nonetheless.

3. The Write Stuff (Non-Goalies)

Speaking of write-ins, here are the top vote-getters for non-goalies. Semin was perhaps the most well-publicized snub on the NHL's ballot.

*Claude Giroux (F)

Philadelphia

54,215

*Kris Letang (D)

Pittsburgh

50,153

*Tomas Plekanec (F)

Montreal

48,749

*P.K. Subban (D)

Montreal

41,268

*Alexander Semin (F)

Washington

27,304

*Patrick Sharp (F)

Chicago

23,522

4. I'll Be Taking My Apathy To South Beach

The Florida Panthers have three players on the ballot: Tomas Vokoun(notes), David Booth(notes) and Bryan McCabe(notes). Combined, they have 9,722 All-Star Game votes; which means more people have written in Chris Stewart(notes) of the Colorado Avalanche (9,762) than have voted for a Panther on the ballot.


5. Could Ovechkin Fall Out Of The Top 3?

Your top forwards in the early all-star voting:

Forwards

Sidney Crosby

Pittsburgh

118,755

Alex Ovechkin

Washington

80,169

Jonathan Toews

Chicago

79,953

Steven Stamkos

Tampa Bay

78,833


The more Steven Stamkos(notes) chases history, the more support he'll receive. As of right now, Alex Ovechkin(notes) has the fourth-highest vote total behind Crosby, Duncan Keith(notes) and Lidstrom.

However, should this be a surprise? Ovechkin famously finished sixth among Eastern Conference forwards in 2009, prompting Coach Bruce Boudreau to say, "It's dumb ... It's not right the best player in the game is not a starter."

Ovechkin can still start under the new All-Star Game rules even if he doesn't make the Top 3.

6. Ilya Kovalchuk(notes)

Even if Ovechkin tumbles down the vote rankings, he's still not Ilya Kovalchuk (7,669 votes). The New Jersey Devils star, suffering through a season from hell, is ranked No. 58 among forwards, right behind a write-in campaign for Jussi Jokinen(notes) (8,013) and ahead of that perennial all-star R.J. Umberger(notes) (7,470).

7. Sean Avery(notes) > BizNasty

In our 2011 NHL All-Star Game election guide, we noted that the Sean Avery campaign orchestrated by a few New York Rangers blogs had a chance to take off. So far, so good: The pest has earned 17,494 write-in votes, which blows away the 9,591 garnered by Paul Bissonnette of the Phoenix Coyotes, who had a much more publicized fan campaign behind him. First a boosted cell phone, now this.

8. Carolina Home-Cookin'

The 2011 NHL All-Star Game is in Raleigh, and some of the totals show the fans are jacked. Eric Staal(notes) (38,141), Chad LaRose(notes) (15,214, write-in) and rookie Jeff Skinner(notes) (16,652, write-in) are among the Canes polling well; Cam Ward(notes) has more votes at the moment than Roberto Luongo(notes). (Update: There's a fan movement afoot for Skinner.)

9. Finally, the Worst 2,500 Votes Ever Cast

Will the person or persons responsible for giving New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit(notes), who has missed the entire season, his 2,500 vote please report to the principal's office ...

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