November 05, 2008
Yesterday, the National Hockey League revealed the ballot for upcoming All Star Game in Montreal. As Wysh mentioned on Monday, this year's voting process will again be all digital and the league will provide real-time updates of voting numbers.
After taking a look at the ballot for the first time, one might think that the NHL picked the top players from each team and threw them together on the list ... in August. There are plenty of head scratchers that you can vote for, you know, if you're into honorary all-stars or "Vote for Rory" backers.
New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro has played an entire 138 minutes this season; and as we found out over the weekend, he'll be out the next 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. Marty Biron has been awful in Philadelphia. Yet we might see them both line up with the East in Montreal.
If DiPietro is voted in, you can be assured he won't play, but definitely will be on the bench to work the door like he did for New York in the beginning of the season.
Martin Brodeur is once again on the ballot, but with the news of him being out for the next 3-4 months with a bicep injury, why couldn't the league replace him with someone like Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas? Now fans will have to begin a write-in campaign for Thomas or Lightning goalie Mike Smith if they want to see him play a period in Montreal.
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney's injury status was revealed in mid-August; Teammate Sergei Gonchar's shoulder prognosis has been known since the end of September, but both found their way onto the list of eligible defenseman to be voted for. Left out in the cold are guys like Ottawa's Filip Kupa, the Islanders' Mark Streit and New York Rangers' Dan Girardi, who are all having good seasons and, unlike Gonchar and Whitney, actually playing games.
Biggest ballot snub has to go to Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks. He's currently the league's third-leading scorer, two points behind Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Semin. His teammate however, Jonathan Toews, he of zero goals this season, made the list on name alone. You won't find Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry or Devin Setoguchi on the West ballot either.
While there are a number of well-deserved players who were left off the ballot and might likely not be voted in by fans, there's always the chance they will be named to either team due to injuries or to the reserves which are selected by the NHL's hockey operations department after discussions with general managers.
In the meantime, what say you on the biggest ballot snub? Is there any player you'd like to see involved in a "Vote for Rory" campaign this season?
Would Sean Avery starting for the Western Conference, in one of the league's biggest marketing showcases, make Gary Bettman's head asplode?