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Which players have most grassroots support for NHL All-Star Game?

The first results from the 2012 NHL All-Star Game voting are in, and … well, the game's in Ottawa, and there are three Senators (Erik Karlsson(notes), Daniel Alfredsson(notes) and Jason Spezza(notes)) and one ex-Senator (Zdeno Chara(notes)) currently in starting positions on the balloting.

So clearly Ottawa Senators fans are motivated off the start … or at least more motivated than the Project Mayhem saboteurs who wanted to vote in ex-Sens to make it all very awkward for the home team. Dany Heatley(notes) of the Minnesota Wild, the target for much of that chicanery, was ranked No. 52 among forwards with 17,489 votes.

But there's still time for a groundswell of fan support for any candidate — including a slew of write-in candidates who have hit the results.

Which NHL players have the most grassroots support so far?

As we previously reported, the NHL tightened its rules on multiple votes from a single voter, making ballot box flooded more difficult than it was in the Vote For Rory days.

Here are the write-in candidates making an impact this season:

GOALIE LEADER: Tim Thomas(notes), Boston Bruins - 95,681

WRITE-INS

Corey Crawford(notes), Chicago Blackhawks - 36,921 (12th)
Craig Anderson(notes), Ottawa Senators - 17,923
Antti Niemi(notes), San Jose Sharks - 10,025
Jhonas Enroth(notes), Buffalo Sabres - 7,893
Ondrej Pavelec(notes), Winnipeg Jets - 5,871
Brian Elliott(notes), St. Louis Blues - 5,518
Mike Smith(notes), Phoenix Coyotes - 4,434
Semyon Varlamov(notes), Colorado Avalanche - 4,415
Cory Schneider(notes), Vancouver Canucks - 3,572

Crawford has more support than players like Ryan Miller(notes) (32,673) and Martin Brodeur(notes) (27,309), as one of the more prominent All-Star Game snubs.

DEFENSEMEN LEADERS: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators - 147,468; Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins - 110,098

Dan Girardi(notes), New York Rangers - 37,836
Aaron Rome(notes), Vancouver Canucks - 23,304
Brooks Orpik(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins - 11,504
Ryan McDonagh(notes), New York Rangers - 9,718
Sami Salo(notes), Vancouver Canucks - 7,229
Dennis Seidenberg(notes), Boston Bruins - 5,858
Kevin Bieksa(notes), Vancouver Canucks - 5,806
Adam Larsson(notes), New Jersey Devils - 4,840
Kevin Shattenkirk(notes), St. Louis Blues - 4,383
Christian Ehrhoff(notes), Buffalo Sabres - 4,316
Josh Gorges(notes), Montreal Canadiens - 3,998
John Carlson(notes), Washington Capitals - 3,838
Toni Lydman(notes), Anaheim Ducks - 3,188
Kyle Quincey(notes), Colorado Avalanche - 3,065
Nick Leddy(notes), Chicago Blackhawks - 2,727
Tim Gleason(notes), Carolina Hurricanes - 2,706
Johnny Boychuk(notes), Boston Bruins - 2,664
Dmitry Kulikov(notes), Florida Panthers - 2,619

Rangers fans have the most effective grassroots campaign so far, voting defensive defenseman and ballot snub Dan Girardi into 18th among defensemen and ahead of players like Drew Doughty(notes) (37,355), Dustin Byfuglien(notes) (32,230) and his own Rangers blueline mate Marc Staal(notes) (27,323).

There was also a spike in support for Rome after his recent offensive output.

None of these write-ins match the shock value of Sergei Gonchar(notes) (89,561) ranking seventh in the voting. Really, Ottawa? Really?

FORWARDS LEADERS: Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators - 131,774; Phil Kessel(notes), Toronto Maple Leafs - 128,390; Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators - 117,899.

WRITE-INS

Tyler Seguin(notes), Boston Bruins - 41,443  (24th)
Ryan Callahan(notes), New York Rangers - 14,421
Johan Franzen(notes), Detroit Red Wings - 11,522
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins(notes), Edmonton Oilers - 10,188
Max Pacioretty(notes), Montreal Canadiens - 9,545
Craig Smith(notes), Nashville Predators - 8,442
Kris Versteeg(notes), Florida Panthers - 5,718
Mikhail Grabovski(notes), Toronto Maple Leafs - 5,500
Valtteri Filppula(notes), Detroit Red Wings - 5,157
Matt Cooke(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins - 5,063
Derek Stepan(notes), New York Rangers - 4,631
T.J. Oshie(notes), St. Louis Blues - 4,368
Brad Marchand(notes), Boston Bruins - 3,957
Alexander Burmistrov, Winnipeg Jets - 3,893
Derek Roy(notes), Buffalo Sabres - 3,450
Logan Couture(notes), San Jose Sharks - 3,364
Saku Koivu(notes), Anaheim Ducks - 3,359
Evander Kane(notes), Winnipeg Jets - 3,352
David Legwand(notes), Nashville Predators - 3,117
Stephen Weiss(notes), Florida Panthers - 2,928
Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues - 2,918
Sean Avery(notes), New York Rangers - 2,897
Gabriel Landeskog(notes), Colorado Avalanche - 2,703
Paul Bissonnette(notes), Phoenix Coyotes - 2,581

Derek Roy really wasn't on the All-Star ballot?

Seguin, and rightfully so, is getting a ton of grassroots support for his impressive start. He's tallied more votes than Henrik Zetterberg(notes) (37,256), Anze Kopitar(notes) (36,922) and Joe Thronton (34,760). He's also gotten more votes than his on-the-ballot teammates Patrice Bergeron(notes) (35,246) and Milan Lucic(notes) (29,820). Oh, and some dude named Taylor Hall(notes) (24,943).

He might be the only write-in with a shot at getting into the top three. Not because he's close to the leaders, because he's not. But because he has an activist fan base and could have more widespread support from around the League.

The other interesting story is the rookies: The Nuge has more votes than Corey Perry(notes), last year's Hart winner; Craig Smith has more than Bobby Ryan(notes). OK, this might just be an indictment of the Ducks' support than anything else.

But the best story of the write-in voting? Bissonnette. Not because he's making waves, but because he has more votes than Jeff Carter(notes) (2,560), who has the lowest vote total for any player that's on the NHL All-Star Game ballot this season. Go Jackets go!

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