In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, "When will people learn? Democracy doesn't work!" While democracy works better than any other system humans have cobbled together to form governments, it's a miserable way to pick an NHL All-Star team.
The NHL first gave the vote to the fans in 1985 and then after a flurry of ballot stuffing took it away. Fan voting for NHL all-stars soon returned. The inability of that system to even attempt to accurately assess who the best NHL players are for the first half of the season has always been painfully evident.
Thirty teams in the league make it unlikely that most NHL fans have even seen all the players play a complete game. Generally, the NHL ballot is missing some of the best players in the league every year. A created ballot just can't keep up with what's happening in the league in real time nor include all the players who deserve consideration.
This year, the fans were only required to put together one league-wide first All-Star team. This has the virtue of limiting their input but also seems to attract the stuffers in droves.
The fans chose three centers, two defenseman and a goalie from the Piittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Black Hawks. Apparently the NHL feels that making the distinction between centers and wingers is too complex for NHL fans.
The fans chose Sidney Crosby as first line center and he would be first line center using any system. They took Jonathon Toews another center and Duncan Keith a defenseman from the Chicago Blackhawks. They're both great complete players and both deserve consideration, but neither should be on the first line of a league-wide All-Star team.
Kris Letang a defenseman, Evgeni Malkin another center and Marc-Andre Fleury the goaltender from the Pittsburgh Penguins were chosen to fill out the first line All-Star team.
Letang has had a great offensive year filling in for the departed Sergei Gonchar. He has offensive skills and he's playing on a power play with Crosby and Malkin. In some worlds he might be a second team Eastern All-Star.
Fluery had a miserable start but has rebounded and is probably right now the third or fourth best goalie in the East. That's good but that doesn't make him close to first team All-Star in the entire league.
Evgeni is another great player who is having a sub-par offensive year. He has 34 points in 38 games. He has fewer points than Kris Letang. He's the ninth leading scoring center in the East this year. If he wasn't voted, on the talented Malkin would be unlikely to make the NHL Eastern Conference All-Star team at all.
Generally, in the past, this midway all-star team has rewarded players with offensive numbers. It's a game about flash and skill. Jonathon Toews or Mike Richards may be your top center when you're trying to win a tournament or a Stanley Cup, but the midseason All-Star game is about something else.
This is my attempt to put together the players who would have made "my" first and second teams in the Eastern and Western Conference. It is not rocket science and is mostly done from offensive numbers.
This is my attempt to honour the NHLers who have had a great first half in the 2010-11 season.
Atlanta Thrasher goalie Ondrej Pavelec has been one of the big reasons the Thrashers are competing for a playoff spot. Atlanta has given up a ton of goals but Pavelec sports a .932 save percentage in the 30 games he's played and a 2.27 goals against average.
He, Cam Ward, Henrik Lundquist, Carey Price and Tomas Vokoun all arguably have better numbers than Marc-Andre Fleury this year.
Yes that's two Atlanta Thrashers on the second All-Star team. The tiny Swedish born player Tobias Enstrom is having a great offensive year. He's third in league scoring for all defenseman tied with Kris Letang.
Marc Staal of the New York Rangers is my nod to the defensive defenseman.
Staal is the shut-down defenseman on the Rangers. He's big and mean and careful with the puck. The big D-man plays the third most minutes in the league.
I know I'll stop soon. Ladd is another Thrasher having a great offensive year. Andrew entered the league on the back of great junior offensive seasons when he was teamed with Ryan Getzlaf. He never lived up to that offensive promise until now.
His 35 points put him behind Patrick Sharp, but I think Sharp plays enough center to disqualify him. Ladd is a responsible hard-working left-winger who has found his offense again.
Alex Semin also deserves consideration in this spot, but I chose Ladd in the end as the more complete player.
Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers is having a good first half this year. The speedy youngster has 16 goals and 36 points so far to be the second leading scorer from the right side in the East this year.
Steven Stamkos is the obvious answer to the question who is the second best player in the NHL right now. He is second in goals scored and points to only Sidney Crosby this year and is the natural choice as the second line center in the East.
Tim Thomas was another obvious easy pick. Like he did in his Vezina winning year Thomas is leading all NHL starters in save percentage and goals against average.
The only goalie in the league with similar numbers right now is Pavelec.
Kris Letang is having a great offensive year. He's playing a lot of minutes on a penguins defense that doesn't give up many shots.
Dustin Byfuglien is continuing a tradition of converted forwards making quality offensive defensemen that probably started with "Dit" Clapper. He's leading the league in goals for a defensman with 16, and points with 41.
He has that great heavy shot from the point. He's probably never going to be a great defensive defenseman, but he's found a niche in Atlanta and he's exploiting it for all he's worth.
All rumours to the contrary, Alex Ovechkin is still a great player in this league. The "more than a point a game" left winger is still a dangerous sniper. The rest of the league seems to have temporarily figured him out and slowed him down. Don't expect that to last forever.
Martin St Louis is having another great year for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The injury to Vincent Lecavalier seemed to energize St Louis. His 52 points put him first among all right wingers in the league and fifth in league scoring.
The fans couldn't miss this pick as Crosby is the best player in the league so far. The concussion he got in the Winter Classic may prevent him from leading the league at the end of the year.
Jonas Hiller has been a workhorse for the Ducks this year. He has played the second most minutes in the league this year behind only Carey Price. He is third in the league in wins, tied with Pekka Rinne for third in the league in save percentage among starters at .926. He is 14th in GAA and has three shutouts.
Seabrook is developing into one of the great shut-down defensive defensemen in the league. He's the league leader in hits and close to the top in minutes played.
The slick-skating Slovak is the playmaker and power play quarterback in Anaheim. He is the fifth leading scoring defenseman in the league and second in the West.
The defensively responsible, but offensively skilled Eriksson is one of a group of Dallas Stars forwards with both these attributes on their resumes. Eriksson is, however, having a much better offensive year than either James Neal or Jamie Benn.
Eriksson has one more goal and one more point than Alex Ovechkin so far this year.
The eternal Finn, Teemu Selanne, has as many points as fellow Western right wingers Dany Heatley and Jarome Iginla ,but he's scored those 37 points in seven fewer games. Here's a chance to honour that early season success before it's too late and he's gone.
This was probably the toughest pick of the bunch taking the offensively talented Slovenia over the equally successful Brad Richards and Henrik Zetterberg. Sometimes you just have to vote your heart.
Pekka hasn't been as busy as Jonas Hiller. Still the Nashville Predator goalie is tied for the third best save percentage in the league among starting goalies.
His 2.16 goals against average put him behind only tim Thomas and Jonathon Quick. He's been crucial to keeping a Nashville team that's 16th in the number of shots they give up a game, third in the number of goals they give up per game.
Keith represents that nice balance between skilled defensive play and offensive numbers from a defenseman. The Chicago Blackhawk is a league-leader in minutes played,
The puck mover has good offensive numbers to go with tight defensive play.
Nickals Lidstrom is the leading offensive defenseman in the west while still being one of the premier defensive defensemen in the league. At 40 years of age, the defenseman is still earning his $6.2 million a year.
Daniel Sedin, with 25 goals and 54 points in 41 games, is tied for third in points in the NHL and is third in goals scored. He's having another amazing year for the Vancouver Canucks.
Corey Perry is leading the scoring among right wingers in the Western Conference.
Henrik Sedin is tied in points scored with his brother Daniel for third in the league with 54. The playmaker has reverted to his old form with only nine goals and 45 assists, but after last year we all know how many goals he can score if he has too.
This is just a summary of the amount of players from teams that made my two All-Star teams:
Anaheim Ducks : 4 (1 first, 3 second)
Atlanta Thrashers : 4 (1 first, 3 second)
Pittsburgh Penguins : 2 ( 2 first)
Vancouver Canucks : 2 ( 2 first)
Tampa Bay Lightning : 2 (1 first,1 second)
Chicago Blackhawks : 2 (1 first,1 second)
Washington Capitals : 1 ( 1 first)
Boston Bruins: 1 (1 first)
Detroit Red Wings: 1 (1 first)
Nashville Predators: 1 (1 first)
LA Kings: 1 ( 1 second )
Dallas Stars : 1 ( 1 second)
Phialdelphia Flyers : 1 (1 second)
New York Rangers : 1 (1 second)