NHL All-Star Game Voting Marred by Ballot Stuffing

Dan RobleContributor IDecember 9, 2008

Cast away? Seems like that is what Montreal and Pittsburgh fans have been doing quite often for their players to make the starting lineup for the 2009 NHL All Star Game in Montreal. 

For several weeks it appeared as if the Eastern Conference would be starting Montreal Canadians in all six positions.  Part of me wants to say that it was just crazy that the limit of votes be taken away so such a thing could happen with stuffing the ballot box. 

On the other hand, it is a big year for Montreal and big for them to be hosting this season's All-Star Game, so maybe having them start six would not be a bad idea after all.

Then I saw an updated listing of the voting, and noticed now its not only Montreal fans trying to get their guys to start, but also appears to be Penguins fans as well.  I am just as much to blame for this, for I indeed have voted quite often thus far via my cell phone.  A simple text message that I have saved and can send over and over gets my vote(s) in for all of the Pens on the ballot. 

What stands out to me is that Gonchar is now third in defencemen-voting.  He has not played a game yet this season and more than likely will not be back by ASG. Ryan Whitney now fourth.  Again, he has not played a game yet, though he will be back soon. 

It is not like they are barely in third and fourth, either.  Whitney holds a 100,000-vote lead on Chara, who currently sits in fifth.  Fleury has over a 300,000-vote lead on Henrik Lundqvist, who has had a much better season so far than Fleury or the leader Carey Price.

I honestly do believe Crosby and Malkin should be the top two vote-getters, and start on the top line, because they are that kind of superstar.  As for Gonchar, Whitney, and even Fleury, I am not sure if I should just laugh, as the voting process this year is just that much of a joke.

This reminds me of the strong attempt to land Rory Fitzpatrick on the All-Star squad.  The NHL had to have stepped in and limited the amount of votes he really was getting near the end just to keep it from actually happening.  I wonder if this year they tried to slow down the Montreal voting, but instead let the Pittsburgh votes catch up. 

In conclusion, there is just one other aspect that bothers me if a whole team starts.  That means other teams who have stars will not get to send more than their minimum representative just because so many spots are already taken. 

If I am correct, three goalies, six defensemen, and 12 forwards make up 21 roster spots for 15 teams per conference.  That does not leave much room at all for most teams to send more than one player to Montreal for a few days, let alone a whole starting line.