NHL All-Star comedy

asg2009_bigFolks, I’m as pumped about the Habs centennial as the next guy. But when six of the seven Montreal Canadiens on the All-Star ballot are leading the vote their categories, even nutters for La Sainte-Flanelle like me have to admit the system has gone pear-shaped. This isn’t ballot-stuffing. This is a cyberfarce that risks turning the mid-season classic into an exhibition game for the host team. Saku Koivu has three times the votes Ovechkin does in the Eastern Conference. He’s got double Alex Semin’s total—and Semin’s the hottest forward in the league, with 27 points to Saku’s 13.

You could blame this on the NHL’s all-too-gameable online voting system, which opened for business yesterday. I blame it on the league’s skewed fan base, which confers an obvious advantage on big-market Canadian teams whose fans are foaming-at-the-mouth crazy about their finally-competitive club (the fact that Tomas Kaberle is the sole Toronto player in the top 10 in his position tells you only that the so-called “Leafs Nation” is in hibernation for the season).

For fan balloting to work, you need a functional league. The NHL is a dysfunctional league.

This doesn’t mean the game will be devoid of other stars. The three forwards, two defencemen and one goalie from each conference receiving the most votes will comprise the starting lineup; the rest get hand-picked by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department, in consultation with the teams’ General Managers. But I must ask: won’t it be a bit much if the starting lineup for the East is comprised entirely of Habs, as it would be if the game were played tonight? Does Alex Kovalev really merit a spot in that lineup based on his performance to date? Why is Jay Bouwmeester, who averages 29 minutes on ice per game, nowhere to be seen in the top 10 d-men?

Isn’t this getting just a little goofy?




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NHL All-Star comedy

  1. That’s what you get if you let the fans choose – it turns into a popularity contest. Too many players get chosen based on how big their name is rather than the kind of season they’re having. The whole team should be chosen by the league.

  2. A popularity contest! This will not stand! The integrity of the All-Star Game must be protected!

  3. yeah, the other result of letting fans vote is Rory Fitzpatrick getting ripped on by Don Cherry for no absolutely no good reason.

  4. Ah, but will the league discreetly alter the vote totals like they seem to have done in the Rory Fitzpatrick affair? (See here — http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=2468 — for powerful mathematical evidence to that effect.)

  5. Selley makes the point that the All-Star Game itself is meaningless. True enough. So who really cares how we pick ‘em?

    Answer: the All-Star Game’s inherent silliness doesn’t justify making the selection process sillier still. The players get contract bonuses, endorsements and HoF consideration from these selections. While it might not matter to us, it does, in ways not entirely disconnected from the fans, matter.

  6. “For fan balloting to work, you need a functional league. The NHL is a dysfunctional league”

    Oh really? And how is this any different from what happens with the Yankees most seasons?

  7. There is apprently a web program being used that lets Habs fans vote repeatedly while not doing a thing.
    On behalf of a league that didnt need another black eye, thanks Hab fans, you guys are the classiest.

  8. The Canadiens should be removed from the Game for Vote Tampering. Maybe that would keep this from happening in the future.

    It is going to hurt the NHL if something bold is not done fast.

  9. I don’t understand what the problem is. Every professional sporting leage in North America has an all-star game that allows fans to vote for who they want to see play. Just because a lot of habs fans are passionate about the game and select habs players, doesn’t mean that “Canadiens should be removed from the game for vote tampering”. You can’t vote tamper. The NHL site only allows 1 vote per minute regardless of what kind of javascript is being used. And I don’t understand how removing the canadiens would “keep this from happening in the future”. The All-star game starters ARE a popularity contest. That’s why the NHL let’s fans choose, and the league chooses the rest. Instead of whining about why the Habs are leading every category, it’s just a testament to the hockey world that Canadiens fans are most passionate.

    It IS a popularity contest. To suggest that this is a “cyberfarce that risks turning the mid-season classic into an exhibition game for the host team” is absolutely ridiculous. Whether you are a fan of the habs are not, you have to admire the overwhelming support that Canadiens fans have given their team.

    And for any bitter leaf fan reading this, if the leafs were doing well, had the all star game, and had 6 players on the ballot, don’t think for a second that leafs fans wouldn’t be trying to do the same thing. (same goes for any other hockey city who would be in this circumstance).

    And to state “Does Alex Kovalev really merit a spot in that lineup based on his performance to date?” is irrelevant. Fan voting is based on fans making their own choices regardless of who is ‘most deserving’.

    Just get over it.

  10. Wow, Hab fans doing something classless and then trying to justify it? WHAT A SURPRISE!

  11. How is this classless? What part of ‘voting for who you want to see in the all-star game’ is classless? “Hab4life” is just stating what other fans reading this article don’t understand- that choosing the all-star starters IS a popularity contest. I’m not a Habs fan, but he has a point. If a lot of habs fans are casting their ballots to support their team, then by all means good for them. Most teams in the NHL would be desperate for the kind of support the Habs receive every season.

  12. “Why is Jay Bouwmeester, who averages 29 minutes on ice per game, nowhere to be seen in the top 10 d-men?”

    Because fans are voting for him. That’s why.

    Habs fans are stuffing the ballot box, more than any other fan base. Simple as that.

  13. *aren’t

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