Latvian Landslide: Is It Time to Abolish the NHL All-star Fan Vote?


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 Image Credit: NHL.com

The Buffalo Sabres are near the bottom of the league in the standings but they just won first place in the all-star vote due largely in part to a small country overseas. Voting for the NHL All-stargame to be held in Columbus, Ohio next month concluded on January 1st and much to my dismay, the fans disappointed me again. But who could actually blame them? Like many other diehard hockey followers I wanted to vote for the players I felt truly deserved to play in the game based on their current season stats. Instead I ended up voting for the players on my favorite team, the New York Islanders.

I was enticed to do so on Twitter and Facebook, so I could win magnificent prizes such as a signed Jaro Halak jersey or a signed John Tavares cut out. Also, I saw other devotees of my team vote for players on other NHL clubs and be ridiculed by diehard Islander fans for not trying to vote their own players in. One fan actually told me, “Let their fans vote their own players in, we need to get our players there.” In the end though I am just as much to blame for the vote turning out the way it did as the Blackhawk fans who voted five of their own players into the starting lineup. Or the Latvians who raised up in their country, one third the size of the state of New York, and voted their countryman Zemgus Girgensons into the event. Girgensons has played 40 games this season for the Buffalo Sabres and has 11 goals, 20 points and -3 rating but led the all-star vote by beating Patrick Kane by over 300,000 votes. Kane’s stats this year dwarf Girgensons almost 2-1 (or more) in every category. My, how short NHL enthusiasts’ memories seem to be from the last all-star vote debacle.

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 Image Credit: NHL.com

When the game was held in Montreal in 2009, Habs fans came out in full force to make sure the starting line-up consisted of four of their own. Two seasons before that a virtual unknown to most casual fans of hockey was almost voted in as a starting defenseman for the 2007 NHL all-star game ahead of more deserving candidates and two future hall of famers, Scott Niedermayer and Nicklas Lidstrom. The infamous plot to get Vancouver defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick to start the All-star game was conceived as an amusing crusade by a rogue group of fans to show the NHL how flawed their voting system was by allowing people to vote as many times as they wanted for their favorite players. Rory Fitzpatrick that year had ZERO points in 18 games played. Since the ‘07 vote the NHL now allows fans to vote ONLY ten times per day per electronic device for their favorite players! Like that is going to stop any crazed fan from still trying to change the outcome of the vote. Especially an admirer who has multiple e-mail addresses, multiple electronic devices and plenty of free time on their hands. Obviously this system still needs to be amended.

I am proposing a new NHL all-star vote system in which fans are required to register with NHL.com like they already do now and choose a favorite team. Once the person chooses their favorite team they are allowed to vote for one player per day from their favorite team to represent them in the all-star game. This way every squad is represented and no fan feels left out. Hopefully this will finally put to end to fans stuffing the ballot boxes to get undeserving players selected. This game was once meant to honor players’ achievements and I think it can be that way again.

– Damian Mikrut

Follow Me @nyislanders19