The purpose of the All-Star game is to bring to fruition a bevy of talented NHL stars for a weekend of amazing skills competitions, top rookies playing against each other and culminating in the All-Star game where the best and brightest of the NHL come out to put up an obscene amount of goals for the excited onlookers within the confines of ScotiaBank Place, home of the Ottawa Senators.
The emphasis for the All-Star game should be “where the best and brightest” are showcased for the NHL and its fans. However, in the terms of this season’s ballot, that cannot be said. Of course the ultimate purpose of the All-Star weekend is to keep bringing back the talent that perennially gets picked every year. And why should this change? It keeps the fans coming back time and time again, and who could forget the Montréal Canadiens fans voting for over half of the starting lineup for the Eastern Conference two years ago with nods to Carey Price, Alexei Kovalev, Andrei Markov, and Mike Komisarek.
Such is the same this year but with a huge, glaring spot on the ballot that should not even be there….Sidney Crosby.
Seriously? A player who hasn’t skated since the Winter Classic at the beginning of the year is front and center on the NHL official ballot for the 2012 All-Star game. Crosby, of course, has zero points and has contributed nothing to the success of the Pittsburgh Penguins as of this year. The worst part is that Sidney Crosby will most likely get voted in by the fans, but is this worth taking a balloting spot away from another deserving player?
It is here where upon further examination some players are picked every year based on prior performances and appearances and this is where many a commendable forward, defenseman, or goalie may find themselves on the outside of the Plexi-glass stanchions rather than in the All-Star game.
Forwards ON the Ballot: G A P +/-
Sidney Crosby 0 0 0 0
Shane Doan 4 6 10 -5
Ryan Getzlaf 4 5 9 -4
Ilya Kovalchuk 2 7 9 -4
R.J. Umberger 1 4 5 -4
David Krejci 3 5 8 -2
Henrik Zetterberg 3 3 6 +2
Forwards NOT on Ballot G A P +/-
Tyler Seguin 11 9 20 +14
Kris Versteeg 8 9 17 +8
Johan Franzen 9 7 16 +7
Craig Smith (R) 7 7 14 -1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (R) 7 7 14 +1
Max Pacioretty 8 6 14 +3
Radim Vrbata 6 7 13 +6
Defensemen ON the Ballot: G A P +/-
Erik Johnson 0 8 8 -9
Alex Pietrangelo 2 5 7 +2
Mike Green 3 3 6 +1
Drew Doughty 2 5 7 -1
Jay Bouwmeester 1 4 5 -3
Lubomir Visnovsky 1 3 4 -7
Ed Jovanovski 2 3 5 +1
Defensemen NOT on Ballot: G A P +/-
Kyle Quincey 3 9 12 -1
Dmitry Kulikov 0 12 12 +2
Kevin Shattenkirk 2 9 11 +7
Some of these numbers indicate that other players on the same team are getting nominations when they aren’t even the most skilled defenseman on that team. Take Erik Johnson getting the nod rather than Shattenkirk or Quincey. Johnson only has 8 points and an appalling -9 compared to the 12 points/-1 of Quincey and the 11 points/+7 of Shattenkirk.
As for the net-minders, the numbers here are puzzling and definitely show the favoritism and out-right exclusivity of the goalies and their ability to get nominated time and time again no matter how disparate the numbers.
Goaltenders ON the Ballot: W L OTL GAA SV%
Jaroslav Halak 2 6 1 2.77 .882
Jonas Hiller 5 7 3 3.10 .899
Martin Brodeur 2 3 0 3.02 .880
Goaltenders NOT on Ballot: W L OTL GAA SV%
Jimmy Howard 8 3 1 1.66 .934
Mike Smith 7 2 3 2.22 .931
Johan Hedberg 6 3 1 2.29 .917
Howard not being included is a slap in the face of a goaltender that has proved over the course of two years that he should be in elite company when in comparison with other net-minders.
The voting booths opened a few days ago and you can vote up to 30 times on a single computer. When voting, be sure to use that write-in option (as it has been pointed out) there might be quite a few players deserving of getting votes that may not be on the official opening voting page for the 2012 All-Star game.