The NHL has officially opened their website for All Star voting and the process is now underway! As we mentioned last week, Eric Staal, Cam Ward, and Joni Pitkanen are already on ballots and fans can vote for them by just clicking the designated box. But the league also has a provision for a write in, which means everyone and anyone has a chance to make it to the classic. (See the following link)
Fans seem to be all over the map about who they would like to see in this game and who deserves to be in. One reason for this is because there are no official guidelines or criteria for making the team. What exactly qualifies a player to get into the game? Last year's stats? This season's stats? The broad scope, or overall career of the player? No one knows. Even NHL Hockey Operations, the designated individuals responsible for making the decisions, seem to be vague and inconsistent with their selections.
Rule one is a no-brainer. Each team should have at least one representative. There are 30 teams in this league and each should have a voice. (Too bad the television gurus who make the broadcast schedules don't feel the same way.) But after that, anything goes. One could just look at the stat sheets and automatically fill in the rest of the line up with the top performers, year-to-date. But then why allow fans to vote at all? Just use the stat sheet.
The NHL wants fans to be involved because this is a fun event, so fans should be allowed to vote for their favorite players regardless of the reasoning. Realistically, how serious of an event is this anyway? The league changed the format at the last minute and decided that two captains will choose up sides like on a playground. And fans are supposed to be worried about possibly slighting a player who might be more deserving of attending this game?
In 2006-07, Vancouver fans started a bandwagon drive for Rory Fitzpatrick which turned into an international sensation. Fitzpatrick, who was not even a full time player for the Canucks, received over 500,000 votes and almost made it in. (some still claim that the NHL altered the final outcome). Then in 2008-09, Montreal fans allegedly "rigged" the voting and got all six starters for the East squad in by popular vote.
That will not happen this time because the teams are not yet known and fans only vote for six players, not 12 as in the past. Still, anything can happen and the "wildcard" efforts by fans make the process more interesting.
There are presently a couple of different All Star campaigns running for Hurricane players and I'm told a couple more are in the works.
First up is the "Jussi4ASG" campaign. This group has been active for some time and have an official web page - Jussi Jokinen for NHL All Star Game, as well as a Facebook page and Twitter account. While Jokinen has had a bit of a rough start this season, he led the Hurricanes with 30 goals last year and has been among the league leaders in shootout results his entire career.
There is also a "VoteforChad" campaign which you can also find on Facebook. (Sorry I don't have a link at the moment, but if you search Facebook for it, you will find the page.) What can you say about Chad LaRose that hasn't already been said? More than once called, the "Chuck Norris of Hockey", Chad was never drafted and worked his way from the ECHL to the NHL, all on his own. He is a symbol for the saying, "anything is possible".
Cases could be made for other Canes as well. If you have a campaign and would like Canes Country to make note of it, please send the info in an email and let us know. We will be happy to spread the word.
Best of luck to the various campaigns