Saturday, January 7, 2012
Ballot stuffing makes All-Star voting irrelevant
When All-Star voting opened for this year's game in Ottawa the fix was in. Stuff the ballot box with Senators to show the world that Senators were good at something. So no surprise when the first six players named to the team were announced, four of them are current Sens. Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Eric Karlsson and Milan Michalek all made the starting lineup, with Michalek landing 300,000 votes in the final five days of voting to surpass Phil Kessel.
This happened because Sens fans came out in force, or because the league rigged the voting, or maybe just because the Leafs cannot protect a lead.
Though how does poor Senators goalie Craig Anderson feel. Even his own fans ignored him. It's obvious that Leaf fans got into the act. James Reimer was second in voting for goalies ahead of Marc-Andre Fleury, Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist. Dion Phaneuf received more votes than Zdeno Chara, Niklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber. Dion is having a great season but better than these guys? The leading NHL scorer, Claude Giroux, was 7th in voting and the leading NHL goal scorer, Steven Stamkos, was just 16th.
What the process shows is that fans if provided with the opportunity to select all-star teams do no always act responsibly. The result is that some team are over represented and because each team has at least one player selected, some very deserving players will not participate in the game.
Back in 2007 there was a vote for Rory campaign to get journeyman Rory Fitzgerald selected to the game. It almost worked but in the last few days he slipped in the voting and some suspect as a result of manipulation by the NHL office. In 2009 Canadiens fans were accused of ballot manipulation through robot Internet voting. Not sure if that was employed this year. The Ottawa fans reaction is in response to Project Mayhem which is a scheme devised by a Maple Leafs blogger to embarrass the Senators by encouraging votes to support ex-Senators like Dany Heatley, Marian Hossa, Zdena Chara.
It's all lot of silliness and contributes to the fan indifference towards the game itself,