This morning the NHL announced the balloting results for the 2012 All-Star Game in Ottawa and it’s a Northeast Division rout. As voted in by the fans, the Boston’s Tim Thomas (626,540 votes) and Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf (614,933) made the cut as well. Thanks to an overwhelming turnout out the polls by Senators fans, Jason Spezza (817,483), Milan Michalek (743,977) and Daniel Alfredsson (897,055) swept the forward position. A last day surge by fans at the polls propelled all three players ahead of Toronto’s Phil Kessel – who finished fourth with 701,833 votes.
The NHL’s point leader amongst defenceman, Erik Karlsson received the most votes of anyone on the ballot. His 939,591 votes bested the second-place Phaneuf’s by more than 300,000.
Now that the voting process is over and the results have been fully realized, it’s a bit of a bittersweet moment for Sens fans. Not only does it continue the newish tradition of seeing Kessel get slighted, it’s fantastic to see the Senators fanbase mobilize and accomplish its intended goals: to reward some deserving players like Karlsson and Spezza and commemorate Alfie’s legacy in Ottawa.
And therein lies the bittersweet moment. As fantastic of an opportunity as this to honor some players, the 2012 All-Star Game is essentially a grandiose platform to eulogize the captain’s career in Ottawa. Even if Alfie goes on to play for one, two or four more years, there’s not a Sens fan out there who doesn’t recognize that the end of his career is drawing to a close.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t use this opportunity to drop trou and shit on the efforts of the Project Mayhem crowd. The brainchild of the fine folks over at Pension Plan Puppets, Project Mayhem was designed with the intent to irk Senators fans. With a coordinated effort to vote former Senators players like Chara, Heatley, Hossa, Havlat, Emery and Campoli into the game, it was supposed to serve as a reminder of how some poor managerial decisions have haunted the Senators organization.
Suffice it to say, while Project Mayhem started out of gate strong, it has faded faster than the Leafs in the standings.
So cue the booing. Inevitably, there are going to be complaints about the ballot box stuffing practices of Sens fans to get their players into the game. Nevertheless, maybe if some out of town fans weren’t so set on voting in former Senators players, they could have boosted the vote totals of their own players.