Hitting their laptops and mobile phones hard over the last several days, Pens fans not only lifted captain Sidney Crosby into a start-worthy spot, they had him leading all Eastern Conference vote-getters as of 7 a.m. today in the NHL All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports. What’s more, threatening not only to stop the Canadiens’ hopes of sweeping the six starting positions but to make the Eastern Conference team a Pittsburgh-heavy outfit, they’ve voted Evgeni Malkin to within 5,000 votes of a game-opening spot up front and defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to within hailing distance of the front-running Canadiens.
Crosby’s 598,418 votes as of this morning hopped him over Montreal’s Alex Kovalev and Saku Koivu into the top spot among Eastern Conference forwards. Those three would be the starters up front had balloting ended this morning for the NHL All-Star Game that will be played Jan. 25 in Montreal. However, balloting continues through Jan. 2.
That might enable Gonchar and Whitney to overtake the current leaders for the two starting spots on defense – Montreal’s Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek. And it give Fleury’s supporters more than three more weeks to close the 135,000 vote gap by which he trailed the Canadiens Carey Price in the balloting for the starting goaltender.
The vote totals, as of 7 a.m. ET, in the fan balloting for the Eastern Conference starters are detailed below. A Western Conference update will be issued tomorrow.
Through Jan. 2, NHL fans can vote as often as they like in the XM NHL® All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports to select the starting lineups for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal. Fans around the world can vote online via interactive English and French ballots at Vote.NHL.com. Those in the U.S. and Canada also are able to cast their votes via text message using any wireless carrier. Real-time results are available exclusively at Vote.NHL.com/results.
Fans can vote for up to six Eastern Conference players and six Western Conference players -- three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender. Fans are permitted to select as few as one player -- a balloted player or write-in -- per online ballot at Vote.NHL.com or via text message.
To vote using any wireless carrier, fans should text their favorite player’s last name to the shortcode 81812. Fans interested in voting for all of their favorite team’s balloted players can text the team nickname (e.g., Bruins) to 81812. Standard text messaging charges will apply.
XM, which airs every NHL game for every team as the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the NHL, and 2K Sports, a leading publisher of sports video games, are the NHL All-Star Fan Balloting title and presenting sponsors, respectively.
The 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend in Montreal will celebrate the Montreal Canadiens’ Centennial season with live national broadcasts of the Honda/NHL SuperSkills® event on Saturday, Jan. 24, and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 25, on VERSUS in the United States and CBC and RDS in Canada. NASN, ASN, J Sports, Sky Mexico, Fox Sports Australia and other NHL international broadcast partners will provide live coverage of both the Honda/NHL SuperSkills event and the NHL All-Star Game to more than 150 countries and territories in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific Rim, Mexico and the Caribbean. NHL Radio™ will provide exclusive, national radio coverage which can be heard on stations around the United States and Canada as well as on Sirius XM Radio's NHL Home Ice, located at XM channel 204 and on SIRIUS channel 208 with the “Best of XM” programming package. NHL.com and NHL Network will provide extensive coverage of the All-Star Weekend.