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Luongo's lead firm; all else wild out west in XM NHL All-Star Fan Balloting, presented by 2K Sports

Wednesday, 12.10.2008 / 12:13 PM / 2009 NHL All-Star Game

NHL.com

NEW YORK – Vancouver's Roberto Luongo continues to maintain his large lead among goaltenders and Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom and Calgary's Dion Phaneuf remain strong contenders to start on defense for the Western Conference. But a wild battle is raging up front with three weeks still remaining in the XM NHL® All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports that will determine the starting lineups for the Jan. 25 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal.

As was the case a week ago, Detroit winger Marian Hossa had received the most votes among Western Conference forwards as of 7 a.m. today. However, his closest competitor no longer was a Red Wings teammate. Calgary captain Jarome Iginla had moved into second place and had closed to within 10,110 votes of Hossa's lead.

Detroit linemates Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were right on Iginla's heels while Chicago's dynamic young duo of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews had received recent surges of support that had them within striking distance of All-Star starting spots.

Luongo increased his lead over the rest of the Western Conference goaltending field in the past week. He had a 191,097-vote bulge over San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov, who had nudged ahead of Detroit's Chris Osgood and into second place as of this morning.

WHAT FANS ARE SAYING

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"I want to know which worthy All-Stars I missed..."

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On defense, the story was similar. Lidstrom remained the leading vote-getter (his 387,541 votes were tops among all Western Conference players) with Phaneuf more than 138,000 votes ahead of all contenders for the second blue line starting spot. Still, as voting in the Eastern Conference has shown, Chicago's Brian Campbell, Detroit's Brian Rafalski or any number of other Western Conference defensemen are just one strong week from staking their claims.

The vote totals, as of 7 a.m. ET, in the fan balloting for the Western Conference starters are detailed below.

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 http://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.