Voting for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover began Monday. For the next six weeks or so -- voting ends Jan. 3 -- NHL fans will have their voices heard as they pick part of the All-Star teams that will take the ice in Raleigh, N.C. on Jan. 30.
From a group of 100 players on the ballot, fans will vote for their top six All-Stars by position without regard to the conference in which the player plays. The ability to write-in a player also is available, but fans must choose a goalie, two defensemen and three forwards.
The players at each position receiving the most votes will be named NHL All-Stars. Then, as with previous All-Star games, the remaining 36 All-Stars will be named by the NHL Hockey Operations Department for a total of 42 All-Star players (three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards per team).
In a new wrinkle, the players themselves will choose the teams from that pool of 42 selected players.
After the 42 NHL All-Stars have been selected by Hockey Ops, two captains will be chosen per team by the All-Star players. On Jan. 28, a fantasy draft event will be held in Raleigh with all 54 NHL players (the 42 All-Stars and 12 rookies, also selected by Hockey Ops to take part in the Super Skills Competition), during which the captains will draft the remaining members of their respective teams.
First selection in the draft will be determined by coin flip and selections will continue on an alternating basis. Each team will be required to select three goalies, six defensemen and 23 forwards in any order they choose.
But before the captains pick their teams, you, the fans, must pick the first six All-Stars. It's not an easy task with the amount of superstar talent in the League today. But democracy wasn't designed to be easy.
So get voting -- whether with your heart or your head. To help in the process, here are the ballots five NHL.com staffers filed as soon as the polls opened Monday.