COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Rick Nash and goaltender Pascal Leclaire are among the players who have been named to the Western Conference ballot in XM/NHL All-Star Fan Balloting, Presented by 2K Sports, the club and National Hockey League announced November 6. Balloting will open on Tuesday, November 13.
Nash, who leads the Blue Jackets and is among NHL leaders in goals and points this season with 10 goals and six assists for 16 points in 13 games, is a two-time All-Star. In 2004 at the age of 19, he became the youngest player since 1986 to appear in an All-Star Game and was held scoreless in the contest at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Last season, he had 2-2-4 to lead the Western Conference to a 12-9 win at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The 23-year-old was the first overall pick of the 2002 Entry Draft and has registered 126-97-223 in 296 career games with the Blue Jackets.
Leclaire, who turns 25 on Wednesday, has been the NHL's top goaltender through the first five weeks of the season. He has compiled a 7-2-0 record with a 1.12 goals-against average, .957 save percentage and five shutouts in nine games. He leads the NHL in GAA, save percentage and shutouts, while ranking second in wins (tied). His five shutouts have tied the club record and mark the first time in the modern era of the NHL (since 1943-44) that a goaltender has recorded five shutouts in his first 10 starts. Leclaire was the eighth overall pick of the 2001 Entry Draft and is playing in his third NHL season.
For the second consecutive season, the NHL-All Star Fan Balloting process will be entirely digital. From Nov. 13 through Jan. 2, fans around the world can "Vote Now, Vote Often" online at NHL.com to select the starting lineups for the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta from among the 104 players appearing on the ballots. In addition, U.S. fans also can cast votes through Verizon Wireless cell phones.
The 2007-08 season marks the 20th year in which fans will determine the starting lineups for the NHL All-Star Game. Fans can vote for six Eastern Conference All-Stars and six Western Conference All-Stars: three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender for each team. If a player is not listed on the ballot, a space is provided for "write-in" votes. The three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender from each Conference receiving the most votes will comprise the starting lineups. Each of the 30 NHL clubs has at least two representatives on the ballot.
XM, which airs every NHL game for every team as the exclusive satellite radio network of the NHL, is the Title Sponsor and 2K Sports, a leading publisher of current and next generation sports video games including NHL® 2K8 featuring Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza, returns as the Presenting Sponsor.
NHL broadcast partners VERSUS (U.S.), RDS (Canada) and NASN (Europe) will team up with the NHL to deliver a comprehensive and global on-air presence to All-Star Fan Balloting. Each broadcast partner will provide unique, in-game "Vote Now, Vote Often" features, broadcast promos and online direct links to the NHL All-Star Fan Balloting section on NHL.com.
The XM/NHL All-Star Fan Balloting, Presented by 2K Sports section on NHL.com will feature an interactive ballot, showcasing players with video clips, photos and virtual video game highlights created from in-game NHL® 2K8 footage. Residents of the United States and Canada who vote will be able to register for a chance to win a variety of daily prizes, including XM XpressRC radios with three months of free service, 2K Sports games, autographed 2008 NHL All-Star jerseys and shop.NHL.com gift certificates. One grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to attend the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in a private suite joined by former NHL players, courtesy of XM.
The 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend in Atlanta will feature live national broadcasts of the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills event on Saturday, Jan. 26 and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 27 on VERSUS in the United States and CBC and RDS in Canada. NASN and other international broadcasters will provide live coverage of both the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills event and the NHL All-Star Game to more than 115 countries and territories in Europe. NHL RADIO on Westwood One will provide exclusive, national radio coverage which can be heard on stations around the United States and Canada as well as on XM Satellite Radio's NHL Home Ice and NHL.com.
The Blue Jackets return to action on Wednesday when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks. Game time from United Center is set for 8:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage on FSN Ohio will begin with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show starting at 8 p.m. The game will also be broadcast live on the Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship stations WBNS-AM, Sports Radio 1460 The Fan and WWCD-FM, CD101.
Tickets to Blue Jackets home games are on sale now at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, FSN Ohio Blue Line Team Store locations at The Chiller Easton, Chiller Dublin, Chiller North and The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, as well as all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. Fans can also purchase by phone at (614) 431-3600 or online at www.BlueJackets.com and www.ticketmaster.com. For information on season and group tickets, call (614) 246-PUCK or (800) NHL-COLS.