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Press the Hammer for Stammer

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

With the numerous individual accolades he has already earned in his young, but promising career, it is no surprise that 20-year-old center Steven Stamkos is at it again. For a second consecutive year, the Tampa Bay Lightning forward ranks among league leaders in several offensive categories through just 36 games played, with more than half of the season still yet to be played.

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The Markham, Ontario native, who as of December 28, leads the NHL with 12 power-play goals, six game-winning goals and 23 power-play points, while also coming in second with 28 goals and 50 points, has confirmed his identity as a league superstar worthy of mention in the same breath as the NHL elite. What is even more impressive, however, is in recent weeks he has added another league-leading statistic to his name, coming as a direct result of the same stellar play that also earned him a Rocket Richard Trophy a season ago.

Entering play Tuesday, Stamkos ranked fourth in all-star fan balloting with 269,917 votes behind Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (289,878 votes), Chicago’s Jonathan Toews (308,192 votes) and leading vote-getter Sidney Crosby (523,822). With exactly one week of fan voting left, Stamkos still has a chance to claim a familiar position in the top spot among league leaders.

Fans! You can help Stamkos represent the Lightning in the 58th annual NHL All-Star Game, to be held January 30 in Raleigh, North Carolina, by casting your votes often until January 3. Each individual will be able to select up to six players by position including three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender, without regard to the conference in which their teams play. As part of a new format for the 2011 contest, the three forwards, two defensemen and goaltender with the most votes will be named first NHL All-Stars. The remainder of the 42 selections will be made by league officials and the teams will be chosen, alternately, by designated captains.

Fans may vote up to 30 times a day by casting Stamkos as their choice either online at NHL.com/vote¸ the NHL’s official Facebook page at facebook.com/NHL or by texting “Stamkos” to mobile shortcode 81812.

Let’s make Stamkos’ first career appearance on the NHL All-Star Game fan ballot a memorable one.

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