Fans of the Montreal Canadiens are intent on seeing an all-Habs starting lineup for the Eastern Conference at the NHL all-star game. Fair enough - the league let's fans vote in the starters to help create interest and that would certainly bring some serious buzz to the Bell Centre on Jan. 25.
But The Canadian Press's current ballot includes just one Habs starter. Here's a look at who we're picking so far for both teams:
1. Simon Gagne, Philadelphia. After missing most of last season with concussion problems, he has taken the NHL by storm. Not only is Gagne among the league's top scorers, he's also been extremely consistent by registering at least a point in 18 of 20 games.
2. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh. The league's Silent Superstar is still doing a lot of talking with his play. Malkin is the top scorer in the NHL right now and has a legitimate chance to become the second straight Russian to win the Art Ross Trophy.
3. Alexander Semin, Washington. Until being slowed by a recent upper-body injury, he was the best player named Alex wearing a Caps jersey - and that's really saying something. Semin's plus-17 rating looks awfully good alongside all those points.
Honourable mentions: Alex Ovechkin, Marc Savard, Zach Parise, Sidney Crosby and Jeff Carter.
1. Mike Green, Washington. A strong start suggests that last year's breakout season wasn't a fluke. Green is putting up the points and remains a reliable defensive player for coach Bruce Boudreau.
2. Andrei Markov, Montreal. This is something of a sentimental pick, although he logs significant minutes for the Habs and has contributed offensively. Ultimately, Markov gets the nod because no one else is significantly more qualified at this point.
Honourable mentions: Dennis Wideman, Wade Redden and Mark Streit.
1. Tim Thomas, Boston. Not only is the journeyman one of the most likable players in the NHL, he's also the main reason why the Bruins are in first place. Check out his numbers: .940 save percentage, 1.88 goals-against average and two shutouts. Awesome.
Honourable mentions: Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist.
1. Marian Hossa, Detroit. This man deserves his due. Hossa took a risk by spurning more lucrative free-agent offers over the summer and has since taken his game to another level in Motown. Everyone knew he could score, but who thought he'd fit in so well in Detroit's two-way system?
2. Patrick Marleau, San Jose. He's leading by example. Marleau captains the NHL's best team and appears headed for 80-plus points for just the second time in his career. On top of that, he's also got the best plus-minus rating on the Sharks.
3. Patrick Kane, Chicago. The all-star game should be about showcasing the league's young talent and few are better than Kane. He's among the top-10 scorers in the NHL and has become an emotional leader for the surging Blackhawks. Keep in mind that Kane only celebrated his 20th birthday last week.
Honourable mentions: Ryan Getzlaf, Jarome Iginla, Teemu Selanne, Daniel Sedin and Devin Setoguchi.
1. Shea Weber, Nashville. An appearance at the all-star game could be just the start - don't be surprised if Weber's name also pops up in the conversation about Norris Trophy voting later in the season. He leads all defencemen in points with 21 and would already be considered a star if he was playing in a true hockey market.
2. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit. As an early lifetime achievement award, he should be given a starting spot every year until retirement. Lidstrom has been one of the best players in the league at any position over the last decade and is having yet another steady season at age 38.
Honourable mentions: Dan Boyle, Chris Pronger and Willie Mitchell.
1. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver. This pick will obviously change if Luongo's groin injury keeps him out for a significant period of time. At this point, it's impossible to ignore the five shutouts in 19 games and the big impact the captain has had on the surprising Canucks.
Honourable mentions: Niklas Backstrom and Brian Boucher.