CHICAGO -- Those outside the Chicago Blackhawks' locker room might be rolling their eyes about the outcome of the 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by SiriusXM, but those on the inside are all smiles.
The Blackhawks, who took five of the first six spots for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, are thrilled with the outcome. After top vote-getter Zemgus Girgensons of the Buffalo Sabres, the next five spots were all Chicago players.
"When the balloting started there, we seemed to come out of the gate very strong; picked up some momentum along the way," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Good for the guys. Organizationally, it should be proud of the representation we're going to have at the All-Star Game. It's one of those days [when] it's fun for the game [and] fun for the League."
Right wing Patrick Kane (1,232,201 votes) and center Jonathan Toews (1,217,210) led the way, followed by defenseman Duncan Keith (1,198,173), goalie Corey Crawford (1,099,504), and defenseman Brent Seabrook (1,016,992). Kane, Toews and Keith are especially pleased about the inclusion of Seabrook and Crawford, who will make their All-Star debuts.
"It's exciting," said Toews, who will make his fourth All-Star appearance. "Regardless of the voting, I think there are quite a few guys in this room that I think deserve that honor. It's good to see guys like [Crawford] and [Seabrook] get their chance, because sometimes guys like them fly under the radar and people don't realize how good they really are."
Crawford and Seabrook are having excellent seasons. Crawford went into a game Sunday against the Dallas Stars with a 14-7-2 record, 2.13 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 23 games, despite missing time with two separate injuries. Seabrook had seven goals and 14 assists in 38 games prior to facing the Stars.
Each seemed genuinely excited about the vote results.
"It's something I've never done, so I'm looking forward to it," Seabrook said. "It's nice to be able to share the experience with a few teammates. It's an honor to be voted by the fans. It's probably the only way I'd get in, with the amount of talent and All-Stars on this team. I'm looking forward to getting out there and having some fun."
Crawford was equally humbled and appreciative.
"It means a lot," he said. "It's the first one for me. It's nice to be voted in too. Thank the fans for that one. I think it's just a week where you go have fun. A lot of our guys are going, so it should be a great experience."
Like Toews, Keith and Kane are no strangers to the All-Star festivities. It will be Keith's third All-Star appearance and the fourth for Kane, who leads the Blackhawks with 41 points (18 goals). Chicago also has others on the roster with All-Star experience, who could be selected for this year's game by the NHL.
Center Brad Richards and left wing Patrick Sharp each played in the 2011 All-Star Game, with Sharp winning the MVP Award, and right wing Marian Hossa has made five All-Star appearances.
As it stands, taking five of the first six spots through voting is special.
"That's a lot of teammates that will be represented and hopefully there will be a few more there just by selections," Kane said. "It shows that it's a great fanbase we have here in Chicago and how crazy people are about the Blackhawks and hockey in this city. It's definitely exciting and definitely a big honor."