– Chicago's rekindled love affair with the Blackhawks, already manifested by soaring United Center attendance and insatiable interest in NHL Winter Classic 2009, now is being reflected in the fan balloting for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game.
As of 7 a.m. ET today, Blackhawks' winger Patrick Kane
had taken over the top spot among Western Conference forwards in the XM NHL® All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports that will select the starting lineups for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal Jan. 25. In the last week, Kane vaulted four players to take a 26,828-vote lead over the previous pace-setter, Detroit's Marian Hossa
. Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf
also slipped past Calgary's Jarome Iginla
for the third starting nod.
But with 16 days remaining in the voting that will end Jan. 2, Iginla remains very much in the running – as do Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk
and Henrik Zetterberg
and Kane's Chicago teammate, Jonathan Toews
On defense, Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom
and Calgary's Dion Phaneuf
remained the leading vote-getters, as they have been virtually since the moment balloting began. However, Chicago's Brian Campbell
closed the gap considerably over the last week and Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer
and Chris Pronger
aren't far behind.
As of this morning, Vancouver's Roberto Luongo
still was the masked man to beat among Western Conference goaltenders. But he had a new chief rival as Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere
had moved past San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov
and Detroit's Chris Osgood
and into second place in the balloting.
The vote totals, as of 7 a.m. ET, in the fan balloting for the Western Conference starters are detailed below.
Through Jan. 2, NHL fans can vote as often as they like in the XM NHL® All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports to select the starting lineups for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal. Fans around the world can vote online via interactive English and French ballots at Vote.NHL.com. Those in the U.S. and Canada also are able to cast their votes via text message using any wireless carrier. Real-time results are available exclusively at Vote.NHL.com/results
Fans can vote for up to six Eastern Conference players and six Western Conference players -- three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender. Fans are permitted to select as few as one player -- a balloted player or write-in -- per online ballot at Vote.NHL.com
or via text message.
To vote using any wireless carrier, fans should text their favorite player's last name to the shortcode 81812
. Fans interested in voting for all of their favorite team's balloted players can text the team nickname (e.g., Bruins) to 81812
. Standard text messaging charges will apply.
XM, which airs every NHL game for every team as the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the NHL, and 2K Sports, a leading publisher of sports video games, are the NHL All-Star Fan Balloting title and presenting sponsors, respectively.
The 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend in Montreal will celebrate the Montreal Canadiens
' Centennial season with live national broadcasts of the Honda/NHL SuperSkills® event on Saturday, Jan. 24, and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 25, on VERSUS in the United States and CBC and RDS in Canada. NASN, ASN, J Sports, Sky Mexico, Fox Sports Australia and other NHL international broadcast partners will provide live coverage of both the Honda/NHL SuperSkills event and the NHL All-Star Game to more than 150 countries and territories in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific Rim, Mexico and the Caribbean. NHL Radio™ will provide exclusive, national radio coverage which can be heard on stations around the United States and Canada as well as on Sirius XM Radio's NHL Home Ice, located at XM channel 204 and on SIRIUS channel 208 with the “Best of XM” programming package. NHL.com and NHL Network will provide extensive coverage of the All-Star Weekend.