View All-Star players' poll results
Heading into the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin
enjoyed a three-point cushion atop the list of NHL scoring leaders. So it's hardly surprising that his was one of the first names mentioned when players competing in the big game and rookies selected to take part in the Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition were asked to choose a first-half MVP in an anonymous poll conducted by NHL.com.
Of 38 players polled, an impressive 23 selected Malkin as the League's top player thus far this season. With 60 percent of players polled choosing Malkin, Philadelphia's Claude Giroux
came in a distant second with seven votes. New York Rangers
goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
and Detroit Red Wings
forward Pavel Datsyuk
received three and two votes respectively. Daniel Alfredsson
, Jonathan Toews
, and Marian Hossa
each earned a single vote.
When it came to choosing the NHL's most underrated player, there was far less consensus among the League's All-Star participants. Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen
narrowly edged the field with four votes, while Dallas forward Loui Eriksson
and Vancouver winger Jannik Hansen
earned three votes each. Another Flyer, forward Scott Hartnell
, got two votes while 17 different players, including Patrice Bergeron
, Mikko Koivu
, Dan Girardi
, and Datsyuk, earned a single vote. The question itself proved so difficult for All-Star participants that nine different players chose not to answer.
Unlike the other two questions, naming the League's most surprising team thus far this season yielded a two-horse race. The All-Star host Ottawa Senators
led the poll with 13 votes, narrowly edging the St. Louis Blues
, who were selected by 12 players. The Panthers registered on some players' radars with five votes, while the Rangers and Predators were chosen twice. Toronto, Winnipeg, and Philadelphia each garnered a single vote while one player abstained from the question.