– The Calgary Flames
and NHL Winter Classic 2009 host Chicago Blackhawks
heat up the Western Conference XM NHL® All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports. Meanwhile, Red Wings fans continue to vote in droves to support their Stanley Cup champions.
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom
extended his dominance in the balloting among defensemen by gaining over 75,000 votes last week to remain, for the second week in a row, the highest Western Conference vote-getter. Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf
has a stronghold on second place, while Wings' Brian Rafalski
(135,074) is holding off Chicago's Brian Campbell
(133,265) for third place among defensemen.
Calgary fans also flexed their voting muscles up front over the past week, nudging Flames captain Jarome Iginla
slightly ahead of Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg
and into third place in voting for the starting forwards. Red Wings teammates Marian Hossa
and Pavel Datsyuk
extended their leads as the top vote-getters among Western Conference forwards.
As fans wait for Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo
to return to action, his voting stock continues to soar – he leads his closest competitor, Detroit's Chris Osgood
, by nearly 150,000 votes.
With just under a month to go until starting line-up positions are clinched, the game is anything but over. With the rebirth of the Blackhawks and the Winter Classic in their fans' sights, sophomore duo Patrick Kane
and Jonathan Toews
and defenseman Brian Campbell
are receiving the kind of support that could make them the first Chicago players voted All-Star starters since Chris Chelios
and Ed Belfour
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.