November 17, 2010
Lisa Murkowski for Senate. SpongeBob Squarepants for trustee. That weird kid in your homeroom class who doesn't talk to anyone and always smells like American cheese for Homecoming King.
There's a legacy of formidable write-in campaigns in our society, and hockey is no different. Who among us can forget the exhilarating Vote For Rory movement for the 2007 NHL All-Star Game, as journeyman defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick(notes) made a legitimate push for a spot in the starting lineup?
Inspired by that moment, and by some unfortunate snubs on the ballot, fans around the NHL have started 2011 All-Star game write-in campaigns for nearly a dozen players, ranging from Sean Avery(notes) to Paul Bissonnette(notes).
The fan voting for the game is underway and you can cast ballots here. But before you do, please check out our 2011 NHL All-Star Game Write-In Campaign Election Guide.
Note: Some of the graphics are from the official campaigns, and others we just made up because we have limited Photoshop skills.
And here ... we ... go.
The Candidate: The winger has 18 points in 16 games, the beneficiary of an outstanding season from center Brad Richards(notes) (21 points in 16 games). Eriksson is a plus-12, tied for best in the league among forwards.
The Campaign: Stars blog Defending Big D is leading the charge to get Loui to Raleigh. From DBD: "I don't think Brenden Morrow(notes) would tell anyone to their face that he's having a better year than Loui Eriksson is (nor Stephane Robidas(notes)) so why isn't he on the ballot?"
Chances of Election: Slim. Richards has a strong case as an at-large offensive candidate, but Robidas could be the selection from the Stars because he's a defenseman. Also, based on the empties at Dallas home games, this may not be the season to expect a fired up fan base to go to the polls.
Sean Avery, New York Rangers
The Candidate: Taunter of Devils, puncher of Smids, fashion icon and quite simply the most effective pest in the NHL today. He also has nine points in 18 games, and true to form the Rangers are 3-2-1 when he scores.
The Campaign: New York Rangers blogs are joining forces to spark this effort. Kevin Delury of NY Rangers Blog writes that "with Gary Bettman continuing to ruin the great game of hockey, what better way to get back at him than getting Sean Avery in the starting lineup at the All Star game." The Rangers Tribune is also part of the effort.
Chances of Election: Possible. Electing Avery to the All-Star game is like inviting two girls to the same party just to see if there's a catfight. He's the turd in the NHL's punch bowl. Rangers fans are a formidable fan base, and this is an effort that could attract others for its anarchistic appeal.
Alex Semin, Washington Capitals
The Candidate: The Russian winger who is currently second in the NHL in goals (13) and tied for fourth in points (23).
The Campaign: His "snub" on the All-Star game ballot caused an uproar from around the hockey world. The campaign to write him in started kicking around the Capitals' voluminous blogosphere before their chieftain, Ted Leonsis, formally kicked off the campaign: "Alex Semin is playing like an All-Star. He deserves the recognition. Thank you."
The Candidate: Second-year Detroit goalie that is 9-1-1 on the season with a 2.15 GAA and a .921 save percentage.
Chances of Election: Very Good. Not necessarily from the fan campaign, but there's no question that Howard's going to make a push for an at-large selection. Only drawback: There will be at least two Wings (Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) and Pavel Datsyuk(notes)) already taking roster spots.
The Candidate: The Juice has two goals in 17 games and was dropped to the fourth line recently by the Hurricanes.
Chances of Election: Slightly poor. The fact that the game is in Raleigh might energize the electorate, but Jokinen's not exactly keeping hope alive with this performance.
Paul Bissonnette, Phoenix Coyotes
The Campaign: The most highly publicized of the write-in campaigns, by far. Election headquarters may be on the HF Boards, which has links to several efforts to get out the vote. There are blogs on Tumblr advocating his candidacy, and the #Vote4BizNasty movement on Twitter has been a huge success.
Chances of Election: If we're to believe the hype, very good. He's this year's Rory Fitzpatrick, but Vote4Rory didn't have the social media push that BizNasty's getting. There's a legit chance Bissonnette gets voted in; and there's also a chance this is a "Snakes on a Plane" or "Scott Pilgrim" moment of Twitter hype not equaling audience totals. He's warmed up to the idea of the campaign; if elected, we demand he arrives on the ice in a PT Cruiser filled with homeless men.
The Candidate: The defenseman for the Flyers who has played three games this season and was a healthy scratch on Tuesday night against Montreal.
The Campaign: Orchestrated by Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey. Writes Ben Rothenberg: "We here at Broad Street Hockey are committed to securing Oskars' place in the lineup of the All-Star Game, which this year means that #3 must finish in the top two of NHL defensemen in this vote. It won't be easy, but it can be done."
The Candidate: The bruising enforcer-turned-offensive juggernaut for the Boston Bruins, with three goals in 15 games and shooting the puck with regularity.
The Campaign: The whimsical Bruins blog Days of Y'Orr is the catalyst. From blogger Jon: "How can we NOT try this? We don't hide our love for Thornton here. He is the third greatest NHL player of all time. And just think about how awesome that story would be? Shawn Thornton is the heart of the Bruins. He is one guy you can point at and say he left it all on the ice every game. Thornton is also a solid human being. He entertains us every game. We need to repay him."
Chances of Election: An under-the-radar candidate who could pick up steam should the Boston media take notice and the Boston fan base get the vote out. Not likely, but shouldn't be dismissed.
The Candidate: The Penguins defenseman is having a career year with 17 points in 19 games and plus-9. If the season ended now, he'd be a Norris finalist ... and yet he's snubbed on the All-Star game ballot.
The Campaign: Penguins blog The Confluence began the movement on Monday and it's slowly spreading.
Chances of Election: Very good. Either Penguins fans bitter about the snub vote him in or the NHL selects him as an at-large bid. He's been too good to ignore for the midseason classic ... but with Sidney Crosby(notes) and Evgeni Malkin(notes) basically locks, is there room for a third?
The Candidate: The Islanders center most recently seen getting kabonged by Brent Burns' stick.
The Campaign: Isles blog Lighthouse Hockey was inspired by the Montreal Canadiens fans' ballot box stuffing in 2009, and suggested that New York fans do the same for Nielsen. If for no other reason than as a protest vote: "When the league decided it was going to make 'History Will Be Made' ads based on great playoff moments in NHL history, whose record 19 consecutive playoff series victories did they ignore? Whenever someone talks about retraction or relocation, who's one of the first teams mentioned? If we can vote Frans into the starting lineup of one of the biggest NHL games of the year, it will show the NHL and everyone involved that Islanders will not go silently into the night."
Chances of Election: There's a better chance of Ted Nolan returning to coach the team.