Luongo urges fans to vote often
|Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo is a Montreal native, so he knows all about the passion those fans bring to the game of hockey. As a result, he is not surprised by the city’s storming of the ballot box to select the starters for the 2009 NHL All-Star game.
"I heard," Luongo said of the grass-roots voting movement that has been the early story of the ballot season, which started last Wednesday and runs to Jan. 2. "They're passionate about their team. That's the way it is in Montreal. They love their Montreal Canadiens. And they're voting strong.
Les Habitants fans, perhaps warming up for the Quebec provincial election next month, have been exercising their right to vote in record numbers during the first week of voting.
As an example, Montreal goalie Carey Price has 269,985 votes, which is more than 5,000 votes better than the next four goalies in the Eastern Conference voting, an impressive list that includes Henrik Lundqvist, Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Miller and Tim Thomas.
Luongo leads the Western Conference, but his 173,212 votes would put him more than 93,000 votes behind Price if the Vancouver and Montreal were in the same conference.
All vote totals were as of 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
"I'm in the West, so I don't have to worry about it,” Luongo said during a visit Tuesday to the NHL offices.
Plus, he says the power to unseat the six Canadiens that currently hold the starting spots is in the hands of other NHL fans, who can vote as often as they wish at fanballoting.nhl.com or by texting their favorite player or team to 81812. By texting a team, you will be voting for every player from that team on the official ballot.
"So if anybody else wants anybody else in the starting lineup, they'd better get online and start voting," Luongo said.
Thomas states his case
Nov. 18, 2008 (11:23 AM ET)
In the end, politicians know that elections are all about results. Hockey players think the same thing about berths to the NHL All-Star Game.
So, despite running a disappointing fifth in the Eastern Conference voting for goaltending, Boston goalie Tim Thomas just keeps plugging along, hoping to sway the electorate with his undeniable history of delivering results – often against long odds.
Almost out of hockey just a few years ago – serving out an exile in Europe – Thomas has returned to the NHL and made a strong case for his place among the game's brightest lights. Thomas has been central to the Bruins' revival in Beantown as the team begins to generate the buzz that has enveloped the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics in the past few years.
Last year, he was rewarded with a nomination to be an Eastern Conference reserve at the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta. This year, he, like all top-end players – would like to be named the starter; but there is no denying that he faces extremely long odds.
In the popular vote (as of 9 a.m. Tuesday), he trails leader Carey Price, of Montreal, by a little more than 220,000 votes as the election nears its week-old mark. Thomas' 25,976 votes also lag behind three other candidates. Thomas' vote total is pretty impressive for a write-in candidate.
Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury has 62,282 votes to sit in second place, while Buffalo's Ryan Miller has 48,533. Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers sits in fourth, lurking about 5,000 votes behind Miller and almost 18,000 ahead of Thomas.
But, Thomas knows he has delivered on the campaign promises necessary to deliver the electorate. At nearly the quarter-pole mark, Thomas leads the League in both goals-against average (1.78) and save percentage (.944).
He has no control, however, over how the voters exercise their right to cast as many ballots as they wish for the players of their choosing.
So, let your voice be heard, just as www.hubhockey.com has done by delivering the Thomas' message to the masses. You can vote for Thomas by writing him on the official NHL.com ballot or by texting his last name to 81812.
In other news, the Montreal Canadiens continue to hold impressive leads for all six starting spots in the Eastern Conference with defenseman Andrei Markov leading all vote getters with 253,997 votes.
In the West, Detroit still holds the top three spots among forwards, although Jarome Iginla is making an impressive push to break that stranglehold. On the blue line, Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom and Calgary's Dion Phaneuf are running away from the field. In goal, it is Vancouver's Roberto Luongo that has a commanding early lead.
You can follow the results real-time at fanballoting.nhl.com/leaders to see how your favorite players are doing.
Election fever grips Quebec
Nov. 17, 2008 (4:23 PM ET)
Montreal's get-out-the-vote message has found a willing audience of active political operatives.
Fans of the bleu-blanc-and-rouge party have been hammering the ballot box since the polls opened Nov. 12 at midnight to start a 53-day campaign that will determine the starters in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game to be held in – surprise! – Montreal.
As of 2 p.m. Monday, Les Habitants party members have put Canadiens in the lead at all six starting positions of the Eastern Conference team. Andrei Markov tops the Canadiens contingent with 231,727 votes, the highest total of any player on the ballot. He has a 21,000-vote on teammate Mike Komisarek, the other starting defenseman, according to exit polls.
Young goalie Carey Price, channeling his inner Obama "Yes We Can" mantra, has picked up the most votes, netting 227,442 votes despite participating in just his first full NHL season. Price has a lead of more than 17,000 votes on Marc-Andre Fleury, who led Pittsburgh to last year's Stanley Cup Final.
Up front, the electrifying Alexei Kovalev leads the Montreal contingent with 213,506 votes, Saku Koivu has 211,082 votes and newcomer Alex Tanguay has 209,649 votes. Amazingly, all of the Canadian forwards have more than a 100,000-vote cushion on Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Washington's Alex Ovechkin. Evgeni Malkin, the current leading scorer in the League, is also more than 100,000 votes behind.
Les Habitant operatives are chronicling the machinations of their operatives with detailed dispatches from the campaign trail.
Out West, Detroit is flexing its political might, but can't rival the early momentum displayed by the upstarts from the East. Banking on a platform of established results – anyone remember the 2008 Stanley Cup? – the Red Wings have placed all three of its forwards, Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa and Henrik Zetterburg, atop the Western Conference leader board. That group is joined by defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, the reigning Norris Trophy holder, as the other Red Wing.
Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf and Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo are throwing a monkey wrench into the plans of the Party of the Octopus to take all six spots on the ballot.
You can follow the entire race in real time – the first time a major North American sports league has been so transparent with its All-Star election – at fanballoting.nhl.com/leaders
Voting will continue until Jan. 2. Cast your ballot at fanballoting.nhl.com/vote or texting your favorite player's last name to 81812. And, remember, you can vote as often as you want.
Stay tuned to this space for regular updates on all the developments from the campaign trail.