Vote 'em in ... put Sens in all-star game
Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency
|Ottawa Senators Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza (19) during team practice at the Bell Sensplex on November 22, 2011. (DARREN BROWN/QMI AGENCY)
OTTAWA - The Senators don’t object to anybody stuffing the ballot box.
When the first round of voting results for the NHL all-star game were released, Erik Karlsson was surprised to learn he was leading, but the Senators defenceman will take the support any way he can get it — even if it means the hometown fans going overboard in their support.
Karlsson was pleased fans have stepped up to make sure he’s at the top of the voting, with captain Daniel Alfredsson and centre Jason Spezza also near the top. Milan Michalek and Sergei Gonchar are on the ballot and both are also getting lots of votes.
Karlsson’s father Jonas, who makes his home in Sweden, just got an e-mail address so he’ll be asking friends and neighbours to stop by NHL.com.
“(My dad) never had (an e-mail address) before,” said Karlsson Wednesday. “It took him 30 minutes to figure (how to use it), but he’s voting now. He said he’d try to get everybody else to do the same thing.”
Alfredsson said he wasn’t surprised to see Karlsson as the top vote-getter.
“Erik has definitely turned a lot more heads this year,” said Alfredsson. “He’s been really good.”
Ballot-box stuffing has become an all-star tradition since the voting for starters was given to the fans.
Canadiens fans ensured Carey Price, Alexei Kovalev, Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek were starters in 2009.
While there was no game in 2010 because of the NHL’s Olympic participation in Vancouver, Pittsburgh fans made sure Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang were elected to play in Raleigh last season.
The last Ottawa player voted into the starting lineup was Alfredsson in 2008, when the game was held in Atlanta.
Karlsson, who is tied with Tampa’s Marc-Andre Bergeron for the scoring lead among blueliners, said he doesn’t expect to be sitting at No. 1 for long.
“It’s still pretty early and (Sidney) Crosby scored twice (Monday) so he’s probably going to erase me pretty fast.”
Okay, so has Karlsson voted for himself?
“No, I haven’t voted. That’s cheating,” said Karlsson. “Plus I don’t know how to do it.”
As for Spezza’s father Reno, he’s on board.
“I’m sure he already voted,” said Spezza, with a laugh.
Spezza urged fans to keep the support coming.
“It’s in Ottawa so it’s nice to see the fans are supporting us local guys,” said Spezza. “It’s a great sign of appreciation by the fans. Hopefully, it keeps going. We’ll see how it goes. We won’t argue if we get four guys in the game.”
To vote, click here