You blew it, Leafs fans

Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel skates during the warmup prior to facing the Canadiens at the Bell...

Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel skates during the warmup prior to facing the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Que., Feb. 24, 2011. (JOCELYN MALETTE/QMI Agency)

TIM BAINES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:29 AM ET

OTTAWA - Kiss it, Kessel.

James Reimer, enjoy your all-star break vacation.

And hey, Toronto Maple Leafs fans: Suck it up and stop whining.

Senators fans spoke and they spoke loudly.

When the ballots had been counted, four Senators were among the starting six players in the NHL all-star game Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place.

And before Leafs fans cry blue into their Corn Flakes, the biggest joke is that Dion Phaneuf was included ó 11,306 more votes and he was outta there in favour of a fifth Senator ó the rejuvenated Sergei Gonchar.

Phaneuf isnít among the Top 10 blueliners in the league. Really, is he better than any of Shea Weber, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan Suter, Zdeno Chara, Duncan Keith, Nicklas Lidstrom, Erik Karlsson, Keith Yandle, or Kris Letang? And you could also make a case for Dan Boyle, Brian Campbell, Michael Del Zotto and Alex Edler.

So, zip it Leaf fans. Close your yaps.

There was an organized effort by Torontonians to skew the voting by loading up on players whoíve worn out their welcome here.

If the insidious plan had worked, Dany Heatley might have been the only all-star booed here.

Itís kind of funny, bordering on pathetic, really, that Phil Kessel fell right out of the voting after leading through much of the seven weeks of balloting.

Guess Toronto had more important things to do over the last few days ... hell, it snowed there. Maybe they were on the phone to the national guard to take care of their snowflake crisis. There are four times as many of you as there are in Ottawa, and Leaf Nation extends far beyond Torontoís borders ... you couldnít outvote us?

Blame yourselves, not the system.

A solid argument can be made for all four of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Karlsson to be in the all-star extravaganza. A week ago, Michalek was nearly 150,000 votes behind Kessel and he beat the Leaf by 40,000.

Kessel belongs, maybe Joffrey Lupul, too. And Toronto fans had a chance to get them in. But they blew it.

Ottawa fans need to pat themselves on the back for a job superbly done. And while weíre certainly not bragging, we at the Ottawa Sun, have been championing for the Senators in paper and online and ramped it up this week.

Are the Ready-For-Prime-Time Senators four of the best players in the NHL?

Putting a concussed Sidney Crosby aside, itíd be tough to argue against guys with last names such as Malkin, Sedin, Stamkos, Chara and Weber being selected as starters. And we certainly would have given a big thumbs-up to Claude Giroux getting the nod.

The all-star game is all about the fans. They had their crack. Now the NHL will get its chance to add the rest of the gameís elite when the rosters are rounded out next week.

Is the voting skewed?

Sure. Geez, Rory Fitzpatrick (who?) nearly made the starting lineup in 2007. He finished just 23,000 votes short of the second-place Lidstrom. Fitzpatrickís credentials that season: Seven points. There were suggestions the NHL tampered with the results to ensure Fitzpatrick didnít get in.

Hey, this ainít politics. Itís not like fans elected these guys for a four-year term.

Toronto fans need to relax.

Toronto will someday win a Stanley Cup and parade down Yonge St.

Itís nice to dream anyway. And I say that as a long-time suffering Leaf fan.


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