NHL can't make a Hab-it of all-star voting by fans

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

For those who needed one more reason to tune out the NHL's All-Star showcase for good, Montreal Canadiens fans have provided it.

The league's showcase hasn't been interesting for years thanks to what's become a non-contact, non-intense game of pond shinny in which players spend more time giggling and letting each other score goals than doing anything worth watching. Now even the process to pick the starting teams has become so flawed it's not worth caring about any more.

On the surface, voting the roster via the internet sounds like the perfect way to generate interest in the event. That way, you don't have to be able to afford the over-priced tickets to games to have a say in who partakes.

As you'd guess, though, the level of ballot-box stuffing through the world wide web has reached epic proportions. The same type of people who can invent an automated telemarketing computer-dialing system that's capable of disrupting our lives at dinner time have figured out a way to generate a multitude of votes for their favourite player.

Last we checked, the positions for all the NHL Eastern Conference starting spots were held by members of the Canadiens. Instead of a forward crew of deserving players that would include the likes of Alexander Semin, Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Mike Richards, Zach Parise, Thomas Vanek and Evgeni Malkin, we'd get Saku Koivu, Alexei Kovalev and Alex Tanguay. Moreover, Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek are by far leading the defence votes, while goalie Carey Price had nearly four times the votes of No.-2 man Henrik Lundqvist.

The Vote for Rory Fitzpatrick campaign a couple of years ago made a mockery of the All-Star game, but at least it was interesting. Now, hockey fans will be faced with an affair full of undeserving players.

It's interesting Dallas Stars' Marty Turco is among the leaders for the goalie position in the West. Turco's team is last in goals-against, and he's having a horrible season. Meanwhile, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, a deserving injury replacement last year, isn't even on the ballot.

FLAMING C-NOTES

It's disappointing the league didn't appear to think twice about a possible suspension to Chicago Blackhawks LW Martin Havlat after his high stick/spear to Dion Phaneuf's face. Because he didn't want to take a body-check to make his play, Havlat, who is pretty much the same size as Phaneuf, put his stick up with the blade aimed at Phaneuf as the defenceman closed ground. Miraculously, he didn't blind the Flames defenceman. But in the NHL's twisted way of thinking, no injury means no suspension. It's the second time already this season a Flames player has received a big-time cheapshot, but since they weren't hurt, nothing came of it. The other being when Colorado's Cody McCormick sucker-punched Jarome Iginla in a scrum, but the result was Iginla getting to his feet and duking it out ... While we're being negative, it was painful to hear fans in the Saddledome chanting "Go Flames Go", "Go Leafs Go" or even the less-than-intelligent "Leafs Suck" during the moment of silence for fallen soldiers on Remembrance Day. We talk about a lack of respect on the ice, that's a true lack of respect to those who deserve better, albeit by a small group. Sadly, those who enjoy so much freedom because of the sacrifices made by others opted to choose their right to be an idiot ... Amazing how loud the roughly 5,000 (that's a pure guess) Maple Leafs fans can be when their team hits the Saddledome. Iginla had a reply to all them: "We didn't see any blue. We didn't hear any cheers either." It was pointed out by Toronto Sun writer Mike Zeisberger, "The Leafs fans won't be that loud when the Flames are in Toronto later this season."

HOCKEY TALKY

Sure, it seems hypocritical when you consider the source, but credit Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson for his idea regarding suspended players. Wilson believes teams shouldn't be allowed to dress a replacement for any players who have been banished, meaning the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators wouldn't have a full compliment of 18 skaters this weekend while Tom Kostopoulos and Jarkko Ruutu are being punished. Wilson knows full well his team boasts serial hit-from-behind master Ryan Hollweg, so he very well could be icing a short squad once in a while, but it's a concept that should be considered seriously. Making the whole group pay for the sins of one may help clean up the game ... Anybody else find it priceless the Edmonton Oilers have now added Jesse Boulerice? This would be the same team that's complained bitterly in the past about rough stuff by the Minnesota Wild and the Calgary Flames but now sports three players who can't do much more than raise havoc ... Great to see Carolina Hurricanes rookie Brandon Sutter back in action from that terrible concussion. Hopefully, he's learned a major lesson about how quickly NHL players can close that gap when his head is down. Sadly, it doesn't look like the NHL has learned enough from that Doug Weight head shot.

YOU DON'T SAY

"I asked them to squeeze it to stop my slice in golf. Just a little bit this way. We'll see in June."

-- New Jersey Devils G Martin Brodeur after having surgery for a torn tendon in his left biceps re-attached.


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