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All-Star Ballot: On the Campaign Trail

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We all know the NHL All-Star voting bears all the hallmarks of a farce. From the ridiculously early start of voting to the bizarre mix of injured and underperforming names on the roster to the voting scripts that propelled the Montreal Canadiens to the top of the voting list, this year’s edition already has become a debaucle. And we haven’t even reach Thanksgiving yet.

There is, however, one  way in which the fans have proven their ability to take back control over the ballot box: grassroots campaigns.

Last year, I personally witnessed the outpouring of support for unsung hero Mike Richards. Fans created websites devoted to the young center, sold T-shirts to generate attention, and crafted YouTube videos to promote their favorite player. The fans in Philly didn’t get Richards into the starting lineup, but I truly believe their efforts prompted the NHL to give him a spot on the final roster. That’s quite a feat, considering that Richards plays a humble, grinding style of hockey that the league generally ignores.

I was disappointed when I saw Tim Thomas had been omitted from the 2008-09 version of the ballot. His unorthodox style and pure athleticism make him a joy to watch. More importantly, Thomas manages to produce excellent numbers between the pipes for Boston. He currently leads all NHL goaltenders in save percentage and is second in the goals against average category. He was an All-Star last season. If the NHL can find time to place 10 of the 15 goaltenders in the Eastern Conference on the ballot, including seriously injured players like Rick DiPietro and Martin Brodeur,

So I’m calling on all Boston Bruins fans to join the campaign for Tim Thomas. The bloggers began the charge – HubHockey.com and Stanley Cup of Chowder are on board. VoteforThomas.com is keeping track of voting trends, and the college student demographic is out there filming every minute detail of their efforts for their favorite goalie.

As of this posting, Tim Thomas is in fifth place among Eastern Conference netminders, about 5,000 votes behind Buffalo’s Ryan Miller. I’m voting for him, and I would strongly encourage everyone out there to do likewise. Please remember that he is a write-in, so you won’t see his name as an automatic option on the ballot.

And while you’re at it, why not toss in a vote for Mike Richards as well?

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