Last week, the NHL released its 2009 All-Star ballot. Two teams had a league-leading six players named to the ballot (Montreal and Detroit). Okay, so we have six players on the ballot. That's 26.1% of the 23 man roster. We as Wings fans should be impressed that our team garnered that many players on the ballot. We're not, but before I get ahead of myself let me say which players were named.
Defenseman: Nicklas Lidstrom & Brian Rafalski
Forwards: Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, & Marian Hossa
Goaltender: Chris Osgood
So if I'm being honest, the NHL did select the big names of the roster. But as a Wings fan, who do you see not on the list that most certainly should be? That's right -- Johan Franzen. The Mule was *this* close to winning the Conn Smythe before a head injury resulted in six missed playoff games. Despite his absence, he still led the team in goals (along with Zetterberg who ended up winning the Conn Smythe) with 13, five of which were game-winning goals. How can someone who was almost the playoff MVP last season not get named to the ballot?
Other two players that I thought were worthy of being on the ballot were defenseman Niklas Kronwall and forward Tomas Holmstrom. Admittedly, they aren't the big name players but both are critical to the team's success.
Mike Mouat at the Detroit Examiner argues that the NHL needs to adjust its nominee allocation to better reflect the standings:
Oddly enough there are only 12 defensemen on the ballot for eight spots, and when you factor in injuries, and no-shows, it is possible that the league may have to add somebody to the roster that isn’t even listed on the ballot.
There are 30 forwards to choose from. Dallas, who ranks 10th in goals per game in the Western Conference, leads the way four players, while Colorado who ranks seventh and St. Louis who ranks ninth have as many nominated players as the Wings who lead the Conference in goals per game.
Certainly they are all good players, but this is the All-Star Game and it’s about goal scoring. So why not reward the players from the highest scoring teams with a higher number of nominations?
As a Wings fan, I like his logic. And I understand that just because the Wings are sweet, it doesn't mean they all get to make the All-Star team. It's just hard to see the Mule, especially, not get recognized for his dominating play when he's not injured.
Other All-Star Ballot Comments: The NHL is going to have the ballot results available online in real-time so you can see how your favorite players are doing before the voting is over. Apparently, the league is the first to do so and as James Mirtle at From The Rink says, it does seem to give more transparency to the process which is usually a good thing.