2008-09 NHL ALLSTAR GAME VOTING 11/15
- Earlier this week the NHL launched fan balloting
for the 2008-09 NHL Allstar Game. The 57th annual event will be held at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec as part of the Montreal Canadiens centennial celebration. The NHL has introduced real-time player voting results on NHL.com here
San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle is in 5th place for Western Conference defenseman with 38,413 votes, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is 2nd among Western Conference goaltenders with 36,009 votes. Niklas Lidstrom (113,630), Dion Phaneuf (99,090), Brian Rafalski (47,122) and Sheldon Souray (40,686) round out the top 5. Roberto Luongo leads all Western Conference goalies with 113,300 votes, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price leads the East with 197,324 votes. A hat trick of Detroit Red Wings lead Western Conference voting for forwards, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Marian Hossa are ranked first through third. San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton is in 10th place in forward voting with 30,944 votes.
Make your selections for the 2008-09 NHL Allstar Game here
. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Rob Blake, Dan Boyle, and Evgeni Nabokov are the five San Jose Sharks on the NHL Allstar Ballot. To write-in a vote, you can type the name of a player and select it from a drop down list or copy and paste one of these player ID's into the box and press select.
Devin Setoguchi [id: 8471682]
Ryane Clowe [id: 8469622]
Jonathan Cheechoo [id: 8467357]
Milan Michalek [id: 8470599]
Joe Pavelski [id: 8470794]
Christian Ehrhoff [id: 8469555]
Marc-Edouard Vlasic [id: 8471709]
Brian Boucher [id: 8462052]
- One of the first grassroots campaigns for a write-in candidate this year nominated Sharks right wing Devin Setoguchi. The "Gooch 09" campaign launched by the Battle of California
was picked up by several hockey blogs including Yahoo's Puck Daddy
, AOL Fanhouse
and James Mirtle
among others. The official campaign blog appears to be voteforthegooch.blogspot.com
. The second year Setoguchi is tied for 10th in the NHL with 18 points, and along with Ryane Clowe he leads the Sharks with 9 goals.
- Voting irregularities have transitioned from the U.S. election to NHL Allstar voting, but thankfully they are not ACORN related. Earlier this week there was a strong but unusual push for the Dallas Stars. Dallas has had a horrendous start to the season. The Stars have plummeted to last place in the Pacific Division with a 5-8-3 record, allowed the second most goals against in the NHL (tied with Toronto at 60), and goaltender Marty Turco is struggling mightly with the worst save percentage in the league (.865) and the 2nd worst goals against average in the league (3.70).
Given that, the surge in votes for Dallas Stars players this week was unusual. Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas (36,833) trailed only Niklas Lidstrom and Dion Phaneuf in voting for defenseman. Goaltender Marty Turco trailed only Roberto Luongo with 37,569 votes. Dallas forwards Mike Ribeiro (55,101) and Brenden Morrow (52,182) lead Henrik Zetterberg (38,135) in voting for Western Conference forwards. Apparently the NHL removed some of the votes, because Brenden Morrow has almost 16,000 less votes now than 2 days ago. Turco has 12,000 less. Robidas is no longer among the the top 10 for defenseman.
None of that should take away from the entertaining push by the Dallas Stars last year for fan Allstar Game voting. Campaign commercials by Marty Turco
, Sergei Zubov
, Brenden Morrow
, and Mike Modano
were some of the best in the league.
TSN noted irregularities in Eastern Conference voting as well: Canadiens lead all 6 positions in Allstar voting
. Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, defensemen Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek, and forwards Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and Alex Tanguay are leading all 6 positions in Eastern Conference Allstar voting. The vote totals are holding strong for Montreal today
, but information about programs casting automated votes repeatedly for Montreal players has surfaced on several blogs. The CBC
spoke with NHL spokesman Gary Meaghar on a suspicious spike in Allstar voting, "I don't want to jump to conclusions at this point. There is some indication that something has happened. I'm not at a point where I can say definitively that something has taken place." Pensblog has a screencap of the automated Montreal voting script
- San Jose Sharks goaltender Brian Boucher was a guest this week on XM Radio's NHL Live with E.J. Hradek and Don LaGreca. Boucher has been solid off the bench since a leg injury sidelined Evgeni Nabokov on the final save
of a 5-4 shootout win over St Louis on November 6th. Boucher backstopped the Sharks to a 3-1 record in the last 4 games, earning 7 out of a possible 8 points. He is playing well, patient and blocking a lot of the net down low. As mentioned earlier, his last win gives him enough starts to qualify for several goaltending statistical categories. Boucher leads the NHL with a 1.49 GAA
, and trails only Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins with a .940SV%
(tied with Craig Anderson).
Brian Boucher is playing behind a veteran defense and the most potent offense in the NHL, but he has not looked as sharp as he did during his stretch of 5+ consecutive shutouts during the 2003-04
NHL season. That could be a simple result of not seeing enough game action. Boucher worked his way back from a shoulder injury playing half a season with the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms before being acquired by the San Jose Sharks on February 26th, 2008. He has only played in 14 NHL regular season games over the last 3 seasons.
Boucher described how he felt in goal during the record setting 332 minute, 5 and a half game shutout streak on NHL Live:
"People talk about being in the zone. The streak was pretty unbelievable. We weren't a Stanley Cup contending team so it was farfetched we could have done something like that. It was a special time. The guys battled hard. I think they were more nervous than I was. In games 4 and 5, they really did not want to take bad penalties. Guys were blocking shots like crazy. It was a really good moment at that time of the year, December January. The dog days of the hockey season, where it seems like there is no end in sight and we pulled together and did something incredible."
"The one save that sticks out in my mind was in Minnesota. We ended up breaking the record in the third period. I think it was in the second period, (Marian) Gaborik had a great chance in the slot. I made a glove save on him. There was not a doubt in my mind that I wasn't going to stop it. I was so focused on it. I don't know if it was the greatest save in the world, but I knew he had a great chance. It would have been 5 or 7 minutes short of the record if I had let that in. To make that save was probably the biggest one of that streak".
Boucher also talked about what it is like to focus on a game when you are not seeing a lot of shots against, how well Dan Ellis performed in his 54-save performance at HP Pavilion, and what it was like to see Roberto Luongo post 3 consecutive shutouts and challenge his streak "records are meant to be broken, and if it is going to be broken it is going to be a guy like him. He is going to have a lot of records after his career is over, but it would be nice if he would let me have this one."
- San Jose Sharks General Manager and EVP Doug Wilson also was a guest on XM Radio's NHL Hour with host Garry Bettman. Wilson talked about hiring new head coach Todd McLellan, McLellan's Stanley Cup winning year with Detroit and his experience with the Minnesota Wild organization as head coach of their AHL team, the process that went in to selecting a coach, how the Sharks are still not playing their best hockey, about being the head of the NHLPA during the strike shortened 48-game season of 1994-95, the balanced scoring in San Jose, and the emergence of Devin Setoguchi.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman asked Doug Wilson what it was like to spend 14 years with an original six team in Chicago, then to be traded to an expansion San Jose franchise and never leaving.
"It was a tremendous challenge, but it was the best decision I ever made. When they approached me about coming out here, they said I would be on the ground floor of something new. I would be a pioneer. Many people should never forget the importance of that first year that we had that we played down at the Cow Palace (in San Francisco). The Kelly Kisio's, the Dean Evason's, the Rob Zettler's... the relationship they built with our fan base has continued to this day. It was really important."
"It was a great challenge. That first year team was one of the closest teams I ever played on. We lost 17 games by one goal, but I will never forget how it started here. Our fans have been so loyal right from day 1 that every year when we start to build our team we take it very seriously that we put a team on the ice they are proud of."
- The other shoe dropped in Tampa Bay on Friday. Tampa Bay Lightning EVP & General Manager Brian Lawton fired head coach Barry Melrose
16 games into the 2008-09 NHL season. After a number of off-season acquisitions, the team had stumbled out of the gate to a 5-7-4 record. "Barry is a good man and we have a great deal of respect for him. We wish him nothing but success. However, the results were unacceptable and the players have to understand that we need to be better. Hopefully this change helps push them." Lawton said of the firing. Assistant head coach and 18-year NHL veteran Rick Tocchet was named as a replacement interim head coach.
Barry Melrose spoke with ESPN News
shortly after the firing. "There has been a lot of stuff going on here behind the scenes, I can't say I am totally surprised" Melrose said. "I am very disappointed. 16 games, we have lost 7 games, 5 have been to the New York Rangers, San Jose and Detroit. No one has beat those three teams all year long... Is 5-7-4 acceptable? No it is not".
Tampa Bay beat writer Damian Cristodero noted in the St Petersburg Times
that the firing could cost the Lightning $2.25-million if he does not accept another NHL job for the length of his 3-year contract. Cristodero adds to that figure $1.3-million the team is already paying fired head coach John Tortorella. On his Lightning Strikes
blog, Cristodero reported that Melrose skipped a Tuesday practice after holding a team meeting. During the meeting he challenged his team's work ethic after an uninspired performance against Washington. Melrose left the practice to assistant coaches Rick Tocchet, Wes Walz and Cap Raeder. It may have been the beginning of the end with team captain Vincent Lecavalier struggling, number 1 overall draft selection Steven Stamkos mired in a 7-game scoring slump, and goaltenders Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig barely able to hold their heads above water behind a porous defense.
After being soundly handled 3-0
at home by San Jose on October 25th, Melrose said of his team's performance "It was an embarassing effort out of our team tonight... nothing looked good." He went on to lambaste the team's offensive performance "We have scored 11 goals in 7 games. You don't have to be Albert Einstein to figure out that is not enough". It was an effort that would repeat itself too often for the Lightning management.
Tampa Bay ices the worst offense in the NHL. Jussi Jokinen and Vincent Lecavalier are the only players on the team with more than 3 goals. The offseason trade of Dan Boyle for Matt Carle, Ty Wishart and a draft pick fell flat after Carle's recent trade to Philadelphia. The offseason acquisitions of Vaclav Prospal, Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi and Andrej Meszaros have not provided enough on a continuing jumble of line changes. The late additions of Lukas Krajicek and Marek Malik were almost a panick move to provide any kind of defensive help for the blueline.
Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski said in his usual understated fashion, Mistakes were made, but firing Melrose just saved Tampa's season
. A lot of the blame is going to rightly fall on the head of Melrose, but the problem is equal parts on the bench with the players, with the coaching staff, and with the hair trigger in the owner's box. The Lightning are only 4 points
out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but the wheels were wobbling with Barry Melrose at the helm and they can just as easily come off with Rick Tocchet driving this uninspired lineup.
- Devin Setoguchi settles in with ravenous Sharks
- Canadian Press.
Setoguchi bounced between San Jose and the team's AHL Worceters affiliate last season, but has found serious stability early in his second year as a pro. Setoguchi is playing on the top line with Thornton and Marleau.
"I got a chance of a lifetime to play with two of the best players in the NHL," he said Wednesday. "I'm just trying to make the best of it right now."
- In addition to the late breaking news of the loss of defenseman Francois Beauchemin for the season with a torn ACL
, the OC Register Ducks Blog also covered Brian Burke stepping down
earlier this week as general manager of the team. Anaheim beat writer Dan Wood reported that after a contract extension was offered to Burke and declined, the Ducks moved quickly to replace him with assistant Bob Murray.
The Anaheim Ducks posted a full transcript
of the press conference online:
"Brian has been honest and upfront from the beginning regarding his family situation. We have discussed it at length. We have had a very open and honest discussion. At that time, we discussed the best potential transition in the event he turned our extension. I felt Brian deserved more time as he was clearly wrestling with his decision with good reason. Since that time, with encouragement and support from Brian, I spent a great deal of time with Bob Murray and identified him as the top candidate to replace Brian in the event he decided to move on. Late last week, Brian respectfully declined our contract extension and we decided to move forward on our previously discussed plan." - Anaheim Ducks CEO Michael Schulman.
"(The Anaheim Ducks) are an older team, a veteran team and have a lot of people who are unrestricted free agents at the end of the year. We just have to get concentrated on hockey now. If they have success, they’ll success off the ice as well on the ice. That is the biggest message I can give to them." - new GM Bob Murray.
"No, there wouldn’t have been any decision without (winning a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007). I would have had to continue to do the flying and the commute. There was no way I would have the nerve to ask to go back somewhere if I hadn’t won a championship here. I think that would have taken a lot more nerve than I have. That validated me. That justified my asking. In other words, if I hadn’t delivered I think it’s a real different equation." - former GM Brian Burke
More on the move from Anaheim Ducks Director of Publications & New Media Adam Brady here
(scroll to Nov. 12th).
- Don't look now but Stanford Hockey opened the ACHA season 7-1 before a pair of weekend games against USC this weekend in Redwood City. A nickname heavy recap of their season opening wins against Sac State is available here
. Stanford will travel to Oakland Ice for the first leg of the "Big Freeze" on Thursday, returning to Redwood City Ice Oasis for the rubber match Friday. Santa Clara University opened the season with a rough 1-6 performance. They return to the South Bay January 17th for an 8:30PM game against Fresno State. San Jose State
swept a 3-day Hockey Showcase with 7-1, 13-0, and 9-2 wins over University of Texas, Boise State, and Arizona State. The Spartans are 8-7 after the first 15 games of the season. After a month and a half on the road, SJSU will return to Sharks Ice in San Jose for a pair of games against Texas A&M Friday and Saturday January 9-10th. You can also listen to select SJSU college hockey games on 90.5 KSJS, more info here
- A staggering statistic from Mike Heika at the excellent Dallas Morning News Stars blog
[Q] Mike, do you have a method of projecting what the Stars' record would be at this current rate? I recall Hitchcock getting canned after 50-ish games back in 02. Is Tippett on pace to do worse than that?
[MH] Yeah, J.C., the Stars have been at this level only once since 1995-96 (when Tippett's team was 11-15-3 in 2003-04 after a four-game losing streak) In fairness, that 03-04 team finished 41-26-15.
To figure pace, you would simply divide points accumulated (13) by games played (15) and get .87 points per game. Then, multiply by 82 games and you would get: 71 points.
Tampa Bay (32-43-7) and Los Angeles (31-42-9) tied for last place in the NHL last season with 71 points. Yikes. Ken Hitchcock was fired in 2002 with a 23-17-10 record. That is eye-opening to be sure.
Dallas was a dark horse playoff pick by many at the start of the season.
[Update] California Rubber
, the new hockey magazine available in most ice and roller hockey rinks in the state, updates the California hockey alumni's participating in the AHL/ECHL/College/WHL/USHL/NAHL/BCHL leagues. Subscription information is available at 612-929-2171 or calirubber.com