Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Selective Selections

Murph's post on Islanders Army today reminded me that I meant to comment last week when it was announced that Rick DiPietro and Bill Guerin are on this year's All-Star ballot. I'm glad that I didn't have time then because now that the voting has begun, and I've looked more closely at the ballot, there's even more about this process to rail against.

My first thought last week was that at least they managed to get DiPietro on the ballot this year. If I remember correctly, last year he was excluded when there was no sensible reason not to put him on. Was there any doubt who was going to be the Islanders' starting goalie last year? Do you actually have to merit inclusion beyond simply being a legitimate goaltender to get on the All-Star ballot? Apparently you do, and that requirement has carried over to this year. How else can you explain that the 15-team Eastern Conference
has only ten goalies on the ballot? Toronto, Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay fans simply cannot vote for their team's goalie to start in the All-Star game. Why the limit? Yes, a lot of those teams entered the season with murky ideas about who would spend the majority of the time between the pipes. But making an educated guess for the sake of a complete ballot wouldn't have hurt anyone. These things can never be projected perfectly anyway. Dan Boyle and his troubled tendons are on there.

Ah, but the NHL had a solution. As Murph pointed out, instead of allowing fans to write in a vote for a player not on the ballot, you could select one from a list. This, we assume, to prevent the Rory Fitzpatricks and Radek Martineks of the world from spoiling the starting lineup. The initial list was laughable. It included no additional Islanders even though a number of them deserve to be there based on their performances this season. Well, go back now. It seems the lists have been updated. You can now select Sean Bergenheim, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Chris Campoli, Mike Comrie, Ruslan Fedotenko, Bruno Gervais, Andy Hilbert, Trent Hunter, Radek Martinek, Richard Park, Miroslav Satan, Mike Sillinger, Andy Sutton, Josef Vasicek, and Brendan Witt. What, no Dubie?

Okay, then what's the point of having a ballot with 30 forwards, 12 defensemen, and 10 goalies listed for each conference when you can also select nearly any other player? The voting home page makes no mention of paper ballots being distributed at games, but under that scenario I could understand limiting the number of players. Maybe they just didn't want to have to link to videos of more than 104 players. In the end, this looks like one more thing that the NHL has thrown together before getting all of its ducks in a row. At least they fixed the omissions before too many of us had the chance to complain.

Oh, yeah, and about those All-Star jerseys? If you want to buy one, look in RBK's product catalog under "We just finished designing 60 other new NHL jerseys so this is the best we could do."

Finally, I don't know which is worse: Carton complaining about having to talk hockey, or Boomer saying, "You gotta love Sean Avery, though." No, I don't.

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