View Full Version : Should fans be permitted to stuff the ballot box?

11-26-2008, 05:57 AM
Posted by: The SI Staff (http://www.fannation.com/si_blogs/for_the_record/posts?blogger_id=21244)

Two months from today, Montreal plays host to the 57th NHL All-Star Game. To celebrate the occasion, the locals seem to have stuffed the ballot box (http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=257276) with the objective of filling the entire Eastern Conference starting lineup with Canadiens.

So far, they've managed to succeed: Goaltender Carey Price, defensemen Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek, and forwards Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay are the current frontrunners for the six starting spots on the Eastern Conference team. Should the current voting trend continue, the Canadiens would be the first team ever to ice an entire starting six at an All-Star game since fan balloting to determine the lineup began.

The Habs would also beat the Edmonton Oilers' record of five players in a starting lineup when Wayne Gretzky, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey and Grant Fuhr were selected to open the 1986 All-Star game in Hartford.
This isn't the first instance of stuffing the All-Star ballot box. Remember Jacobs Field during the '90s, when the Indians promoted All-Star voting aggressively to their nightly capacity crowds? The practice reached its zenith during the 1999 season, when Cleveland players ranked first or second in the balloting at every position -- with outfielders Manny Ramirez, Kenny Lofton and David Justice finishing 2-3-4 behind Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr.

In 1957, fans of the Reds stuffed the ballot box and elected seven of Cincinnati's eight starters to the National League team. Commissioner Ford Frick subsequently annulled the election, dropping Gus Bell and Wally Post from the roster and stripping fans of their All-Star voting rights. Players, coaches and managers selected the teams until 1970, when Bowie Kuhn returned the privilege to the fans.

But are the circumstances different in today's National Hockey League, a sport in dire need of this brand of fan enthusiasm? Should the NHL look into this probable case of ballot box stuffing and take action?

Canadiens blanketing the field in All-Star fan balloting (http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=257276) [TSN.ca]