Stamkos 16th among forwards in All-Star fan voting, but understands process
The news flashed on the scoreboard at Ottawa's Scotiabank Place during Thursday's morning skate - four Senators were among the top-six vote getters for this year's All-Star Game. The team tapped their sticks in celebration.
Ottawa is the host city for the Jan. 29th game, so getting high fan voting was expected. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was the only non Ontario native to be in the top six by the 24 million votes.
But Lightning center Steven Stamkos, who leads the NHL with 27 goals, ranked 16th among forwards with over 185,000 votes - about 400,00 less than the top vote-getter, Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson. Now that doesn't mean that Stamkos will be shut out of the All-Star game, the other 36 participants will be selected later on, and the Lightning star is a sure bet to get picked.
But we wondered what Stamkos thought of the process itself.
"I don’t think anyone really has a problem with the way it's done," Stamkos said. "Obviously, we've seen in the past, the city that hosts it gets the most votes and it creates excitement for the fans, they feel like they're part of something. Is it the best way? Probably not. But .. we want our fans part of the game, they're obviously a huge reason why our league is so successful. And we've seen it in the past the pattern where the team that usually hosts it, and you want some of those guys in there, it creates more excitement and buzz around the city. It's the way it's done and everyone really doesn't have a problem with it. And, for the most part, after the first five or six guys get picked by the fans, the league does a good job of making sure they get the guys in there that deserve to be there."
Lightning coach Guy Boucher points out that while Tampa Bay is well supported by its fans, with the Tampa Bay Times Forum filled the past three home games, "not all of Florida is going to vote for Steven Stamkos."
"I think it's normal that some guys from other teams get a lot of votes,' Boucher said. "But Stamkos is a star. He's so important to us and I think it'd be nice to see him get more votes, but I think in everyone's mind, he's right up there."