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NHL Completes All-Star Mockery

One of these guys is way more awesome than the other. (By Joe Giza - Reuters)

The NHL un-self-consciously concluded its all-star mockery this afternoon, releasing the official final voting tallies that will decide the game's starters. As expected, Alex Ovechkin lost to Sidney Crosby. Badly. Overwhelmingly. Horrendously. Embarrassingly. Ron Paul never lost like this.

I mean, when you think of voting routs, you think of Nixon-McGovern, right? Nixon had something like 62 percent more votes than McGovern. Crosby had something like 264 percent more votes than Ovechkin. Forget Nixon; this was Kim Jong Il levels of dominance. No more complaints about the Pro Bowl; this makes the Pro Bowl look like classical Athens.

"Through online votes at and text ballots with their mobile phones, NHL fans shattered all previous records for total ballots cast while electing some of the game's most exciting young stars," the release said.

"Through blatant homerism, technological manipulation and a desire to establish that the will of the people is dumb, NHL fans failed to elect the game's reigning MVP and most exciting young star," the release didn't say.

"NHL fans were able to vote as often as they liked in XM NHL All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports to select the starting lineups for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal," the release said.

"This ruse of democracy had not one but two corporate sponsors," the release didn't say.

"Over 15 million [text] votes were recorded from nearly 4 million text messages sent by fans using their mobile phones, including 4.3 million votes -- 29% of the texting total -- generated during the final, frantic five days of balloting with starting berths still up for
grabs," the release said.

"Frankly, we could have included the definition of Pi, the Mandelbrot Set, the weighted RPI, the price of crude, the average of six different BCS equations and the latest long-term interest rates, and this still would have been dumb," the release didn't say.

The final tally of Eastern Conference forwards:

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh, grand world champion hero genius prince (1,713,021)
2. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh, 93 percent of the VOC* (1,585,936)
3. Alex Kovalev, Montreal, 78 percent of the VOC (1,343,301)
4. Saku Koivu, Montreal, 77 percent of the VOC (1,320,604)
5. Alex Tanguay, Montreal, 76 percent of the VOC (1,296,701)
6. Alex Ovechkin, Washington, 27 percent of the VOC (470,276)

* votes of Crosby

[You know, if Crosby were 3.64 times more awesome than Ovechkin, he'd have 189 points and 841 shots right now. Which would be really awesome. Of course, when he plays golf, dude shoots like a 31, so that's nothing.]

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 3, 2009; 3:28 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , NHL  
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That is a traveshamockery! We need the Skins' guy (forgot his name) to come up with "Vote for OV" campaign next year.

Posted by: visionof75 | January 3, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

It's not even a popularity contest. It's a contest to see which team has the most obsessive, annoying fans. No surprise that Pittsburgh takes home the gold medal.

Posted by: Hatfield223 | January 3, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone complaining about the #4 scorer in the league being elected to the All-Star Game? If this was a true article, or if anyone on here knew what they were talking about, they would be complaining about the fact that the Canadians have 4 guys starting, rather than focusing on the two Penguins who were elected and deserve to be there. Enough with the jealousy with Pittsburgh and focus on the facts. AO should be there and should be on a line with Crosby and Malkin, not replacing them.

Posted by: Unbiased | January 3, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

So what should the NHL have done? If the caps fans don't vote, should the NHL cheat for them? You really are a moron and am shocked they still let you write crap like this.

Next time, the caps ought to take a page from the redskins' playbook on how to get your fans to vote your players into the popularity contest called pro-bowl.

Posted by: tundey | January 3, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Crosby and Malkin deserve to be there. But non of the Canadiens do.

Posted by: arcassells | January 3, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

All-Star balloting in professional sports is a joke and always has been.

I'd rather see Alex take the All-Star break OFF so there is no chance of injury. Its not an "ALL-STAR" Game anyway, can't get so upset if the system is wrong.

Posted by: caphcky | January 3, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Its widely known that both Canadians and penguins fans used automated scripts to cast hundreds of votes a day without them having to lift a finger before the NHL put the capcha (sp?) into the online voting boxes.

Posted by: jysmith | January 3, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse


1) Don't call people morons.

2) As jysmith wrote, Penguins and Canadiens fans were the ones who cheated. Note the differential in votes cast for the #5 forward (Alex Tanguay) versus Ovechkin's total.

The NHL should not cheat for anyone, but instead make efforts to prevent cheating by anyone. It's not that hard: either allow only one vote per IP address, or distribute paper ballots at games.

Posted by: Hatfield223 | January 3, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

tundey, if stein is such a moron, why do you read his work?

what the nhl should do, like the nfl, is make fan balloting a percentage of the overall vote. than add coaches, media, players, to make up the rest. that way you get to promote the game through the balloting, but ensure "some" amount of "integrity" in the voting.

the only good thing is, unlike the nfl, the nhl has few if any bonuses tied to making the all star game so this sham doesnt hit any deserving player in the wallet.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 3, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

What would be cool is if 1,2,3 or possibly all 4 of the Canadiens elected to start gave up their starting spots to any of the other yet to be named Eastern Conference all star players who are more deserving of starting in the game. Komisarek? Oh please. But that's a pipe dream, right?

Posted by: gebster | January 3, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

OV is the league MVP, and he was a distant 6th in voting? This has nothing to do with anything other than fans of 2 teams taking advantage of the leagues inability to regulate voting for one of it's marquee events. OV will go, but the NHL has egg on its face in my opinion.

Posted by: Leeguru | January 3, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

As a wise man once told me, soon it won't be who didn't cheat, but who cheats best.

Wait a minute...

Posted by: WorstSeat | January 3, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

All the NHL had to do to prevent cheating was to implement a CAPTCHA, like the one used almost EVERYWHERE online when signing up for something. Instead, the NHL said it was not "user friendly." Add this to Bettman's

Here's more on it (midway down the page):,122914

Posted by: 202-206 | January 3, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Dan forgot that Kim Jong II once shot an 18 when playing golf, he is even better than 31, so he should be starting at both defense and center.

Posted by: RichC3 | January 3, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Almost as egregious as the scripting is the fact there was an option to "vote for everyone on one team."

so, homerism trumps picking who you think they best players are this season.

Posted by: metatext | January 3, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I know you're all caps fans, and I agree that OV is the best player in the league, so your hypocrisy can be forgiven a little... but being a Flyers fan myself, can someone give a little love to Jeff Carter? When the team was announced, he led the league in goals (now he's tied with the Great 8) but based on my most recent check he had fewer than 1/16th of the votes of Ovechkin. I hear so much outrage about the most popular players in the league... whatever happened to the good old days when players were players and not marketing tools for the league?

Posted by: bcorlis1 | January 3, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

"Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh, grand world champion hero genius prince" --this is as great a laugh as Semin's fight tonight!!

Posted by: kateterp | January 3, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

But will AO stay medium after this farce?


Posted by: StetSportsBlog | January 3, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

who cares??? OV has won everything there is to win except the Cup (that's this June). Just look at the standings. We're winning!!! I know OV doesn't give a crap about this. So what if he isn't a starter, he'll probly win the all-star mvp anyway...

Posted by: Andoy | January 3, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse


No disrespect to Carter (except for the fact that he's a Flyer), but..

-1 Hart Trophy
-1 Richard Trophy
-1 Pearson Trophy (and 2 nominations)
-1 Art Ross Trophy
-1 Calder Trophy
-3 Time 1st Team All-Star
-Currently 2nd in points, tied for 1st in goals (with Carter)

Carter is not nearly on the same level as Ovechkin. Most people would agree with this.

Posted by: Hatfield223 | January 3, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Sigh... I long for the days when disagreements between Caps Fans and Flyers/Pens fans could be settled in the parking lot of the Capitol Center with broken beer bottles and squealing tires.

Posted by: alecw81 | January 4, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

your venom pleases me...there are many more deserving players. and ignore the crosby issue, only 2 teams represented on the western side as well...what is that about? watch for the skills competition this year it will be all ovie, maybe that can shift the pathetic nhl hero worship of crosby to ovie, and maybe some other young players who are just as good.

Posted by: formerlylove | January 4, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Jeff Carter is a fine player and probably deserves to be in the all star game this year, but that is not really the point here.

The point here is that ballot stuffing scripts overran the NHL voting system for something like the third season straight.

Some really good articles have been done about this and the "Rory" effect. The captcha secure vote method was also circumvented by tracking and identifying the limited number of captcha image options. Also, scripts that use the sms protocol bypass web security entirely.

The really sad part is there are some quite simple ways to quash the effectiveness of these schemes.

1. quietly log IPs / unique users and track number of votes per minute hour etc. Don't count votes that come in from the same IP within a certain time frame. Above 3 per minute or 30 per day.

2. Specify 1 vote per day (that should really be enough).

3. Block out massive voting IPs permanently, since auto voting scripts are already against the rules. But don't tell them. The important part of this is that the more the malicious user realizes they aren't gaming the system the faster they change tactics.

4. Require voting to be done in the stadium, or by mail. Simple / effective.

5. use email authentication methods to verify unique voters and manage voting that way.

THE NHLs own press release all but spells out that the ballots were stuffed. The bit about historic number of votes in the last five days. That is a spike in voting otherwise known as a discrepancy. Otherwise known as a reason to investigate the returns.

Perhaps Pittsburgh natives were trying to counter the tactics of Montreal, but it really doesn't matter.

The argument that caps fans need to 'get out the vote' is really ridiculous. Consider the 'low' (read as normal) number of votes received by most other star players. Consider also that in all likelihood Ovechkin receives a fair number of votes from (unbiased) western conference fans, and international fans. It stands to reason that his votes should be on par with most other star players no matter how poorly the local caps fans would have voted.

Local interest is just not the heart of the issue. The NHP's long standing inability to accurately monitor and police their own electronic voting is the key problem.

The NHL has faced this in the past (see rory) but they chose to 'fix' the problem that season by correcting the votes (based on statistical evidence) what they really need to do is decide how important this event is to their sport and figure out a way to keep it from being such a farce year in and year out.

Posted by: gconrads | January 4, 2009 2:34 AM | Report abuse

It's not just a complaint for the Capitals. The six current division leaders (Caps, Bruins, Flyers, Sharks, Red Wings, and Flames) have a total of ZERO All-Star starters.

But hey, here's something that should cheer us all up: After Saturday's games, the Penguins are in 9th place in the Eastern Conference, meaning they would be OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS!


Posted by: MaxWass | January 4, 2009 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Lets open up the voting in Russia next time and I bet your results would be the opposite....

Posted by: LongTimeSkinsFan | January 4, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Because the voting was done online, Russia was eligible to place votes. (I assume they have the Internet in Russia, though I have never been there)

Posted by: CBT2 | January 4, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Just as humorous of Montreal's and Pittsburgh's ballot stuffing was the fact that no RED WINGS made it out west? Huh? Where is Lidstrom, for one?

Looks like Blackhawk fans pulled a "Montreal" out there.

All-star fan balloting in the internet age is a joke. Look at MLB. A player with a funny name, perhaps "William Hung", might just make it in.

Posted by: wxdancer | January 4, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse


What do you think of the All-Star starting lineup?

Posted by: rockthered21 | January 4, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

glad somebody understood jagr's comment about the NHL communism... understandable why he's in Russia-- Crosby though-- what a joke. If Ovechkin and Malkin head for big ice, can't rightly blame them. Look at last year-- it's all politics just like Crosby overrated performance. sorry crosby just plain sux... but this year Pittsburgh is losing-- so guess they aren't managing their accounts rightly. Even when Crosby didn't play, he still had the big headlines and lead articles over on NHL when both Malkin and Ovechkin were totally outskating him and leading their teams to wins...

It's the new NHL communsim-- stop and think a moment, jags could have probably broken Howe's records-- but he couldn't even respond to interview questions directed at him and just standing on the ice in Pittsburgh brought him interference calls-- it really looked bloody rigged last year, but you know, Crosby is the NHL fancy boy and there you have it.

but Crosby will never make the distance of either Ovechkin or Malkin...

I think they should trade Malkin to a more deserving team and then everybody would be happy if the pens were kicked to bottom of league. Dallas Stars are desperate for someone--not like their exactly star material for playoffs, but must get to be insufferable with Sidney. Maybe the Sabres could take interest... they'd be happy for a bit of revenge too.

Posted by: ardeladimwit | January 4, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

a fist fight between Ovechkin and Sid "the baby who can't get Bettman's tit out of his mouth" would settle this argument. I vote for having it in Red Square, but if you can find somewhere in Canada where life exists, that would also be fine.

Posted by: bcorlis1 | January 4, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

This is easily fixed next year. The fans still vote, but it only counts for 1/3. The writers vote for another 1/3 and the players and coaches vote counts another 1/3. Somewhat similar to the NFL system. That offsets the ballot stuffing by the Pissburgh and Montreal fans but still has a role for a fan vote.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 5, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

wxdancer: Chicago stuffing the ballot box? You can't be serious!

Posted by: StevefromSacto | January 5, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

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