Remember last year when a bunch of fans got together on the internet and tried to get journeyman defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick voted into the NHL All-Star game? It was the most interesting thing to happen in the NHL since they came back from the lockout. So obviously the NHL had to put a stop to it.
The NHL recently started this year's fan balloting, and their message to fans was pretty clear: You try to rig our all-star voting, and we'll rig it right back.
First off, the NHL added a verification code to prevent computers from voting for the same player over and over again. There's nothing wrong with that. I doubt the NHL needed much more. But just to make sure, they took out a little insurance to make sure another "Vote for Rory" campaign didn't happen again.
Fans vote for 3 forwards, 2 defenseman, and one goalie per conference. The problem is, all all-star candidates apparently weren't created equally. The ballot lists 30 forwards, 13 defenseman, and 9 goalies per conference. If you want to vote for somebody not on the list, you are allowed one write-in vote per conference.
The problem is, in order to submit a ballot, you must have a full ballot. So let's say that you, sporting a keen eye for hockey talent and being an overall superior human being, want to write-in Steve Wagner as an all-star. In order to vote for him, you must also vote for one of the defenseman on the list. Same goes for forward. If you're the type of fan that wants to vote for Chris Kunitz(I'm assuming they have internet access in prisons), you must also vote for two of the 30 forwards the NHL lists. If you have two favorite players that are write-ins, you have to fill out two ballots, and effectively, you're voting against whichever write-in you picked on the first ballot with the second ballot, because you're giving more votes to the listed players.
Do you only want to vote for one conference? Too bad. You have to vote for both, which once again, funnels even more votes to the players the NHL selected, which by the way, includes players like Dan Boyle, who is an impressive -7 with no points in 4 games played this year.
Since the players the NHL selected are guaranteed to get a certain amount of votes, it makes things next to impossible for a write-in player to be chosen. So what is even the point of fan balloting if it's limited to such a select number of players that the NHL chose? If those are the players the NHL listed are really the players that everyone wants to see, then they should have no trouble getting the most votes without the NHL rigging the voting.