All-Star voting update: Crosby, Penguins and write-in candidates dominate

Since November 15th, hockey fans have had their chance to vote-in starters for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina. We’ll give you the occasional voting update, as fans have until January 3, 2011 to select six players (three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie) who will act as something of a fans’ First All-NHL Team.

As you can see from various results, write-in candidates made strong showings but the Pittsburgh Penguins have been particularly strong in earning high quantities of votes.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 in fan votes among forwards (the top three are highlighted to represent who would make it if the voting ended today, while write-in candidates include an asterisk).

(Note: all voting information comes via

So the top three forwards are Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Steve Stamkos. Evgeni Malkin is less than 8,000 votes behind Stamkos (who deserves to be in the top three more than Malkin based on this season’s results) while Alex Ovechkin is shockingly seated at number five. The best write-in candidate among forwards is Claude Giroux with 175,008 votes.

Let’s take a look at the top five defensemen next.

Interestingly enough, the top defenseman is a write-in candidate in the form of Kris Letang. Duncan Keith holds a narrow lead over Chris Pronger for the second spot while Nicklas Lidstrom has a reasonable chance to catch up.

Dustin Byfuglien might be the biggest snub along the blueline; he ranks number 10 among defensemen with 116,459 votes despite leading all D in scoring by at least six points with 32 on the season.

Finally, let’s take a look at the top five goalies, with the would-be fan vote winner highlighted.

Not sure why Price or Fleury needed to be write-in candidates in the first place (one being the savior in Montreal, the other with a Stanley Cup on his resume), but fans fixed that problem with their votes. It’s interesting to see that Sergei Bobrovsky’s hot start hasn’t been lost on fans, either.

To review, if the voting stayed the same, the top six roster would look like:

Forwards: Crosby, Toews and Stamkos

Defensemen: Letang and Keith

Goalie: Price

So, as you can see, the Penguins (and Blackhawks) did well while write-in candidates also prospered. Again, you can still vote until January 3rd, so click here to cast your ballot.

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings

Preseason stats: Five goalies with good numbers, five goalies with…not

Anders Nilsson
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Yeah, yeah, it’s a small sample size and it’s just the preseason, but here are some goaltending stats anyway.

Five goalies with good numbers

Anders Nilsson, Edmonton — zero goals on 53 shots. His solid play a likely factor in the decision to waive Ben Scrivens, who actually wasn’t that bad in the preseason (4 goals on 56 shots).

Martin Jones, San Jose — three goals on 100 shots. The Sharks are rolling the dice on a couple of cheap goalies. Jones and Alex Stalock have a combined cap hit of just $4.6 million.

Jacob Markstom, Vancouver — three goals on 79 shots. Can he finally get over the NHL hump? If so, he could make it a real competition with Ryan Miller.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus — five goals on 122 shots. The Blue Jackets have scored a ton of goals in the preseason, but there remain questions about their blue line. Bobrovsky has the ability to make a so-so defense look good.

Anton Khudobin, Anaheim — two goals on 67 shots. A good early sign for the Ducks, who have Frederik Andersen in the starting role and want to give young John Gibson more time to develop in the AHL.

Five goalies with bad numbers

Thomas Greiss, Islanders — 14 goals on 94 shots. Has to be a bit of concern in Brooklyn. The Isles got below-average backup play last season from Chad Johnson. They wanted to fix that with the Greiss signing.

Robin Lehner, Buffalo — 11 goals on 95 shots. Tim Murray paid a hefty price to get the 24-year-old out of Ottawa. With the aforementioned Johnson in the backup role, the goaltending story is worth watching.

Jeff Zatkoff, Pittsburgh — 11 goals on 74 shots. Granted, Marc-Andre Fleury and Matthew Murray weren’t particularly sharp either. The Penguins conceded 28 goals in eight games.

Kari Lehtonen, Dallas — 15 goals on 84 shots. For a Stars team that desperately needs better goaltending, that has to be worrying. Antti Niemi wasn’t a whole lot better either, allowing eight goals on 65 shots. Fair question to ask — how many of all those goals were attributable to poor defensive play?

Pekka Rinne, Nashville — 12 goals on 91 shots. Has earned the benefit of the doubt, but thought we’d point it out anyway.