PHWA addresses All-Star voting snafu: ‘We know we got this wrong’

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In the wake of Alex Ovechkin being voted onto the NHL’s first- and second-All Star Teams, the organization responsible for balloting — the Professional Hockey Writers Association — has released a statement, courtesy president Kevin Allen (of USA Today):

It was the Professional Hockey Writers Association’s recommendation that its members vote for Alex Ovechkin on the right wing, the position he played in the vast majority of his games this season.

Prior to ballots being issued, we emailed a memo to our members reminding them of Ovechkin’s position switch in 2012-13.

But 45 of our members chose to vote for him on the left wing, the position he had played for many years. It is also the position listed for him on NHL.com.

We are troubled by the all-star voting results, and plan to take a closer look at the events that led to Ovechkin winning All-Star acclaim at two positions.

We know we got this wrong, and our objective is to make sure it never happens again.

Even before this confusion was revealed, the PHWA had already planned a study of our voting process. At our annual meeting in New York, a committee was formed to look at all voting issues, including transparency and eligibility. The committee includes Mark Spector (Sportsnet.ca), Craig Custance (ESPN.com), Mike Russo (Minneapolis Star-Tribune), Nick Cotsonika (Yahoo.com), Bruce Garrioch (Ottawa Sun) and Frank Seravalli (Philadelphia Daily News).

That group will also review this situation to see what can be done to eliminate this in the future.

Ovechkin was named to the NHL’s first All-Star Team as a right winger, and to the NHL’s second All-Star team as a left winger.

The result meant Edmonton’s Taylor Hall — who, as the third place vote-getter at left wing — essentially lost a spot on the second team.

The PHWA is currently made up of 285 members, 178 of whom cast votes this year for the All-Star and All-Rookie teams.

The association also votes on the Hart, Norris, Calder, Lady Byng and Selke Trophies.