Fan voting for the January 30, 2011 NHL all-star game is picking up, and it feels like 1992 again. Remember when Lemieux, Jagr, Stevens, and Coffey all were in the lineup for the Wales Conference? This year is shaping up as the dawn of a new era of Pittsburgh all-star dominance, with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Marc-Andre Fleury all at or near the top of the voting for their respective positions. This has ESPN's Pierre LeBrun apoplectic. LeBrun's take:
Listen, Kris Letang is having a wonderful season, one even worthy of Norris Trophy nomination at this point. But that the Penguins blueliner is more than 100,000 votes ahead of six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom makes me sick to my stomach. Where's the respect, hockey fans??
Sick to your stomach? Really? Because it sure looks to my eye like Letang is having the better season. He's got 29 points to Lidstrom's 26, he's a +18 to Lidstrom's +1, and, oh, he skates like the freaking wind. This is the 2011 all-star game, is it not? We're fans of LeBrun, but it's hardly a sign of disrespect that Lidstrom currently sits fourth in the defensemen voting behind Tanger, Duncan Keith, and Chris Pronger. It's not those guys' fault it's so cold in the D that Red Wings fans can't click a button to vote for their aging captain.
LeBrun is just as full of righteous indignation over the fact that Malkin (3rd) currently leads Steven Stamkos (4th) in the forward voting and that Fleury (2nd among goalies) is gaining fast on Carey Price (1st). Just so I have this straight, Pierre, we should be rewarding Lidstrom for past performance, but we should ignore Malkin and Fleury's past performance in favor of Stamkos and Price's current performance? Got it. In any event, we'll see who the team captains choose when it comes time to pick up sides.