Voting for the NHL All-Star Game begins on Thursday at 1 p.m.
Once again, voters will be determining only the captains for each of the four division-based teams that will be playing in a three-man, overtime-style hockey tournament. The remaining players will be chosen by the league.
That, of course, means that only the biggest names apply. Or does it? Last year, voters flocked to the unlikely candidacy of Arizona’s John Scott and selected him Pacific Division captain, even though he seldom played and had been traded to Montreal and sent to the minors before the game.
The league has implemented a rule that puts players who have spent any time in the minors that season, except for conditioning assignments, off limits. That means, for Blues fans, that Magnus Paajarvi and Petteri Lindbohm, are not eligible for the All-Star Game, but Ty Rattie, who went down to the minors on a conditioning assignment and has played only 29 minutes all season, is eligible.
The game will be played on Jan. 29 in Los Angeles and will be broadcast on NBC.
The voting can be done at NHL.com/vote and on the league’s App. Captains will be selected regardless of position and fans can vote up to 10 times per day.
Eschewing the always ridiculous no-contact game that the All-Star Game had become, the league went with two 20-minute 3-on-3 games, with the winners of those two playing for first. (Unlike baseball, home ice in the Stanley Cup Finals is not at stake.)
Apparently not wanting to play favorites and promote interest around the world, ballots will be available in eight languages, only one of which I speak: English, French, Czech, Finnish, German, Russian, Slovak and Swedish.
The App, however, will only provide the ballot in English and French, which is still one more language than I speak.
And you can win valuable prizes. Cut and paste from the league:
Eligible residents of the 50 U.S. states and Canada who vote online at NHL.com/vote can enter for a chance to win one Grand Prize: a trip for two to attend the 2017 NHL All-Star festivities in Los Angeles. There is no purchase necessary to enter or win. For sweepstakes rules, visit NHL.com/vote.