Fitzpatrick falls to 3rd in NHL all-star voting
The chances of Vancouver Canucks defenceman Rory Fitzpatrick playing in the NHL all-star game have hit a bit of a snag.
The 31-year-old blue-liner dropped to third among Western Conference defencemen in voting results released by the league on Wednesday.
Scott Niedermayer of the Anaheim Ducks leads the defencemen with 540,380 votes, followed by Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings at 522,345.Fitzpatrick has earned 486,842 votes.
Fan balloting determines the starters for the 55th NHL all-star game, which will be held in Dallas on Jan. 24 (CBC, 8 p.m. ET).
Fitzpatrick needs to finish among the top two in voting for defencemen to be eligible to play in the contest.
Fitzpatrick doesn't have a point in 22 games this season but has garnered support thanks to a high-profile write-in campaign started on the internet.
Several high-profile hockey personalities have spoken out against the "Vote for Rory" campaign, including Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky and Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry.
Cherry called the campaign to elect Fitzpatrick to this year's all-star game "a joke" on Coaches Corner last weekend.
CBC Sports Online hockey columnist Scott Morrison also blasted the idea of a journeyman defenceman such as Fitzpatrick playing in the all-star contest.
"The campaign has not exposed an oversight by the league on the ballots, but rather a flaw in the system, that because of the power of the internet an unworthy player can muster enough support to crack the top two, maybe the top one, in voting. Congrats on that," wrote Morrison in his Hockey Night Extra Blog.
Fitzpatrick has not said whether he will play if voted in.