The latest numbers for fan-voting for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game are in, and a surprising candidate continued his ascent up the forwards list — the product of a blog-run write-in campaign.
Sean Avery of the New York Rangers is now No. 16 in fan-voting among forwards ahead of stars like Eric Staal, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Semin, Jeff Carter, Marian Gaborik, Martin St. Louis, and the Sedin brothers.
Avery, known more for his controversial antics than his scoring (he has one goal on the season) has been propelled up the rankings thanks to a write-in campaign spearheaded by Kevin DeLury, author of NYRangersblog.com.
DeLury teamed up with other Rangers’ bloggers to launch a full-fledged social media campaign that culminated with “Vote for Avery Day” on Thursday in which fans were asked to vote for Avery at least 100 times.
This isn’t the first time a player that doesn’t “deserve” to be an All-Star has vaulted up the voting thanks to a fan campaign. Starting with “Vote for Rory“, a campaign for Vancouver Canucks defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick in 2007, fans have launched several different write-in campaigns each season.
Avery doesn’t have too much hope of actually playing in the game as only the top three starting forwards are determined by the fan vote, and Avery trails Evgeni Malkin for third by over 110,000 votes.
Still, many feel that voting for a player like Avery, who has nowhere near the skill of many of the players he’s passing, makes a mockery of the All-Star Game. But the event’s purpose is to entertain fans and if they want Avery in the game, they should be commended for getting him there.
Besides, the All-Star Game has turned into a gimmick anyway, and with its goofy, albeit intriguing, new rules it can hardly be taken seriously as a measure of who the best players in the league are.
So if DeLury and company are able to push Avery into the All-Star Game, so be it. It’s just another example of the power of social media.
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