NEW YORK - The Penguins and the Blackhawks dominated the NHL's all-star fan balloting.
Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury, and Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith are the six players selected by the fans for the Jan. 30 game in Raleigh, N.C.
Crosby was the top-voted player with 635,509 total votes. Toews tallied 407,676 total votes and Crosby's Pittsburgh teammate Malkin received 376,887 to round out the top three forwards. Pittsburgh's Letang, a write-in candidate, was the top-voted defenceman with 477,960 votes and will be joined by fellow defenceman Duncan Keith, who received 382,162 votes.
Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury was the top-voted goaltender with 426,305 votes.
The six players will be joined in Raleigh by 36 additional all-stars, who will be unveiled on Jan. 11. Twelve rookies will also be selected to participate in the skills competition.
''Every player fancies himself as a potential general manager when they're at the back of the bus or the back of the plane, and I think this is their opportunity to do that,'' NHL VP of Hockey and Business Development Brendan Shanahan. ''I think a lot of the guys are having fun discussing potentially who they would choose first overall and then also some of the speculation on who could potentially go last overall. But the strategies will come into play; whether teams or captains are selecting based on who they think will help them win the game or who will help them win the skills competition.''
As previously announced, the NHL, working in conjunction with the National Hockey League Players' Association, replaced the traditional conference vs. conference format for the All-Star teams with a player draft that will determine the team rosters for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.
The Jan. 28 NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft can be seen live on TSN at 8pm et/5pm pt.
A coin toss will decide first pick with the team captains, joined by their two alternate captains, alternately drafting the 36 remaining All-Stars through 18 rounds.
''I want to make sure there are no shenanigans or collusion,'' Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie said jokingly, ''because I have this funny feeling that the two captains might get together and say 'let's leave somebody like Nicklas Lidstrom to be the last guy so that you can't make fun of the guy.' I think they will make sure that the last guy picked is one of the very best players and if you pick one of the best guys last, he's going to slough it off.
''But if you're looking for Sidney Crosby to be unpredictable, that's good if you're looking on the ice,'' McKenzie continued. He's so predictable off the ice, I can't imagine he's going to pull a rabbit out of his hat and say he's picking Ovechkin over Malkin. I think he'll pretty much go right down the line, but we'll see.''
Each team will consist of three goalies, six defencemen and 12 forwards total. For sake of fairness in the draft, the captain and alternate captains for each team will consist of two forwards and one defenceman.
Also, to ensure that the final draft picks are true selections and not simply predetermined due to position requirements, each team's three goalies must be picked by the end of Round 10 and each team's six defencemen must be picked by the conclusion of Round 15.
The 12 rookies participating in the Honda NHL SuperSkills will be divided by the NHL into two groups of six.
At the completion of the 15th round of the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft, one NHL rookie will be selected to choose which All-Star team his group will join for the skills competition.
Fan voting officially closed at 11:59 p.m. Monday. More than 14.3 million total votes were registered.