Penguins Notebook: Crosby tops All-Star voting again
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SUNRISE, Fla. -- There are major upsets in the National Hockey League every season.
Sidney Crosby being voted an Eastern Conference starter in the All-Star Game isn't one of them. Never has been, and likely never will be.
"I'm shocked," coach Michel Therrien said, chuckling, upon hearing that Crosby will be an All-Star starter. "I'm really shocked."
Crosby led all vote-getters with 507,274, the second season in a row he has topped the balloting.
Crosby entered the Penguins' game against Florida at the BankAtlantic Center last night as the No. 4 scorer in the NHL, with 17 goals and 40 assists in 41 games. He trailed only Vincent Lecavalier (62 points), Jarome Iginla (60) and Ilya Kovalchuk (59) in the scoring race and had played fewer games than those three.
The other East starters are forwards Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa) and Lecavalier (Tampa Bay), defensemen Andrei Markov (Montreal) and Zdeno Chara (Boston) and goalie Martin Brodeur (New Jersey). The West starters are forwards Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit), Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit) and Iginla (Calgary), defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit) and Dion Phaneuf (Calgary) and goalie Roberto Luongo (Vancouver).
The rest of the East roster, which will be selected by the league's hockey operations department and general managers, will be announced Friday..
Crosby, a wire-to-wire leader in the voting, took his accomplishment in stride, although seemingly not for granted.
"It's a compliment," he said. "And I appreciate the fact that I'll have an opportunity to be a starter in the game."
Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton will have season-ending reconstructive surgery on his right knee Monday.
Eaton has not played since his anterior cruciate ligament was torn when Boston forward Marco Sturm knocked his legs out from him in a 4-2 Penguins victory Dec. 23 at Mellon Arena.
Eaton, who played primarily with Sergei Gonchar on the Penguins' top defense pairing, had three assists, four penalty minutes and 89 blocked shots in 36 games this season. He will be an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Florida's Tomas Vokoun has been one of the busiest goalies in the NHL this season -- he appeared in his 38th game last night, more than anyone except San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov (41) -- and he's one of the more outspoken, as well.
After the Panthers' 3-0 loss Saturday at Mellon Arena, Vokoun didn't hesitate to call out teammates -- albeit not by name -- he didn't feel had put forth an honest effort.
He told reporters that some Florida players "aren't pulling their weight," and that "you can't win with five players in this league." Yesterday, Vokoun did not back down from his postgame comments.
"This is a professional business," he said. "You're a professional, and you have to be accountable for yourself. You have to be ready to play. You get paid to do the job. It's really hard to get somebody [motivated] or tell him, 'You have to be ready.' It's your responsibility. When you have a job, you have to do it, or they'll find someone else to do it."
Panthers coach Jacques Martin applauded Vokoun.
"I think that's good. I think he's accountable for his actions. If you're going to talk, you have to be able to support it, and he has been able to."
Penguins goalie Ty Conklin's game-day routine includes running sprints, which he generally does in arena corridors near his team's locker room.
Yesterday, he moved them into a BankAtlantic Center parking lot. And for a good reason.
"When it's 75 degrees and sunny out," he said, "it makes it a lot more enjoyable to do it there."
First Published January 9, 2008 12:00 am