The Washington Times - January 13, 2009, 02:05PM

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau wasn’t too happy when his superstar, Alex Ovechkin, wasn’t voted in as a starter by the fans for the NHL All-Star Game, and let it be known he wasn’t a big fan of the process.

However, after the Tuesday morning skate, Boudreau said he has no problem with putting the All-Star Game starters in the hands of hockey fans.


“No one complains about the fan balloting in baseball,” Boudreau said. “I think we are kind of looking for a controversy that is not really there. We want the fans to participate. It was the most fans ever in the history of voting. Let them vote.”

Actually, people do complain about the fan balloting in baseball. However, I am not one of them. All-Star games are exhibitions — nothing more. They exist for the fans, not the players, so why not have the fans do the voting for exhibition contests? Sports fans are more disenfranchised than ever from the players and teams they follow. There are few connections left. This is one way that the fans can feel like they have an impact and a connection.

Of course there are abuses and ballot box stuffing. But I can tell you from experience that players, coaches and management would be no better. I’ve seen football players pick their friends or their agent’s fellow clients for Pro Bowl selections. I remember at the 1993 All-Star Game when Cito Gaston, with three of his Blue Jays already voted in as starters, picked four Toronto reserves, giving the Blue Jays 25 percent of the entire American League roster.

There will be abuses and injustices no matter who does the voting, so leave it in the hands of the fans.


I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM on Tuesday, Jan. 13, and Thursday, Jan. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m.


I will be doing an online chat on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 2 p.m. on

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