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Blackhawks Mon Dec 22 2014

Blackhawks Filling All-Star Roster for 2015 Contest

Chicago Blackhawks It's been a few years since fans have had a chance to watch an NHL All-Star game due to a shortened season in 2013 and Winter Olympics last year. The exhibition may have been put on ice, but it makes its triumphant return this Jan. 24 in Columbus, OH, and features a lot of Blackhawks players already in the mix from fan voting.

The last time the league's elite was on the ice, they were entertaining fans back in 2012 in Ottawa. That was when Team Chara beat Team Alfredsson by the final of 12-9. Marian Hossa scored a goal and had two assists while Patrick Kane chipped in for one assist for the winning team and pulled off a Superman-like move in the skills competition.

A lot has happened between then and now -- another Cup and what should have been another Cup -- so who is on the short list to make the trip to Columbus this time around for the Hawks?

Leading all votes is Buffalo's Zemgus Girgensons, who was selected by the Sabres 14th overall in the 2012 draft. Girgensons' million-plus votes come from a pile of Sabres fans and natives of Latvia, according to the data gathered by the league (80 percent of his votes are represented by this faction).

After Girgensons, it's all Kane and Jonathan Toews for the Hawks. Kane has a slight lead over the Captain with 586,000 votes to 573,000 respectively. Perhaps it's what spurred the Toews' "Exercise Your Right to Vote" video, which is glorious in every way.

On the blue line, Duncan Keith leads all defenders in votes as the reigning Norris Trophy winner. He's third on the team with a +/- of 11 above water and 46th amongst defensemen with an iCORSI of 10.21 (defensemen who have played at least 300 minutes).

P.K. Subban of the Canadiens is second amongst blue liners with over 460,000 votes, but Brent Seabrook is inching closer with nearly 445,000 votes. It should be Subban's to win over Seabrook, especially with how well Subban has been playing (he's sixth in the league amongst all defensemen with 1.43 points per 60 minutes played).

Fresh off a leg injury at a concert at the House of Blues, Corey Crawford leads all goalies with over 501,000 votes -- and it really isn't close between him and the next closest net minder in Carey Price (391,000 votes). Crawford's first game back in Columbus this past weekend saw him play fairly well in a 3-2 loss in a shootout.

That's three of five Blackhawks on the starting line with a goalie to boot. Not too shabby for a team looking to keep itself rolling into the break. With 13 games left until that time, one which includes the outdoor Winter Classic in the nation's capital on New Year's Day, the Hawks will look to relax and have more fun in an exhibition game instead of red-lining through a shortened schedule and international competition.

Lastly, the Hawks organization lost one of its own in assistant equipment manager Clint Reif. The news was tough on everyone close to the team, which was visible to anyone watching the interview with coach Joel Quenneville or Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk's open to the broadcast against the Leafs. Condolences go out to Clint's family and friends and those who he worked with throughout the years.

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