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Canadian Press
12/20/2006 12:22:58 PM


NEW YORK (CP) - Rory Fitzpatrick is on the verge of becoming an NHL all-star.

Fitzpatrick, a journeyman defenceman with the Vancouver Canucks, is second in voting among Western Conference blue-liners in results released Wednesday by the league. Fitzpatrick has 428,832 votes, trailing only Anaheim Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer (447,502).

Should Fitzpatrick remain in the top two by the time voting ends Jan. 2, he will earn a spot in the all-star game as a write-in candidate with just nine goals and 18 assists in 229 career NHL games.

The movement to send Fitzpatrick to the all-star game Jan. 24 in Dallas began with a fan website. The phenomenon has since found its way into print and TV media, vaulting the unheralded Fitzpatrick ahead of all-star veterans Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit (427,364), Chris Pronger of Anaheim (340,941) and Sergei Zubov of Dallas (172,334).

Fitzpatrick has yet to record a point in 19 games this season, returning to the lineup Dec. 14 after missing over a month with a broken bone in his left ankle.

San Jose Sharks teammates Joe Thornton (535,134) and Patrick Marleau (368,827) lead forwards in voting, with Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche (363,720) in third. Another Shark, reigning Maurice Richard winner Jonathan Cheechoo (335,960), is fourth.

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I still can't believe this. Who's spot is he going to take on the All-Star?

Someone like Visnovsky, Boucher, Phaneuf or Jovanovski won't be going because of this guy.

The whole thing is stupid, All-Stars go to the ASG, role players are lucky to be getting paid for play hockey.
 
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