The journeyman Vancouver Canucks defenceman, the beneficiary of an unlikely Internet campaign, sat third among Western Conference blue-liners when the results were last released Dec. 27.
Fan balloting for all-star starters ended last week and the final results will be unveiled on the U.S. TV network Versus during Tuesday’s Detroit-Colorado game. In Canada, the news will be released during the French-language network RDS’s broadcast of the Atlanta-Montreal game.
Fitzpatrick would have to move up to second among defencemen in the conference to get an invitation to the game, which will be played Jan. 24 in Dallas.
It’s believed he fell short, which gets the league out of an uncomfortable position although the flip side is that the NHL’s all-star fan balloting has never received this kind of buzz.
An Internet campaign helped garner 486,842 write-in votes for Fitzpatrick by Dec. 27. Many in the hockey world were appalled that a player with just one assist this season had received so many votes.
Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky and Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry were among those who openly opposed the “Vote for Rory” campaign.
Even Randy Carlyle, the man who will coach the Western Conference team, says he is not in favour of it.
If Fitzpatrick is voted onto the team, Carlyle doesn’t plan on giving him much ice time, although he seemed to indicate Monday it was not a problem he would have to deal with.
“I’m a traditionalist,” the Ducks coach said from Anaheim, Calif., on a conference call. “I had a plan that I don’t think I’d like to tell you (reporters) guys about.
“But if Rory Fitzpatrick had been voted in, we would have had to make a decision on how much he would play. I don’t think the player shouldn’t be there if that’s the league’s format and he gets the votes, but how much he played probably would have been decided at a conference between (assistant coach) Barry Trotz and myself.”
The movement to get Fitzpatrick on the all-star team began with Steve Schmid, a Buffalo Sabres fan from Rochester, N.Y., who started voteforrory.com.
Soon after several videos appeared on youtube and the Canucks even started selling Vote for Rory t-shirts as the movement gained momentum.