Just as the US National Hockey League (NHL), Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) has it’s own All-Star game.
This year’s game is set for January 12-13 in Chelyabinsk and is only the fifth one to be held since the first one in 2009.
The teams are also chosen similar to that of the NHL All-Stars, by fan votes. Fans casting their votes from December 12 through December 14 chose the starting lineups for KHL’s Teams East and West.
Not so surprisingly, the lineups for the KHL’s All-Stars are made up of many of the NHL’s elite and don’t look all that much different than those that would be making up this year’s NHL All-Star lineups if there were to be one held this season.
The top three players garnering the most votes are all forwards and, coincidentally, hail from the NHL. Pittsburgh Penguins Evgeni Malkin was the top vote-getter with a total of 40,569 votes with Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk (33,731 votes) and Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin (31,935 votes) behind him. The top vote-getters among NHL defensemen are Boston Bruins Zdeno Chara and Ottawa Senators Sergei Gonchar. It was a close race between NHL goalies Semyon Varlamov (Colorado Avalanche) and Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators) with 26,344 and 26,204 votes respectively.
Starting lineups for each team are as follows:
Team East: forwards Malkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Sergei Kostitsyn (Predators); defensemen Ilya Nikulin and Gonchar; and goalie Michael Garnett (previously played for the Atlanta Thrashers)
Team West: forwards Datsyuk, Ovechkin and New Jersey Devils Ilya Kovalchuk; defensemen Chara and Alexander Ryazantsev; and goalie Varlamov
The Russian media is currently choosing second lines and back-up goalies through this week (December 21) with full rosters for both teams to be announced on December 24.
Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins columnist for RantSports.com. If you enjoy her articles / posts, you can follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her personal Facebook page (via Networked Blogs), visit her personal Tumblr page, or stop by her Pinterest page.