The NHL has kicked off voting to decide the participants in the All-Star Game to be held in Ottawa on January 29, 2012.
There are eight Russians on the list of 73 players, including star forwards Aleksandr Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey Devils) and Evgeny Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins).
Attackers Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings) and Aleksandr Semin (Washington Capitals) and defender Sergey Gonchar (Pittsburgh Penguins) were also selected.
Two Russian netminders – Ilya Bryzgalov (Philadelphia Flyers) and Nikolay Khabibulin (Edmonton Oilers) – will compete for a chance to defend the goals in Ottawa.
There is still no certainty over the All-Star Game format. The league will have to decide whether the two teams to appear on the ice will be separated by conference or the lineups will be selected by the captains, as happened last year.
There was only one Russian taking part in the 2011 All-Star Game, with Aleksandr Ovechkin defending the colors of Staal’s team.