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Defenceman Rory Fitzpatrick falls to third in NHL all-star voting

The journeyman Vancouver Canucks defenceman fell behind Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom to third among Western Conference blue-liners in results released by the league.

Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer leads the defencemen with 540,380 votes followed by Lidstrom at 522,345 and Fitzpatrick at 486,842.

Fan balloting determines the starters for the game, which will be held in Dallas on Jan. 24. Fitzpatrick will need to finish among the top two in voting for defencemen to attend.

The 31-year-old doesn't have a point in 22 games this season but has garnered an unprecedented amount of support thanks to a highly visible Internet campaign.

Several high-profile hockey personalities have spoken out against the "Vote for Rory" campaign. Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky suggested the NHL intervene in the situation.

Fitzpatrick has not said whether he plans to attend the all-star game if voted in.

Meanwhile, it looks like at least a few San Jose Sharks players will be there.

San Jose's Joe Thornton leads all Western Conference forwards with 614,753 votes - nearly 200,000 more than Colorado's Joe Sakic, who is second. Jonathan Cheechoo of the Sharks is third followed by teammate Patrick Marleau.

Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks is tops among goalies in the conference.



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