Fitzpatrick falls to third in All-Star voting

NEW YORK -- The Rory Fitzpatrick write-in campaign took a hit Wednesday.

After a strong start, the journeyman Vancouver Canucks defenseman fell to third among Western Conference blue-liners behind Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer and Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom.

Fan voting determines the starters for the game, which will be held in Dallas on Jan. 24.

Fitzpatrick, a nine-year veteran, doesn't have a point in 22 games this season but has garnered unprecedented support for a write-in candidate thanks to a highly visible Internet campaign.

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

Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby has the most votes in either conference with 626,175. Alexander Ovechkin of Washington has 356,215 votes, leading Daniel Briere of Buffalo for the second Eastern Conference forward spot by fewer than 6,000 votes.

Buffalo's Brian Campbell and Sheldon Souray of Montreal lead Eastern Conference defensemen, and Ryan Miller of Buffalo currently leads goalies for the east by more than 70,000 votes over New Jersey's Martin Brodeur.

In the West, San Jose forward Joe Thornton leads with 614,753 votes -- nearly 200,000 more than Colorado's Joe Sakic, who is second among forwards. Jonathan Cheechoo of the Sharks is third.

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