Every time Flyers center Jeff Carter scores a home goal - and that happens quite frequently these days - the Wachovia Center scoreboard sends a message to its fans:
Write Him In,
Carter, you see, is not on the all-star ballot. Fans are picking the starters for the Jan. 25 All-Star Game in Montreal. The fans' all-star voting closes on Jan. 2.
As of yesterday, the Carter voting campaign hasn't exactly been Obama-like.
Carter had received 12,766 write-in votes and was in 31st place among forwards - far behind the three leading forwards: Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (725,808 votes) and Evgeni Malkin (651,607), and Montreal's Alexei Kovalev (596,698).
Despite being the NHL's second-leading goal-scorer with 20, Carter is also behind such players as Boston's Patrice Bergeron (four goals; 150,393 votes) and Montreal's Saku Koivu (seven; 596,681).
Carter shrugged off the fact that the NHL didn't place him on the ballot, which was put together by an informal committee.
"I don't care," he said softly.
Carter can still be added to the team by Colin Campbell, the NHL's senior vice president and director of hockey operations. Campbell will pick the rest of the all-stars after consulting with league general managers.
"That would be cool," Carter said of being selected. "There's a lot of good players, and if I got a chance to go, it would be great. But I'm not going to worry about it."
Carter, who leads the NHL in overtime goals (three) and points (five), became the seventh-fastest Flyer to reach 20 goals; he did it in his 27th game. Only Tim Kerr (four times), Simon Gagne and Reggie Leach have done it more quickly.
Kerr did it the fastest, scoring his 20th goal in his 18th game in 1985-86. He finished the season with 58 goals.
Entering this afternoon's showdown with the Penguins, Carter is on pace to score 59 goals. He had a career-high 29 goals last season, a year in which he didn't score his 20th until Feb. 25 - 2½ months later than this season.