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Commissioner's Choice (All-Star Games)

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06-05-2010, 02:43 PM
  #1
Mayor Bee
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Commissioner's Choice (All-Star Games)

This is actually a repeat of a thread I stuck on the main board last night, but I figured I'd open it up for discussion here.

Back in the 1990s, the NHL used to have a player on each side of the All-Star Game who was selected by the powers-that-be. They are:

1990-91
Bobby Smith (Campbell)
Guy Lafleur (Wales)

1991-92
Bryan Trottier (Wales)
Larry Robinson (Campbell)

1992-93
Brad Marsh (Wales)
Randy Carlyle (Campbell)

1993-94
Dave Taylor (West)
Joe Mullen (East)

1995-96
Denis Savard (West)
Craig MacTavish (East)

1996-97
Tony Granato (West)
Slava Fetisov (West)
Dale Hunter (East)
Dale Hawerchuk (East)

1997-98
Al MacInnis (North America)
Mark Messier (North America)
Igor Larionov (World)
Jari Kurri (World)

1999-2000
Mark Messier (North America)

So, there are two questions that I have to ask, followed by my answers.
1) Should the extra selection be added back in on a one-per-team basis?
2) If so, who should it be for the upcoming year?

I say...
1) Yes. The All-Star Game is an exhibition that is for both the fans and the players. With the stipulation that every team must have a participant no matter how bad that team's roster may be, there's no reason why one additional player at the end of his career shouldn't have a shot at it. It's a good way to honor those at the end of their careers.
2) Assuming an East-v-West format, here's who I'd have as the candidates (assuming current rosters)
West goalie - No real candidates.
West defenseman - Sean O'Donnell. A journeyman at the end of his career; he's played the quietest 1,000 games in history with 7 teams.
West forward - Todd Marchant. Once an excellent speedy defensive forward; has over 1,100 games with no All-Star games.
East goalie - Martin Biron. Really, the only candidate.
East defenseman - Brendan Witt. No real reason, but there isn't much to choose from on this side (Hal Gill being the other candidate)
East forward - Slava Kozlov, Atlanta. Just under 1,200 games, 850 points, and never an All-Star participant.

I guess there would be a third question then. There are some legitimately great players in the original commissioner's choice lists who were clearly HOF bound or at least marginal HOF candidates, but weren't playing at a top level any more. Thus, their selection was out of appreciation for a great career and giving them a last honor at the All-Star Game. There's also the next level, which is the guys who played a long time without any accolades and who never were at an All-Star level (Marsh, MacTavish, Hunter, Granato).

Which one would be keeping more in line with the spirit of the game? I wouldn't mind seeing one of the guys I mentioned as being my candidates play in the game, but I also wouldn't have an issue with an outgoing legend well past his prime making it either.

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06-05-2010, 07:38 PM
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Big Phil
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Just another reason to roll your eyes at Gary Bettman for picking Dale Hunter of all people in 1997

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06-05-2010, 08:20 PM
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On a regular basis, hell no. Some of the guys on that list were a joke.

When a first-ballot HHOFer and legend of the sport is clearly in his final NHL season, then sure. Like Lafleur, Robinson, Kurri were. Like Modano this year.

Absolutely it would probably be a good thing to give the public an opportunity to give that sort of all-time great a terrific sendoff and show their appreciation during one the NHL's marquee events.

For guys like Brad Marsh, Randy Carlyle, and Tony Granato? No bloody way. Takes the place of a guy who actually deserved to be there.

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06-05-2010, 08:28 PM
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Mayor Bee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS View Post
On a regular basis, hell no. Some of the guys on that list were a joke.

When a first-ballot HHOFer and legend of the sport is clearly in his final NHL season, then sure. Like Lafleur, Robinson, Kurri were. Like Modano this year.

Absolutely it would probably be a good thing to give the public an opportunity to give that sort of all-time great a terrific sendoff and show their appreciation during one the NHL's marquee events.

For guys like Brad Marsh, Randy Carlyle, and Tony Granato? No bloody way. Takes the place of a guy who actually deserved to be there.
Two questions though.
1) If a HOF-bound player is at the end of his career, isn't he also usually popular enough to garner the votes and support to be on the roster?
2) As far as pushing down a deserving player, doesn't the one-player-per-team setup do exactly the same thing?

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06-05-2010, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
Two questions though.
1) If a HOF-bound player is at the end of his career, isn't he also usually popular enough to garner the votes and support to be on the roster?
2) As far as pushing down a deserving player, doesn't the one-player-per-team setup do exactly the same thing?
1) No. Only the 6 starters on each team are voted in and there has been no history of that sort of thing happening when guys like Yzerman/Roenick/etc. were in their final season.

Additionally, SJ and Montreal fans stuff the ballot box every year so 3 or 4 of the 6 starters in each conference are from those 2 teams.

2) Yes, but the one-per-team thing is there to make the game relevant for fans in every NHL city. And every team usually has at least one player who is at least in the ballpark of being an All-Star, so it isn't that big of a deal. Even though the Oilers were a laughing stock this season, if Dustin Penner had made it for his 33 goal-season, that wouldn't have been embarassing.

Todd Marchant taking a spot away from some deserving player would be a joke, though. Not relevant, not deserving, and no-one would care.

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06-05-2010, 08:44 PM
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I think the commissioner's choices were extra spots on team and not taking anyone's place.

For example, the 1997 game had 23 players on each side http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/47th_Na..._All-Star_Game

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06-08-2010, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS View Post
For guys like Brad Marsh, Randy Carlyle, and Tony Granato? No bloody way. Takes the place of a guy who actually deserved to be there.
Tony Granato was selected because the game was in San Jose, and he was recovering from brain surgery. He went on to win the Masterton and received the biggest ovation on All-Star Weekend.

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06-08-2010, 11:58 AM
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tarheelhockey
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Perhaps instead of an expectation that he'll pick a few every year, the commissioner should reserve the right to do it if he so chooses.

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06-09-2010, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS View Post
Additionally, SJ and Montreal fans stuff the ballot box every year so 3 or 4 of the 6 starters in each conference are from those 2 teams.
That is not true. Last year Habs fans stuffed the ballot because the game was in their building. Beside this, only Markov, Souray, Cheechoo and Thornton have been one-time starters post-lockout, and in fully deserved years.

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