• SHARE:
  • email
  • Bookmark and Share

THN.com Blog: When is an all-star really an all-star?

Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, Brian Campbell and Tomas Kaberle lineup after the game at the 56th NHL All-Star Game. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Zoom Image

Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, Brian Campbell and Tomas Kaberle lineup after the game at the 56th NHL All-Star Game. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

I wanted to attempt clarification on a confusing hockey term that will probably remain confusing for as long as hockey is played.

It’s regularly the source of reader complaints to The Hockey News and it’s an honest-enough mistake made by sports journalists and people writing in.

It has to do with calling a player an all-star. Simply put, if a player is named to the end-of-season first or second all-star team, he’s an all-star. There have been 12 players named all-stars every year since 1930-31. If a player is selected to play in the All-Star Game, he is not an all-star by terms of the hockey definition. He’s a very good player and playing in the All-Star Game is certainly a nice accomplishment, but he’s not an all-star. About 50 players have been selected to play in the All-Star Game every year since 1947.

I recently posted a top 10 list of why Mats Sundin wouldn’t make the Hall of Fame. One reason was he was never a first-team all-star and just twice a second-team all-star.

A plethora of emails and complaint letters flowed in admonishing me for not getting my facts straight. A number of times I was told Sundin is an eight-time all-star and that easily qualifies him for the Hall. Fact is, Sundin has played in the All-Star Game eight times during his 17 NHL seasons, but he’s still a two-time, second-team all-star.

In an earlier blog, I mentioned I didn’t like Chicago’s signing of Cristobal Huet because I don’t consider him in the top tier of goalies for a variety of reasons. One reader made it his mission to convince me Huet is among the top few goalies in the league primarily because of his “all-star credentials.”

Related Links

Fact of the matter is, Huet has never been an all-star and just once in the past three seasons finished in the top 10 in Vezina Trophy voting, conducted by NHL GMs. He was eighth in 2007-08. The novice hockey fan I debated with was steadfast in his belief Huet was an all-star because he was selected to play in the 2008 All-Star Game.

One other example really points out the difference between being an all-star and playing in the All-Star Game. We gave the Hall of Fame heck a few years ago for inducting Dick Duff when other top candidates such as Pavel Bure and Doug Gilmour were rebuffed.

Duff was certainly a very good player, but not exceptional in our viewpoint.

The selection committee endorsed him as a Hall of Famer pointing out he played in the All-Star Game seven times. The All-Star Game during much of Duff’s career was the Cup champion versus a team of all-stars made up of players from the other five teams. Duff won the Cup six times, gaining automatic All-Star Game entry three times.

The other four times he made it on his own merit, but keep in mind a forward’s chances of playing in the All-Star Game in the Original Six era were one in five (12 forwards among 60 to choose from). That would be the equivalent of 230 players making the All-Star Game today.

Bottom line, playing in the All-Star Game is a nice feather in a player’s cap, but being named an all-star is the true, definitive honor.

Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior special editions editor and a regular contributor to THN.com. You can read his Top 10 list on Wednesdays and his blog each weekend.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

More Stories

THN at the All-Star Game: Skills competition makes for night of pure fun

OTTAWA - There was a loud creaking sound coming from Scotiabank Place in Ottawa Saturday night....

THN.com Blog: How to determine who is a prospect in Future Watch

One of the many questions we receive in feedback on our annual Future Watch issue, now available...

THN.com Blog: Maple Leafs' Gardiner no longer of first round pedigree

In acquiring Jake Gardiner from Anaheim this week, the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up a...

THN.com Blog: 17 players make our People of Power and Influence list

A neighbour once asked me why on Earth we always put NHL commissioner Gary Bettman No. 1 on our...
blog comments powered by Disqus

THN on Twitter

If the NHL expanded into one market, where should it go?








Contests

Our Partners