Almost every year since 1967, the NHL has gathered at the midpoint of the season to bring the best players from around the league together for one game. In total, the NHL has hosted 60 All-Star classics between the top players in the league that season. The stars, the ones that have shone the brightest throughout the first half of the NHL calendar, come together to spend one night playing in unison on a pair of stellar lineups full of skill. Or, at least, that is what has always been the intended plan for the evening, as we don’t also get a roster full of the best 40 players in the league.
Some of these selections can be blamed for different reasons. There are people who would like to point out the fact the all-star game selection process has undergone many different changes, but even through the years and the many different forms of selection, the occasional average joe has snuck his way onto a roster spot, or two.
Just in case people figured the NHL had righted the system to eliminate such occurrences, this past years return to the All Star game, after a two year hiatus, showed us otherwise. Zemgus Girgensons decided to bring back all the lovely memories of interesting selections and, with his appearance, Girgensons has added himself to the infamous list of the worst NHL All Star attendees. While also proving, no matter how many changes there are, the average joe still can still find a way in, even if it takes an entire country backing you.
15. Dmitri Mironov – Anaheim Mighty Ducks (1998)
The Russian born defenceman was a reserve on the first World squad for the 1998 game. By the end of the year, his totals were not gaudy, with just 8 goals and 43 points, and his most impressive stat was his career high in penalty minutes at 119. However, those penalty minutes were not due to his grit and fighting necessarily, as he was not known to drop the gloves often. Rather those PIMs can be seen as a reflection of an undisciplined season for the Russian defenceman and a season that was not All Star worthy.
14. Fredrik Modin – Tampa Bay Lightning (2001)
Chosen to represent the World in 2001, Modin finished the season with a very respectable 32 goals and 24 assists for second best on the Lightning in scoring at 56 points. However, Modin was the lone Tampa Bay representative at the game, beating out eventual Calder finalist Brad Richards and up and coming star Vincent Lecavalier. The reason he did make the team was because he’s Swedish and those two are Canadian, and at the time, the World roster needed a forward and the North American roster as you can imagine, did not.
13. Igor Kravchuk – Ottawa Senators (1998)
Better known as “the last man on D against Lemieux, Gretzky and Larry Murphy in 87” when the Canada Cup was won in the final moments, Kravchuk did go on to play in the NHL. He also was an All Star during the 1997/98 season. However, like others on this list, he was selected to the World team as a reserve. His numbers were nothing to write home about (8 goals and 35 points) and he was a selection made to again fill out the defenceman for the World side.
12. Mike McPhee – Montreal Canadiens (1989)
McPhee never cracked 50 points in a full NHL regular season and his best season was actually the year after he had made the All Star team. He was always a favourite of his coaches for his tenacity and his terrific defensive work as a forward. However, during the 1988/89 season, he only scored 19 goals and collected 41 points. Those are very mediocre numbers for a forward and nowhere near All Star worthy. McPhee’s reason for making the team was due to the simple fact that coaches of the Conference lineups got to choose their backups and they often chose players they felt played their style of game, regardless of their skill and point production.
11. Yanic Perreault – Phoenix Coyotes (2007)
Perreault was well known around the NHL as the best faceoff man in the league. However, he was never a true All Star. During the 2006/07 season, which was also his second last season in the NHL, Perreault collected 21 goals and 38 points, which is far from spectacular. He made the All Star roster for the 2007 game because he was the lone Coyote player selected, due to the “one player per team” rule, also known as the “throw in” rule. Surprisingly, Perreault did manage to score twice, showing that he felt he belonged.
10. Espen Knutsen – Columbus Blue Jackets (2002)
One of the all-time ‘who is that’ players in NHL history, Knutsen was a part of the 2002 All Star game, as he was a part because he was the lone selection from the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets. Knutsen’s season was not All Star worthy, as he ended with 11 goals and 42 points. He was also a replacement player in the game for Dallas Stars winger Jere Lehtinen and, due to this, unfortunately finds himself on our list.
9. Zemgus Girgensons – Buffalo Sabres (2015)
The most recent entry on our list, the second year Latvian forward collected a grand total of 1,574,896 votes in order to become an All Star (the entire country of Latvia was voting relentlessly). Of course, his totals didn’t exactly tell the same story, as he finished the season with a measly 15 goals and 30 points. It’s not as if he was one fire going into the game either, as his totals entering the All Star break had him sitting at 168th in points. Sadly, most of the defenceman attending had better offensive credentials than him. So, Girgensons easily attains himself a spot on our list.
8. Petr Svoboda – Tampa Bay Lightning (2000)
The defensive defenceman who had a 17 year NHL career ended up in his first and only All Star game in his second last season. The reality of the matter is that Svoboda was chosen because of his nationality, in order to fill out the defence for the World team roster. He only scored two goals and totaled 25 points for the Lightning during the course of the season, while playing for the team with the worst defence. The veteran stay at home defenceman was never an above average player and his addition to the All Star roster of 2000 has found him on our list.
7. Marcus Ragnarsson – San Jose Sharks (2001)
Ragnarsson, as we’ve already said a few times on this list for others, was a weird choice for the All Star game being he was a stay at home defenceman. Albeit, he was a solid defensive player throughout his career, but he was never a star player or even very well known. During the 2001 season, he only totaled three goals and 15 points and wA clearly not worthy of his appearance in the All Star game.
6. Mike Komisarek – Montreal Canadiens (2009)
The bruising defenceman was not considered a top defenceman in the NHL, even during his best years. However, Komisarek managed to find his way onto a starting All Star spot for the 2009 game in Montreal. Similar to the Zemgus Girgensons entry, he was named a starter thanks to fan voting, even though he only scored two goals and 11 total points that season. Clearly, he was not All Start worthy, and never was over his entire career, but he did make an appearance thanks to the insane Canadiens fans.
5. Chris Nilan – Boston Bruins (1991)
Enforcer Chris Nilan was never an All Star game type of player, as his game was about brute force and fighting. Mike Milbury, who was the Bruins coach at the time and also coach of the Wales conference during the 1991 All Star game, selected Nilan based purely on his love for the nasty, gritty forward. This was literally the only reason he was selected, as Nilan totaled 6 goals and 15 points, and amassed 277 PIM in just 41 games that season. Sadly for Nilan, he broke his ankle just before the All Star game and had to miss it, but he’s still considered one of the stranger selections for the game.
4. Brad Marsh – Ottawa Senators (1993)
This is a tough one to put on the list. Brad Marsh was a serviceable NHL player, but he was never an All Star caliber player. However, in 1993, while playing for the expansion Ottawa Senators, the journeyman forward was put in the game due to “commissioner’s selection,” which meant “allowing vets into the game who are going to retire soon.” Through this, Marsh became a representative of the Wales conference for the game, even though he finished the year with no goals in 59 games. The highlight of all this was that he managed to score a goal (his only of the year!) during the game.
3. John Garrett – Vancouver Canucks (1983)
A man who is better known for his broadcasting career on CBC than his career as a NHL goalie, Garrett makes the list because of the interesting was he was selected. After being acquired by the Canucks via trade to backup starter and All Star Richard Brodeur, he got more than he bargained for. Brodeur would suffer an injury in a car accident days before the All Star break and a Canuck would have to be his replacement, but it obviously had to be a goalie. John Garrett, newly acquired and with just six wins on the season, would make his was to the game. Of course, Garrett would go on to start the second period of the ’83 game and make several miraculous saves.
2. Petr Buzek – Atlanta Thrashers (2000)
This is a name most casual fans won’t remember. A rookie defenceman on an awful team in their inaugural season, the only reason he was a part of the 2000 All Star team was because Atlanta needed a representative. Another factor was that the World team needed a defenceman and Buzek, the Czech defender, was the choice. He totaled 5 goals and 19 points during the season, along with a -22 rating over 63 games. He only went on to play 90 more games in his career over the next three seasons before moving back to the Czech Republic to end his career.
1. Peter Sidorkiewicz – Ottawa Senators (1993)
The number one entry on our list is a man who played only four games after the season where he reached his peak as an NHL All Star. Sidorkiewicz sported an awful 4-32-3 record at the All Star break and was placed on the team because he was the lone representative for the Senators, before teammate and veteran Brad Marsh was added to the team. By the end of the year, his stats were no better at 8-46-3. He finished the year with a .856 save percentage, while losing the most games in the NHL. The best part of his All Star game story is the fact that although he will go down as the worst All Star of all-time, he was the winner in the lone appearance he would make.
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