Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Great moments in all-star weekend history

Yeah but he only wore the glasses when he
was Clark Kent so it doesn't actually make
sense for you to... you know what, I'll shut up.
Another all-star weekend has come and gone, with the game's annual showcase wrapping up Sunday evening in Ottawa. By all accounts the various events were a rousing success, with hockey fans being treated to several memorable moments.

From Patrick Kane's Superman routine and Zdeno Chara's record-breaking slapshot at the skills competition to Marian Gaborik's hat trick and Daniel Alfredsson's highlight reel goals during the game itself, the weekend provided plenty of thrills that fans won't soon forget.

Those moments can be added to a growing list of all-star weekend memories that fans have filed away over the years. Here are a few more of the notable performances from the past 25 seasons that have left their mark on the game's history:

1988 - Mario Lemieux sets an all-star mark that still stands with six points including the overtime winner in a 6-5 victory. Experts agree that the record-breaking performance may have been even more dominant if the NHL hadn't chosen that year to debut its new format called "Everyone in the entire league against Mario Lemieux".

1990 - The skills competition makes its first appearance, although under a slightly different format that sees the entire three hours devoted to one hotly contested event known as "fluffiest mullet".

1993 - Al Iafrate sets a skills competition record with a 105.2 mph shot that's considered especially impressive given that he was using an old-fashioned wooden sticks, although in fairness it's also true that back then the "radar gun" was just an old man who'd get hit in the ribs with the shot and then yell out a random number.

1994 - After over a decade of mass confusion caused by impossibly obscure terms like "Wales" and "Campbell" the league switches to an East vs. West format that finally allows hockey to explode in popularity, according to Gary Bettman's imagination.

1997 - Owen Nolan famously points to the spot where he'll score his third goal on Dominik Hasek, after figuring that sign language would be an easier mode of communication than using whatever language it is that Hasek thinks he's speaking.

1998 - The league switches to a North America vs. The World format in recognition of the recent decision to allow NHL players to participate in the Olympics. In keeping with the Olympic spirit, everyone agrees to only ever talk about the times when North America wins.

2001 - North America defeats The World by a score of 14 to 12, after which the NHL grudgingly admits that it's probably time to start inviting goalies to these things.

2002 - The YoungStars game debuts, giving the league's most talented young players a rare chance to play in meaningless games that nobody pays attention to without first being drafted by Edmonton.

2003 - The Western Conference wins the first ever all-star game to end with a shootout, leaving fans feeling excited and exhilarated and mildly confused about why the Eastern Conference still got a point in the standings.

2005 - The game is cancelled because the league is in the middle of a work stoppage and all the star players are sitting at home on their couch or lounging around on a beach, resulting in the overall level of effort exerted on all-star weekend increasing slightly.

2008 - Confused fans in Atlanta mumble to themselves that it seems sort of strange that in previous years the finish line for the fastest skater competition was at the opposite blueline, and this year it's in Winnipeg.

2009 - Alexander Ovechkin entertains fans by donning a hat and novelty sunglasses before competing in the breakaway event. The admittedly over-the-top performance does require fans to suspend their disbelief, but luckily the disbelief still shows up instead of sitting at home and sulking about it all weekend.


  1. hahahahaha, suck it edmonton you got burned.

  2. I'm reading this in philosophy class and i burst out laughing so many times that my prof asked me to leave... yes my fault... but still... thanks DGB

  3. Don't worry, DGB, we were all with you on the Kane / glasses thing when it happened.

    (Or we were when we actually got around to watching the highlights on Monday morning, because, seriously, who the heck watches the skills competition that's over the age of 14?)

  4. 2003 and 2009 comments... GOLD, JERRY, GOLD!

  5. There were a lot of great jokes here, but my favorite had to be the Dominik Hasek one!

    And I guess you're going to include an Ovechkin joke in every blog now that Pronger is out of commission for a while? :-)

    5 STARS

  6. So who won the fluffiest mullet contest in 1990? I guess Jagr would have been in the rookie division?

    In terms of the 14-12 score - they do invite goalies - they just don't invite defensemen, other than Lidstrom. Back when Lidstrom used to play with Gordie Howe in the all-star game, what were the scores then?

  7. As a Caps fan, I'll admit that I laughed pretty hard at the Ovie joke. Well played good sir.

  8. Not only should have Iafrate been given a speeding ticket, but the fact that he did not receive a DUI while driving that puck is more impressive.
    Chara needs to start working on his alcohol content during these events before I will recognize he has the hardest shot in the NHL.
    Old Al set the Bar too high. Or was it that he sat at the Bar too long?

  9. He wasn't wearing Clark Kent glasses, he was just being a hipster Superman...

  10. So then he was Beforehewascoolman.

  11. I quite like the 1993 comment about the "old man radar gun."