Fourteen players from each conference remained to be named
by the respective All Star GMs. Colorado Rockies' GM
Mike Smith and Hartford Whalers' GM Jon Hilowitz had the
responsibility of naming the reserves for each squad.
As the defending champs from each conference, these two were
required to select who they feel should be represented at
the All Star game in Detroit, ensuring that every
team in the league has at least one representative.
Here are the announcements from each All Star General
Thank you everyone
for your patience as we all sat back and waited for our
beloved Commish to recharge his battery during the pre-All
Star break. Tonight, with his Holiness' blessing, we release
the names of the 1993 Campbell Conference All Star reserves.
I have had the opportunity to select this roster for a 5th
time and I must say it is challenging at times. The
parameters set by the league to ensure every team has a
representative puts a strain on getting the absolute best
our conference has to offer on the ice. Alas, the rules are
the rules. As such, some of you will be disappointed that
your player wasn't selected. I hope I can shine a light on
my point of view and why a player was or wasn't selected.
There are some big names that deserves to be representing
their club at the event, but unfortunately they will be on
the sidelines cheering from home, or the beach, or wherever
they've decided to enjoy their break.
Before we get to the
reserves I would like to take the time to list some of the
players that have had a great season up to this point but
will not be joining the Campbell Conference All Stars.
Dave Ellett –
Winnipeg Jets - Defenceman
The Jets' captain has
been playing terrific hockey and is the 4th
leader scorer of all defenders in the NFHL. In fact, the
Jets and Red Wings combine to have all of the Top 5 blue
line scoring leaders. Only two of which were able to attend
the All Star Game and were voted as starters. Ellett's
strength gives him a monster shot at the point and I would
have loved to have that at our disposal especially for the
skills competition. He is 3rd in total hits with
140. Without question, Ellett would have been selected over
anyone within our bottom 4 defenders.
Dave Babych –
Detroit Red Wings – Defenceman
The upstart Red Wings
have taken the conference by storm and have helped establish
the Norris Division as the premiere division of the entire
NFHL. Babych actually leads all blue liners in total points
with 41 including 33 assists. To be honest, I didn't even
get a chance to jot Babych down on the multiple notes I've
created trying to build this roster. His points totals are
nice, but its a numbers game and finding room for a Shark,
Hawk, Blue and North Star really put a strain on the overall
talent of our club.
Andy Brickley –
Minnesota North Stars – LW
Much like the blue
line, the LW position in the Campbell Conference dominates
the league. The top four leader scorers at the position all
hail from the Campbell Conference and even the 4th
overall didn't make the cut (apologies Nik Borschevsky).
Brickley has been a reliable offensive catalyst for the
North Stars as they continue to push their way forward in
the rebuild. His 43 points leads the way for Minnesota.
Brickley has soft hands and decent vision on the ice.
Ulf Dahlen – San
Jose Sharks – LW
The Swede is far and
away the most dynamic offensive weapon left in San Jose.
Dahlin has 42 points in 37 games including 16 goals. I've
watched the Sharks play plenty of games this season and I
just didn't see anything tremendously exciting in his game.
As stated before, the LW in the Campbell Conference is
loaded with talent and even having to name one
representative from each club Dahlen isn't that guy.
Anton Stastny –
Vancouver Canucks – Centre
This was a tough one
as I had plans to reunite the Stastny brothers for what
could be their last All Star Game together. The Stastny
Family has a special place in my heart and I originally had
him penciled into the roster as the 4th centre.
Ultimately, I had to go with a different Canucks forward to
make the positions work as well. Anton is putting together a
fabulous season and is skating above his average ice time
per game at 20.6 minutes. He has 14 goals and 33 assists for
47 points with a -1 rating. What was most compelling about
Anton is he has over 100 hits thus far. I never took him for
a physical player but he has really done well for Vancouver.
Unfortunately, I had to make a last minute swap and he was
the last cut.
Jody Hull – San
Jose Sharks – RW
To call this one a
snub is a bit of a stretch. But I wanted to take the
opportunity to point out the rookie is having a freaking
great season playing in a smaller market. The recognition
just might not be there but Jody is leading all rookies in
scoring and wasn't too far off from taking the 4th
Ron Hextall – Los
Angeles Kings – Goalie
I hope this doesn't
piss him off! Hexy was probably neck and neck with Bester
for the starting role. I would have liked to have seen the
voting breakdown here. No question Ron deserves to attend
the All Star game. It's a shame I couldn't find a way to get
him to dress for the game. Nevertheless, Ron will be
attending the festivities and will dress as our 3rd
goalie and compete in the Skills Competition.
Don't get me wrong,
there are probably a few different ways to have made
adjustments to get these players into the line up. The
problem is that it's just a shell game at that point. I'm
moving a guy like Dahlen in, only to leave out one of the
league's top goal scorers on the left side. I could have
stretched Hull into the RW spot to open up a chance for
Anton, but then it just creates a snub somewhere else. I've
meant no ill-will to any GM, player, fanbase, or
organization when making these selections. The league makes
the rules and we have to play within those lines. My
apologies to all those that felt the roster could have been
On that note, lets
get to the Reserves!
Voted Starter –
Vincent Damphousse – Colorado Rockies
Reserves – Barry
Pederson (DET), Sergei Fedorov (CGY), Russ Courtnall (STL)
I don't think there
was much to deliberate on with the Pederson selection. He's
on a 40-goal pace and is already a +25. The best part is
Pederson's best skill is his passing ability. I had Barry in
Denver for a season back in 1991. He played a pivotal role
down the stretch for us. Getting him into the 2nd
line and likely playing with his two teammates on a full Red
Wings powerplay as well.
This isn't the first
time I've selected Fedorov to an All Star team. In Chicago,
1990, Sergei was the man for us in that game. I remember
watching him score on the penalty kill and was amazed with
his ability to read the play at such a young age. That was
one of his two goals that night. Fedorov is as close to the
perfect 3rd line centre as you're gonna find. He
is a no-brainer selection on a weaker Flames club.
Russ Courtnall is a
talented hockey player. Don't get me wrong here. Is there an
argument to made that there is at least one centre more
deserving? Probably. Courtnall was selected from a Blues
team that is struggling to find their way in the Campbell
Conference. In fact, Courtnall was just moved to the centre
position as he played the majority of the season on the
wing. Russ is another player that I've seen close up and I
love his play style. I think having his speed a defense-first
mentality is something that should go a long way for the
roster. He has one of the best speed and skating combos
around. Maybe this helps boost his trade value, eh Pat? Not
that it wasn't in the clouds to begin with!
Voted Starter –
Brian Bellows – Detroit Red Wings
Reserves – Steve
Yzerman (COL), Mario Tremblay (COL), Luc Robitaille (LAK)
I was a little
surprised that Stevie Y wasn't voted as the starter. He is
by far and away the best LW in the game today, and has been
for several seasons. Mind you, I am a bit biased. Both
Yzerman and the starter, Bellows, have 1.55 points per game.
Stevie is a more rounded player and has 2 more goals than
Bellows in 4 fewer games.
It wouldn't be an All
Star game without future Hall of Famer Mario Tremblay in the
mix. Mario is continuing to climb the all time career
leaders. His 18 goals and 35 assists have given him 53
points in only 38 games. Tremblay has surpassed Bill Barber
for 7th in total NFHL points. He is the 3rd
highest scoring LW in the league and will play the 3rd
line for this Campbell squad.
Luc Robitaille was
selected as the lone LA King. I've already gone over the
Hextall snub, but there was a scrap paper laying around that
had Ronnie as the backup to Bester and left Lucky Luc off
the roster. I came back to that line up and realized it
would be a complete shame to leave the league's highest
scoring player off the All Star team. Robitaille is tied
with Yzerman and Mario Lemieux with 28 goals. This is
Robitaille's first All Star Game appearance.
Voted Starter –
John Chabot – Detroit Red Wings
Reserves – Dennis
Maruk (WIN), Peter Statsny (COL), John Tonelli (VAN)
Looking at the
roster, I kinda wish Pederson was voted in as the starting
centre over my boy Vinny. Not that I think he is the better
player, just that the line of Pederson, Bellows and John
Chabot has been lights out all season. It would have been
interesting to see if the Wings' trio could have made an
impact at this level against the Wales' elite.
I was proud of my
expansion brethen GM David Corcoran for stepping out of his
comfort zone and acquiring Dennis Maruk for his swan song
season. Maruk is set to retire after 1993 but is still
considered one of the more deadly shots in the game. The
cost to obtain the long-time Jets forward was pennies on the
Maruk dollar. Dennis will have played 16 of his 19 years in
a Jets uniform and it's only fitting he finish his career
with an All Star nod as well. He is 6th in
all-time points and 7th in career NFHL goals. The
diminutive forward has a laser and I am hoping he will find
some chemistry playing alongside some Norris Division
The average fan, and
maybe even some fellow general managers, might scoff at the
selection of a 3rd Rockies reserve forward. But
don't kid yourself. There's a reason Stosh is making his 8th
All Star appearance. The future Hall of Famer is 3rd
in scoring amongst his Campbell Conference positional peers.
A natural centre, Stastny has moved to the right wing to
make room for younger legs in Denver. He has 44 points and
has been a mainstay with the Campbell All Stars for several
line selection is the end result of some tough roster
trimming and balancing. John Tonelli will represent the
Vancouver Canucks. I know the Nuckleheads are upset that
Anton wasn't making the trip. He is having a great year as
well. I think I was most taken aback by Tonelli's ability to
fit seamlessly with the Canucks after coming to them via
trade around the 10 game mark. In those 30 games as a
Canuck, Tonelli has produced 30 points including 17 goals.
He is a +6 and has been on fire with his shooting accuracy.
Both he and Anton Stastny are averaging 1.12 points per 20
minutes played, so the argument could be made for either
player earning the spot. This one came down to positions,
plain and simple.
Voted Starters –
Al MacInnis and Don Sweeney – Winnipeg Jets
Reserves – Richard
Pilon (CHI), Brian Leetch (MIN), Dale DeGray (ANA), Teppo
This is the toughest
pill to swallow for me. I've built the All Star team's blue
line with four of six skaters from the conference's worst
teams. How can we win like this? Well... I'm glad I asked
myself. I am not sure I have the answer but a couple of
wobbly pops brought me to the conclusion that we will find a
way to make it work.
Rich Pilon (arguably
the worst possible name for a defenseman) has blossomed into
a prototypical stay at home defender. I am a big fan of his
game and would like to see his foot speed raised a bit as he
continues his career. We are gonna ask him to play some big
minutes against some crazy good forwards. Hawks GM Dan
Minion is gonna get a good look at what his top 2 defender
I am still not sure
where Brian Leetch will play at even strength. If Pilon is
in the top 4, then I think Leetch will pair with him. The
lack of speed between the two is concerning, but we will
live and die by the forward group and our tendy. Leetch is
an absolute horse and could probably play 40 minutes if we
needed it. Brian has 31 points through 42 games with the
North Stars this season. He has thrown 125 hits and doesn't
take a bad penalty.
Continuing on the
talk of penalties.... Dale Degray is the opposite of Leetch.
He is 7th in total PIMS this season with 218 but
that includes 9 fights and 4 ejections. I wouldn't mind
seeing Dale take out the knees of 66 if he felt the need.
DeGray is leading the Ducklings with 120 hits and is the
second highest scorer on the team with 30 points in 38
Teppo Numminen isn't
the most worthy Sharks player. There, I said it. Actually,
he probably isn't the second most deserving player. We spoke
about Jody Hull and Ulf Dahlen earlier and I do send my
apologies to the Bay Area. Teppo might be in some deep water
here but we are going to limit his minutes and see if he can
produce under the bright lights. He has 24 points thus far
and only 18 PIMS total while playing over 23 minutes a
night. At the very least I am hoping he breaks even
throughout the weekend. Who knows, maybe Teppo has a
Voted Starter –
Reserves – Patrick
Roy (EDM), *Ron Hextall (LAK)
*Hextall will suit up
for the skills competition but will not dress for the All
Patrick Roy is
playing in his first season outside of Buffalo. Once touted
as the next greatest goalie, Roy has yet to step into
superstardom. He is playing on a retooling Oilers club that
doesn't quite have the look of a contender this season. Not
the fault of Roy though. The French Canadian has posted
decent numbers with an .887 SV% (3rd in
conference) and a 3.15 GAA (4th in conference).
Roy's skills are not to be ignored and I think he will be a
big boost for the skills competition. He is the lone
representative of the Edmonton Oilers.
The LA Kings are
having a quietly impressive season under new management. Ron
Hextall is a large part of that equation. Ron has an
identical GAA to Roy and a slightly better save percentage
at .890. If I didn't have to find a rep for each team you
can bet your ass Hextall was our backup. The votes with he
and Bester were probably closer than most expect. From what
I understand of Ron, he will gladly show up and represent
his conference and team with pride. Maybe even a goal or two
in the skills comp, eh Ronnie?
That concludes the
Campbell Conference All Star Game roster. Thank you for
taking the time to listen to my thought process during the
selection period. I hope I help our Conference roll over the
Wales and bring home some dough for the Campbell Conference
pockets! If you don't like the selections feel free to
represent our Conference in the Finals this year.... you
can have the job!
Wales Conference Reserves
Murray Craven (New Jersey Devils)
It’s shocking to think that the 4th place Devils,
who have had a tremendous season, only have one player
representing them at the All-Star Game. Although a few
other players such as Bondra, Johansson and goalie McLean
received votes as a starter, none of them made the cut.
Bondra especially is shocking considering he had more votes
than another player to be discussed below (but more on that
Centre Murray Craven however is a no brainer. With 21 goals
and 45 assists in 41 games, he has absolutely stepped up his
game as the 2nd best centre in the Wales this
year. He already has more points in half a season this year
than he did all of last year which was his best season up to
this point. No doubt the Jersey fans will be cheering on
their favourite player and whichever quality wingers the
Coach decides to put him with. Craven’s chemistry with
Bondra won’t be replicated at the ASG but perhaps he will
find some magic with one of the following players.
Joe Sakic (Quebec Nordiques)
The Nords have been struggling to stay competitive for the
last few seasons but are usually able to eke by and make it
at least to the first round. The #1 reason for that is
captain Joe Sakic. With 48 points in 42 games, he is not
only Quebec’s finest player, he is one of the top centres of
the game. Surprisingly this will be Sakic’s first All-Star
Wayne Gretztky (Washington Capitals)
We are not actually sure if the NHFL is legally allowed to
host an All Star Game without Gretzky. Yet it was
touch and go for the Great One. The Washington Capitals have
had a very unsettled year thus far, playing well below their
capability. And count Gretzky as one of those
underachievers. At least by Gretzky standards. He has 60
points in 44 games, sitting 9th in league scoring. Most
players would love those numbers, but it is a down year for
Gretzky. But it is enough to get him into the All Star Game
as Washington's only representative.
John Leclair (Philadelphia Flyers)
The Flyers seem like they are at the cusp of a breakout
year…every year, yet so far have always fallen short. The
team is ripe with talent, and many players could have been
selected as its representative.
Despite Mark Recchi having a better season with 39 points in
40 games, the Wales team opted to go with power forward and
Flyers captain John LeClair. LeClair also seems to be the
people’s choice as he was the sole Flyer to get a vote for
LeClair is having a slow season for his standards, and with
33 points in 39 games, he is on pace to have his worst
season since 1989. Nonetheless his skill set is interesting
and perfect for the ASG format, especially if he’s paired up
with the playmaking abilities of Craven or, dare we say
Tony Tanti (New York Islanders)
Somehow the total rebuild in Long Island is once again
deferred as the Isles hang on to a middle spot in the
Wales. With still a strong showing during the season, one
would think the Isles would have multiple players
representing them at this year’s ASG. Not so fast….
Three Isles players received votes in the ASG starting line
up vote: winger Tanti, defenseman Brian Benning and goalie
Palmateer. The player out of the 3 who got the fewest
voting points? Tanti…
Palmateer certainly deserves the votes although with the
many talented goalies being considered, his absence is
somewhat uncontroversial. Benning on the other hand got
more votes than Hartford’s Suter and Coffey (combined!), has
more points so far than Suter and Coffey, and is higher
relative to Suter and Coffey in his team’s points.
But this is not about Benning, this is about Tanti who gets
to go on the back of his 41 points this season.
Surprisingly not in the picture or any league wide
discussion is Brian Mullen who is the Isles top player and
likely more deserving. Perhaps the GM and coach were looking
for some sandpaper and grit to protect the likes of “99” but
this is an All-Star Game after all. Who needs an enforcer?
Either way Tanti gets to go for the first time, and this is
what (his) dreams are made of.
Pat Verbeek (Montreal Canadiens)
Pat Verbeek, like the Montreal Canadiens, is having an OK
season. Ok, let’s be frank. The Habs are rotting close to
the bottom with the Rangers and Blackhawks. It’s quite sad
to see such a storied franchise suffer the way it is.
Verbeek is not the best player on the squad this season but
is either the luckiest (due to his position) or the hardest
working. With 24 points in 39 games and 189 PIM, Verbeek
will be bringing size and skill to the 4th line
for the Wales. This will be Verbeek’s first ASG weekend.
Glenn Anderson (Toronto Maple Leafs)
The Maple Leafs are the single most represented team in the
Wales with 5 players. It’ll be interesting to see how the
fans across the border in Detroit take to such a heavy
presence from their rivals to the North.
Anderson finished 2nd in RW voting for the Wales
despite being the top scoring RW in the league at this point
in the season with 21 goals and 47 assists in 41 games.
Part of last year’s ASG starting roster, Anderson will be
looking to maintain his Fastest Skater ribbon, an award he
won last year but that was traditionally won by Gretzky in
the prior years.
Ziggy Palffy (Boston Bruins)
At the ripe age of 21 years, Ziggy Palffy is blowing up all
expectations. The Bruins are currently in 7th
place with the Flyers and Caps chasing them. Although 7
Bruins forwards are almost equally contributing to the
team’s success, one is head and shoulders above the rest.
Ziggy Palffy leads the team with 15 goals and 27 assists in
45 games. He hits, he shoots, and he stays out of the sin
bin which makes his coach a “helluva” happy guy. Peplinski,
Murray and CuJo all got votes for Boston but Palffy is the
one heading to his first ever All-Star Game, and we’re
willing to bet it’s going to be the first of many.
Jaromir Jagr (Pittsburgh Penguins)
See “Palffy” above. Like Palffy, Jagr is young, hungry, and
leading his team to the eventual promised land. Although the
Pens are no longer at the bottom of the totem pole, they
still have some way to go to become a true league
powerhouse. This year, and for the foreseeable future,
however, get used to the name Jaromir Jagr flashing in front
of your screen in the nightly highlight reel. With 38
points in 43 games, he is the uncontested king of Pittsburgh
and the right guy to represent his team at the ASG. This
will be the first of many All-Star Games for the 21 year old
Lyle Odelein (New York Rangers)
The Rangers don’t have a whole lot to be excited about this
year with the team currently sitting in last place. Even
the possibility of the 1st overall pick is
reduced by the fact two expansion teams will be getting the
best odds at the top prospect. No Rangers player received
any votes for the starting roster. One aspect the fans are
certainly happy about, is the play of their top defensemen
Lyle Odelein. Few teams have a defenseman in their top 3
scorers. This is either a sign that Odelein is playing
beyond his means, or that the team is very very weak, and in
this case, it’s potentially a mix of the two.
Odelein has brought grit all season with 194 PIM but also
scoring with 28 points in 40 games. There are many more
defensemen potentially that are more deserving, but the
Rangers required representation as per the rules and Odelein
is the most deserving on his team.
Paul Coffey (Hartford Whalers)
The Whalers are the 2nd most represented team in
the Wales with 4 players, 3 of which were selected by their
GM and coach who happen to also be running the Wales roster
this year. Then again, they also happen to be the defending
Cup Champions, so a little representation surely makes sense
This is Paul Coffey’s 5th time at the ASG. His
prior 4 visits weren’t the most fruitful with only 3 points
total to show for his efforts. Last year, he was playing for
Team Campbell Soup (kidding … Campbell Conference)
representing Edmonton. This year, with the game in Detroit
he represents the enemy. Coffey collected 3 points in
voting and with 30 points in 39 games, he is Hartford’s top
defenseman this season.
Gary Suter (Hartford Whalers)
See “Paul Coffey” above. No… really… (oh and go read about
Benning above too..)
This is will be Suter’s 1st invite at the ASG. Suter
collected 4 points in voting and with 30 points in 42 games,
he is Hartford’s 2nd best defenseman this
season…. No wait, that’s not quite right. Mark Tinordi also
has 30 points in 42 games…..
Suter will likely play in a tandem with his Whaler partner
and the fans supporting the Wales will certainly hope he
plays to his coach’s expected standards, otherwise this
selection may go down in history as somewhat controversial
with Benning and New Jersey’s Johansson potentially more
Chris Chelios (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Chelios is somewhat the least controversial choice amongst
the defensemen. Odelein’s pick is understood based on the
Rangers requiring representation. Suter and Coffey have
been addressed above. Chelios is the top defenseman not
named Housley or Murphy to receive the most votes with 57
points (only 3 behind teammate Murphy). A recent Stanley
Cup winner, Chelios has never participated in an All-Star
game before. With 39 points in 43 games, he is currently 4th
amongst defensemen in the league for points and 1st
in the Wales.
Bob Froese (Buffalo Sabres)
Buffalo is well represented on the team this season with 2
players on the starting line up, as well as Froese as a
reserve who finished a close 2nd in voting for
the goalie gig. Hasek deserves to start the game but Froese
is certainly no slouch with a record of 18-5-2 and a GAA of
This will be Froese’s 3rd appearance at an ASG
with his last appearance in 1989 while he was a member of
the Canadiens. In that game, he came in relief to Doug
Soetaert (remember him? Retired but not forgotten) and let
in a weak goal after facing only 4 shots. A night to forget
If Hasek were to fail, Froese will certainly be looking to
make up for his 1989 mis-adventure…
Don Beaupre (Hartford Whalers)
Let’s face it. The 3rd goalie never gets to play
at the ASG. More of a badge of honour and a potential
participant in the Saturday night skills games, the 3rd
goalie to get invited should really be the most deserving
goalie in the conference after considering the top 2.
Kudos to the selection team for doing what’s right and not
naming a goalie from a team that needed a player for
representation and then just leaving him on the bench all
night. Such a strategy could have perhaps allowed for some
improvement in another position but would not have been the
right thing to do. Don Beaupre was not selected by his GM
and coach because he’s a Whaler. Beaupre was 3rd
in league voting and carries a GAA of 2.92 and a win - loss
record of 20-11-0. He may not get to see any minutes of
playtime during the game but at least he gets to wear his
badge of honour that he completely deserves. This will be
Beaupre’s 2nd All-Star Weekend. He was also the 3rd
goalie in 1991.