Thursday, February 4, 2016

John Scott and Other Fleeting All-Stars

All-Star game Most Valuable Player John Scott may never play another game in the NHL. Sure his appearance in the mid-season spectacle was entertaining, but facts are facts. He is 33 years old, playing in the AHL and the Montreal Canadiens want no part of him on the big club. Also, the role for his kind of player has dwindled to pretty much non-existant. So, how strange would it be if John Scott's last ever NHL game was the All-Star game? Very strange indeed, but it has almost happened a few times in the past.
In the past, the All-Star game would pit the Stanley Cup champions from the previous season against a team of the top players throughout the rest of the NHL. These exhibitions usually took place just prior to the regular season. Often times, a fringe player on the Cup-winning squad would soon be sent down to the minors, never to return  to the NHL. The following guys are the ones who came closest to having an All-Star game being their last NHL game.

1939 was the third official All-Star game and the first time the All-Stars played against a single team, the Canadiens. There were two Montreal players in this game that played very little in the NHL afterwards. Forward Earl Robinson was a longtime Montreal Maroon who had been acquired by the Canadiens just two weeks prior to the 1939 All-Star affair. He was 32 years-old at the time and would play a mere 11 more games with the Habs before joining New Haven of the AHL. He played two more seasons there before retiring from pro hockey. His teammate and goaltender Wilf Cude wound down his career soon after the 1939 All-Star match. 
Earl Robinson
Cude had been Montreal's regular goalie since 1935, but after giving up five goals to the All-Stars he played only seven more games that season going 1-5-1 before joining Robinson in New Haven. Three more games the following year and the 30 year-old Cude retired from hockey only 10 games after his All-Star appearance.
Wilf Cude
Keith Allen
Longtime Philadelphia Flyers coach/GM/executive Keith Allen played in the 1954 All-Star game with Detroit but played only 18 games that season to wrap up his brief NHL career. He would be elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame's Builder wing in 1992.
Norm Corcoran
Detroit Red Wing, Norm Corcoran skated in the 1955 All-Star game and only 2 games with the Red Wings that year. Traded to Chicago in January 1956, he played only 23 more NHL games. He played out his career in the AHL until the 1965/66 season.
Stan Smrke
After playing four games for the Canadiens in 56/57, Stan Smrke made the team out of training camp and played in the 1957 All-Star game. After five more games, the 29 year-old minor league scoring star was returned to Rochester. In 1959/60 he would lead the AHL with 40 goals but never played in the NHL again.
Gerry Ehman
Gerry Ehman played in the 1964 All-Star game with Toronto and it likely would have been his last NHL game if not for expansion three years later. He hadn't been an NHL regular since 59/60 but was a reliable AHL scorer mainly with Rochester. He played four games for the Leafs in 63/64 but the All-Star match would be his last ever with Toronto. He was immediately returned to Rochester and promptly led the AHL with 85 points. After three more terrific AHL seasons, the 35 year-old was mercifully traded to expansion Oakland where he returned to the NHL for four productive seasons.

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