Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rendezvous '87 Non-Stars

This week marks the 30th anniversary of Rendezvous '87. In lieu of the All-Star game that season, the NHL played the Soviet National team in a two game series at the Colisee in Quebec City. The NHL won the first game 4-3, the Soviets the second 5-3, in what was generally regarded as a successful event showcasing the two greatest hockey powers. However, not everyone was pleased with the fact the event even went down in the first place.
On the day of the first match, in the February 11 Ottawa Gazette, the great Bobby Orr himself is quoted showing his displeasure at Rendezvous.
He actually had a good point, Rendezvous '87 removed over twenty All-Star spots. After looking at the NHL stats up to that point in the 86/87 season, it's clear at least a few players were robbed of their one and only chance at playing in an All-Star game. 
More than a few guys missed the festivities due to injuries. Mark Howe, Paul Coffey and Mike Bossy were all voted onto the squad by fans but were unable to play and Tim Kerr was selected to the team but did not play. The others voted in were Mario Lemieux, Michel Goulet and hometown favourite, goaltender Clint Malarchuk. Overall, Team NHL had 14 forwards, 8 defencemen and 3 goalies. Below is a team full of players who up to that point in the season were most deserving of being All-Stars in addition to the Rendezvous boys.
Forwards (GP-G-A-PTS)
Dino Ciccarelli, Minnesota 54-41-32-73
Doug Gilmour, St.Louis  54-26-42-68  
Walt Poddubny, NY Rangers   51-30-34-64
Steve Yzerman, Detroit   55-20-44-64
Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles  55-21-42-63
Luc Robitaille, Los Angeles   54-31-29-60  
Paul MacLean, Winnipeg    56-26-34-60
Joe Mullen, Calgary     55-32-27-59  
Denis Savard, Chicago    49-24-35-59
Peter Zezel, Philadelphia     54-27-30-57
Bryan Trottier, NY Islanders    55-16-41-57
Peter Stastny, Quebec  41-17-33-50
Ron Francis, Hartford  56-21-35-56  
Russ Courtnall, Toronto  56-19-36-55

Ciccarelli was 4th in NHL scoring to that point and would finish 3rd in year-end All-Star voting that season. Rookie Luc Robitaille would be voted to the 2nd All-Star team after the season and Gilmour and Mullen ended up 5th in voting at their positions. All were deserving of going to a mid-season All-Star game. At least all of these guys did play in at least one All-Star game in their careers, the same can't be said for Peter Zezel. His 27 goals and 57 points to this point were certainly worthy of All-Star game recognition. He would never make an All-Star game in his career.
Larry Murphy, Washington  57-18-38-56  
Al MacInnis, Calgary  56-15-40-55
Paul Reinhart, Calgary  53-12-38-50  
Scott Stevens, Washington  54-8-27-35  
Phil Housley, Buffalo  53-12-29-41
Ulf Samuelsson, Hartford  55-1-24-25   
Gaston Gingras, Montreal 50-9-30-39
Darren Veitch, Detroit   52-10-28-38  

Murphy and MacInnis were each selected as 2nd team All-Stars after the season and would have definitely played in a mid-season game if not for Rendezvous. The last three defenders I chose here all were denied their only chance at playing in an All-Star game this season. As much as Samuelsson was reviled, he finished 6th in year end voting among defence and should have been invited to a mid-season All-Star affair along with Gingras and Veitch. None of the three would ever be an All-Star.
Patrick Roy, Montreal 3.07gaa
Mike Liut, Hartford  3.11gaa
Pokey Reddick, Winnipeg  3.17gaa
Kelly Hrudey, NY Islanders 3.18gaa

Liut and Roy would have been obvious All-Stars, Liut was voted to the 2nd Team at season's end. One of Reddick and Hrudey should have been honoured as well, once again, neither of them would be chosen an All-Star in their careers. Robbed by Rendezvous.
The link to NHL stats up until Feb. 10, 1987 is below:

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