Almost every year since 1967 the NHL has gathered at the midpoint of a season in order to bring the best players from around the league at the time 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, not that each and every year there has always been a guaranteed roster full of the best 40 players.
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 Girgenson decided to bring back all the lovely memories of interesting, maybe not so star like all-stars from the past with his more than surprising all-star appearance in this year’s classic. With his appearance, Girgenson has added himself to the infamous list of the worst NHL all-star attendee’s to have ever appeared in the mid-season classic. While also proving, no matter how many changes to the format of selection there are, the average joe still can still find a way in, even if it takes an entire country backing you.
The Russian born Ducks defenseman was a reserve on the first World squad for the 1998 game. By the end of the year his totals were not gaudy, 77 games with just 8 goals and 43 points, and his most impressive stat was his career high in penalty minutes at 119. These penalty minutes however were not due to his grit and fighting necessarily, as he was not known to drop the gloves often. Rather these can be looked at for what was not the most disciplined of seasons for the russian defenceman, and a season that was not exactly all-star worthy by any means.
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 trophy winner Brad Richards and up and coming star Vincent Lecavalier. The reason he did so, well 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.
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 1997-98 season. However, like Mironov 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. Like Mironov, a veteran stay at home defenceman who never really was an all-star caliber player, Kravchuk was an add-on to the roster, more than a true all-star.
McPhee never cracked 50 points in a full NHL regular season. His best season in his whole career 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 on the backcheck and forecheck. However, in the 1988-1989 season he only scored 19 goals and collected 41 points, very mediocre numbers from a forward, 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 often chose players they felt played their style of game, regardless of points, flash and really, skill.
Perreault was well known around the NHL over his 14 year career as being one of if not the best faceoff men in the league. However, he was never a true all-star worthy player. During the 2006-07 season, which was also his second last season in the NHL, Perreault collected 21 goals and 38 points, nothing spectacular. He made the all-star roster for the 2007 game because he was the lone Coyote player selected due to the “1 player per team” rule aka “throw in” rule. Surprisingly, Perreault did manage a two goal game, showing some he felt he belonged.
One of the all-time ‘who is that’ players from NHL history, and also coolest names. (but that’s for another top 15) Knutsen was a part of the 2002 all-star game, he was a part because he was the lone selection representing the Columbus Blue Jackets. Knutsen’s season was nothing all-star worthy even by the end; 11 goals and just 42 points. However, 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, but also earned himself the title of first Norwegian in the NHL midseason classic.
The most recent head turner in the all-star game, the second year Latvian forward collected a grand total of 1,574, 896 votes in order to become an all-star. Of course, his totals didn’t exactly tell the same story, 13 goals and 22 points is far less than all-star worthy material. The totals he had entering the all-star break had him sitting at 61st in the league in goals and 168th in points. This is proven even furthermore by the simple fact that most defenseman attending had better offensive credentials than him. So, Girgenson easily attains himself a spot on our list.
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 Svoboda was chosen because of his nationality, in order to fill out the defence for the World team roster. He only scored 2 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, but his addition to the all-star roster of 2000 has found him on our list.
Ragnarsson, as said before on this list for others, was a weird choice for the all-star game being he was a very stay at home defenceman over his entire career. Albeit he was a solid defensive player throughout his career, he was never a star player, or even very well known. During the 2001 season he only totaled three goals and 15 points, clearly not worthy of his appearance in the all-star game.
6) Mike Komisarek – Montreal Canadiens – 2009 All-Star Game
The bruising defenceman was not and will never be 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. Thanks to fan voting, he was named a starter, even though he totaled over an entire year just two goals and 11 total points. Clearly, he was not all-star worthy, and never was over his entire career, but he did make himself an appearance.
Enforcer Chris Nilan was never an all-star worthy player. His game was about brute force and fighting. He is also the reason all-star game reserves from the next year onward were no longer the coach’s decision. 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, Nilan totaled 6 goals and 15 points, and amassed 277 PIM in just 41 games over the entire season. Nowhere near worthy of his appearance, but clearly worth a spot near the top of our list.
This is a tough one to put on the list. Brad Marsh was a serviceable NHL player, he was never an all-star caliber player and I’m sure he would be the first to agree. However, in 1993, playing for the expansion Ottawa Senators, the 15 year journeyman forward was put in the game due to “commissioner’s selection” aka “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 through the entire year he sported 0 goals and three assists for his only points in 59 games. The highlight of all this, or the positive, he was an all-star, and even scored a goal (his only of the year!) during the game.
A man who is better known for his broadcasting career on CBC than his career as a NHL goalie, Garrett makes the list in a very interesting 1983 appearance. 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, a Canuck would have to be his replacement, but it also had to be a goalie. In steps John Garrett, newly acquired with just six wins on the season, and the only other goalie on contract with the team. Of course, Garrett would go on to start the second period of the 83 game and would make several miraculous saves on his way to being MVP runner up for the game to some guy by the name of Gretzky. Still though, Garrett was winner of the all-star game, so he gets the last laugh.
2) Petr Buzek – Atlanta Thrashers – 2000 All-Star Game
This is a name we will all not remember. A rookie defenseman on an awful team in just their inaugural season. Buzek was a mediocre defenseman at best, the reason he was a part of the 2000 all-star team was simply because he was a part of a horrible team that needed a representative. A bigger factor that was part of it, was the World team was in need of defenceman, and Buzek, the Czech defender was the choice. He totaled 5 goals and 19 points during the season, and a -22 rating over 63 games in his rookie season and only went on to play 90 more games in his career over the next 3 seasons. Then he was gone into obscurity, and landing on our list at #2.
1) Peter Sidorkiewicz – Ottawa Senators – 1993 All-Star Game
The main man on our list, is a man who played only 4 games after the season he reached his peak, as an NHL all-star. Sidorkiewicz sported a 4-32-3 record at the all-star break, and was placed on the team because he was the lone representative for the Senators at the game originally, that was before teammate and veteran Brad Marsh was added to the team. By the end of the year his stats were no better, at 8-43-3 over 64 games, he finished the year with a .856 save percentage, while losing the most games in the NHL and had the most goals against. The best part of his all-star game story, 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, probably the highlight of his very uneventful career.