Monday, February 6, 2006

Pro Stars

First of all, most of you are probably too old to have been aware of this show, but it was a Saturday morning cartoon that featured, from left to right, Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky as a team of crime fighters/all-star athletes. They also used to appear in live-action spots before and after the cartoon, introducing the show and answering questions from kids. They had their own cereal, too. It was awesome.

More importantly, though, TSN has been asking people to vote on All Stars (top corner of the page), and given that with the Olympics and all, there's not actually going to be an all-star game, and given that I'm easily the most qualified hockey mind sitting at my computer right now, I figured I'd toss it out there: who would be All Stars this year, if we were having it (and we were having it East/West, not NA/World, though I don't think that'll ever happen again)? Well, without further adieu, here's my thoughts on an All-Star team. Take it for what it's worth, then debate it!


Honourable Mention: Ryan Miller

Notes: the first two are pretty much no-brainers, and I go with Lundqvist over Miller because he's played more, but it's pretty much a toss-up in my mind. Luongo probably deserves consideration too, though his SV% (the mark I like to use) is lower than anybody but Brodeur's, and his GAA is significantly higher (which isn't really his fault, but hey).

T Kaberle
F Kaberle
Honourable Mention: Dan Boyle

Notes: I realize it's more than half Sens and Leafs, but those four have honestly been the best four all-around defenceman in the East, in my opinion. I like Pitkanen because he's put up great numbers in less games than most of the other guys, and Frantisek Kaberle has been really solid on Carolina's blueline, which was supposed to be abysmal at the beginning of the year. Boyle's been great as well, especially since Pavel Kubina has almost entirely forgotten how to play. Rafalski could probably also be in here, if you were a stickler.

Honourable Mention: Jason Spezza

Notes: I give Jokinen and Crosby the nod over Spezza mostly because they've scored almost entirely alone (Crosby less so, I guess, but still, it's Pittsburgh), while Spezza has two of the best wingers in the game to feed his pucks to. The notable absence is Marc Savard, who, while he has a ton of points, I just can't bring myself to credit as being a good player. He's like Brendan Morrison with more horseshoes in orifices. I would probably like to throw in Brind'Amour, who does everything for Carolina, and is sort of a feel-good old man story.

Honourable Mention: Erik Cole

Notes: These are pretty much total no-brainers. You could make a strong case for calling these guys the four best wingers in the league (though Gagne is obviously helped significantly by Forsberg), and Cole has broken out almost as much as Staal, though he's entirely overshadowed by him.

Honourable Mention: Justin Williams

Notes: Again, pretty much no-brainers. Gionta has cooled off slightly since Elias came back, but he was dynamite earlier, even with the Devils' struggles. I have a particluarly soft spot in my heart for Carolina, which is part of the reason Williams gets the nod over someone like Knuble (who's helped by his linemates too much), St Louis (who's cooled off to much, especially considering the new rules were supposed to help him) or Ryder (who has been atrocious the last month until about yesterday).


Honourable Mention: Tomas Vokoun

Notes: I can't see any argument over Kipper, even if I want him to die, and while Fernandez isn't the type of guy who would normally get called on (not enough star power), his numbers, except wins, are amazing this year. Legace and Vokoun are pretty much a toss-up, but I give it to Legace for his signficantly lower GAA (2.02 to 2.56).

Honourable Mention: Marek Zidlicky

Notes: the West is loaded with great defence, and there's probably four more guys entirely deserving of all-star status (Schneider, Mara, Timonen and Liles). I mentioned Zidlicky over Timmonen because of his better +/-, but I think the others are pretty self-evident. Pronger and Phaneuf have less points than the others, but they've been absolute pillars on two of the better defensive teams in the West (Phaneuf also has 11 PPG, tied for tops among D).

Honourable Mention: Mike Modano

Notes: These aren't as cut-and-dry as the East, though I stand by them all. Thornton has been amazing in both conferences, but probably better in SJ, Datsyuk scores like Mark Messier at Barry T's circa 1985, Conroy has proved he's one of the best two-way centres in the league, and Horcoff is top-ten in scoring in the west (how's that for number-one centre). Modano has also been remarkable this year, not showing his age, and he's plus-24. Sakic deserves consideration, too, but I don't know if he beats out any of these guys.

Honourable Mention: Paul Kariya

Notes: You could argue that Nagy was the best winger in the West until he got hurt, and with not a whole lot around him in Phoenix. Tanguay has totally surprised me with his scoring (I would have guessed his and Hejduk's point totals to be reversed at the beginning of the year), and Zetterburg is a quiet but really effective guy. Naslund has been slow lately, but he's still easily the brightest spot on the otherwise disappointing Vancouver top line. Kariya gets less attention in Nashville, but 52 points don't lie.

Honourable Mention: Teemu Selanne

Notes: After Rolston and Demitra, this is a tough damn call. Cheechoo is incredibly hot lately, so why not? I fear I may be showing a bit of homer-bias in Hemsky, but his numbers are good this year, and if he was playing with purer scores, he'd probably have even more points. Selanne has regained form, and been solid all year, though both he and Hemsky could probably be swapped with any of Sullivan, Jarmoe, Svatos, Lehtinen or Gaborik.

Any thoughts?


Steve said...

Who'd have thought, coming into the year, that Ryan Smyth would be only member of the Oilers' top line *not* being plugged as an All-Star?

Anonymous said...

Thoughts: I think I can hear the neighbors humping upstairs.

Can anyone confirm whether Barry T's was actually around in 1985?

Oh yeah, that's totally rhythmic.

mudcrutch79 said...

That show was unreal. I have to say, for someone who's a national icon, Gretzky basically made an ass of himself every time he was on TV in a non-hockey role, to an extent beyond that usually experienced by athletes.

Pro Stars was a fiasco top to bottom-IIRC, the Gretzky character's quirky trait was that he was always hungry-I never got that. That show would have been way better if they'd worked off actual character traits-MJ always gambling, verbally abusing Bo and Gretz like he did the lesser Bulls and cheating on his wife, Bo always getting injured and never living up to his potential and Gretzky...I don't know, he doesn't really have any characteristic traits. It probably wouldn't be kid friendly, but I'd buy the DVD.

TSN showed that moment from the soap opera Gretz appeared on in the early '80's the other day. "Call me Wayne, everybody does."

SNL? He was ugly there too. Waikiki Hockey? The Anal Retentive Sportsman? It was awful.

mike w said...

>Gretzky...I don't know, he doesn't really have any characteristic traits

What about his pouting?

And also: I liked him on SNL.

Lars Ormberg said...

I thought Gretzky's personality trait in the show was that he was a little...uh... sort of... not exactly Albert Einstein.

mudcrutch79 said...

What about his pouting?

Hmm, good point. A foul mouthed Wayne unleashing complaining streams of profanity every couple of minutes would have definitely upped the watchability of the show.

And also: I liked him on SNL.

Really? Why? The only redeeming part of that show, IMO, was the Wayne's World where Mike Myers landed a more solid hit on Gretzky than was landed by pretty much anyone else in the 80's.