A NEW WHO'S WHO FOR THE NHL: ARE THE ALL-STAR EAL STARS? HERE THE PLAYERS NAME THEIR HEROES

TRENT FRAYNE April 7 1962

A NEW WHO'S WHO FOR THE NHL: ARE THE ALL-STAR EAL STARS? HERE THE PLAYERS NAME THEIR HEROES

TRENT FRAYNE April 7 1962

A NEW WHO'S WHO FOR THE NHL: ARE THE ALL-STAR EAL STARS? HERE THE PLAYERS NAME THEIR HEROES

JACQUES PLANTE (56)

GLENN HALL (36)

DOUG HARVEY (50) CARL BREWER (28)

PIERRE PILOTE (25) J. G. TALBOT, DOUG MOHNS (22)

GORDIE HOWE (58) HENRI RICHARD (44) BOBBY HULL (58)

ANDY BATHGATE (29) STAN MIKITA (16) FRANK MAHOVLICH (19)

coaches TOE BLAKE (59) PUNCH IMLACH (12)

IN A NATIONAL TELEVISION INTERVIEW from Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens this winter, Boston hockey player Don McKenney suggested to a couple of million viewers that the National Hockey League’s method of selecting its annual all-star team was well-meant but less than perfect.

This implication of imperfection made an uncommon picture. Usually in their public utterances, hockey players are so aware of the league’s gag rule — a fine of $1,000 may be imposed for statements “detrimental to hockey” — that they confine their remarks to platitudes.

But in this case McKenney, a gifted performer for the grievously ungifted Bruins, claimed the players themselves were not likely

to agree with the official selections made by the league's hockey writers. “The men choose who they think is best,” he said, “but they don’t see enough games.” His interviewer. Ward Cornell, suggested that if the players picked the team they’d favor teammates.

“No,” said McKenney emphatically. “They’d vote for the man they thought was best.”

Later, McKenney said. "Only Toronto has newspapermen on the road regularly, Montreal occasionally, and the other four practically never. So out of seventy games the people who vote see the home team thirty-five times, and the rest only seven times each. The players see twice as many games in both cases, which isn't perfect, but comes a lot closer to a true line.”

The true line appears at the top of these pages. Maclean’s polled the active players of the NHL, and the numbers of votes cast for the leader and runner-up at each position are in brackets after their names. There is no guarantee, of course, that this line-up will differ from the official NHL selection due later this month, but it does contrast with the league's mid-season choices made by the hockey writers, which were:

Jacques Plante in goal for the first team and Johnny Bower for the second; Doug Harvey and Carl Brewer as first-string defensemen and Jack Evans and Jean Guy Talbot behind them; Red Kelly at centre with Henri Richard behind him; Frank Mahovlich at left wing with Dean Prentice behind him; and Andy Bathgate at right wing with Gordie Howe behind him. Bobby Hull, tied with Howe as a runaway leader by the players, didn’t even make the writers' second team. He had a slow start.

As McKenney suggested, most of the players appeared to take an objective view when they made their selections. But one team, the Montreal Canadiens, voted virtually a straight party ticket. Sixteen Canadiens voted, and eight of them voted entirely for Canadiens. Two Canadiens refused to vote. Jean Beliveau merely grunted, got to his feet and walked away. Dickie Moore explained at some length why he’d rather not vote. “This is a team game and

if you don't feel you've got the best players you're not a team man,'' Moore said. "Hell. I don't care how good some other guy is. I'm not voting for him if he doesn't play for us. I'd never admit that Mahovlich. say, is the best leftwinger; I've got to go out and play against him tonight.”

Doug Harvey was the only Ranger who declined to vote, and he did so on the ground that he’s also the team's coach. On all-star teams generally, he said:

"There's no perfect way to name a team. For instance, I have an entirely different perspective on some of our players than I had when I was with the Canadiens. I've discovered that the Canadiens are a lot better than I thought they w'ere. When you play seventy games with one group, and practise with them every day, you tend to overemphasize their mistakes. When you play against them only fourteen times, and they beat you more often than not, you wonder if they ever make mistakes.” Harvey was asked if there were any dirty players. He looked startled. "Not many,” he said finally. "Maybe one or two of the old guard, but I'm not naming them.”

None of the players, in fact, would name a man for playing dirty hockey. Gordie Howe chuckled and said sometimes a player is his own worst enemy.

"I was circling behind the net the other night

trying to get a puck that was caught in the mesh.” he said. “I poked at it with my stick, my stick caught in the netting and if 1 hadn't been able to jump away I'd have run her right through my stomach. Naw, I don't wamt to talk about bad guys.”

TWO COACHES DIDN'T DRAW A VOTE

The defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Black Hawks, appeared to be the team with the most objective point of view'. Seventeen Black Hawks voted, naming eleven members of rival teams and eight Black Hawks. They were united behind only one player, their own Bobby Hull (as were most other clubs). Hull outpolled Toronto’s Mahovlich sixteen to one. For goal, the Hawks gave ten votes to their own Glenn Hall and seven to Plante. The Canadiens, by contrast, supported Plante fifteen to one for Hall.

Toronto was the only team to mention last year's all-star goalkeeper, Leaf Johnny Bower, giving him six votes. One intrepid Toronto player drew up a team that had Bower in goal. Allan Stanley and AI Arbour on defense, Billy Harris at centre, Bob Nevin at right wing, Dick Duff at left wing, and Bert Olmstead the coach. Except for Bower, these were the only votes the players received and Olmstead, of course, is not the Toronto coach, not nominally anyway.

Speaking of coaches, Blake topped every team except the Rangers, who tied him with their own coach Harvey. Tw'o teams did not give their own coaches any votes at all. From respect to their future employment, they are not named here.

The players were asked to suggest rule changes that might improve the game, but except for a few' minor technical notions nobody made a significant contribution.

"I think the game's pretty good the way it is,” said Toronto captain George Armstrong. "It seems to appeal to the spectators.”

Gordie Howe wats satisfied, too. "It's fast, there’s a lot of action, and there are enough goals being scored — though maybe not by our club some nights, eh? But if you open her up any more, us old guys will never make it.” Is the idea of an all-star team appealing to the players, bonus money aside?

“Well, I’ve never made it,” said Boston's McKenney, "but I suppose it’s a mark of achievement, and everybody likes to accomplish something. Sure, it's a good idea. Maybe, if the Canadiens vote only for themselves, you could tell the players they can’t vote for teammates.” "The kind of year Hull is having.” noted Doug Harvey, “how can you expect Chicago players to vote for somebody else? No, as I say. there's no perfect way to pick an all-star team.”

TRENT FRAYNE