Friday, January 28, 2011

The All-Stars of 1966-67

With the All-star Game taking place this weekend, I thought it would be interesting to look back and examine the selection process as it was structured for the final all-star contest connected with the Original Six era - 1966-67.

On January 26, 1967 newspaper reports provided readers with the names of players selected for the first-half of the season. Reporters and commentators in each of the six NHL cities were supplied with 3 all-star ballots. The ballot counting was tabulated as follows - 5 points for a first place selection, 3 points for a second and 1 point for a third place selection. A perfect score (for a first-half selection to the first team) would be 90 points (3 media per city x 5 pts = 15 x 6 NHL cities = 90). Based on this formula, 3 players garnered perfect scores. Two were from the New York Rangers - goalie Ed Giacomin and defenceman Harry Howell. They were joined by Chicago Black Hawk centre Stan Mikita. Rounding out the first team all-stars were Chicago defenceman Pierre Pilote and on the wings Rod Gilbert (RW) of the Rangers and Bobby Hull (LW) of the Hawks.

The second team all-stars were; GOAL-Charlie Hodge (Mtl) DEFENCE-Bobby Orr (Bos) and Tim Horton (Tor) CENTRE-Norm Ullman (Det) RW-Ken Wharram (Chi) LW-Don Marshall (NYR).

Besides the prestige of gaining a spot on either team, there was a monetary reward. Each player on the first team received a $500 bonus, while those on the second team deposited $250 into their bank accounts.


Bobby Orr
 Of interest, the selection of Giacomin, Howell and Gilbert from the Rangers, spelled the first selections from New York since Andy Bathgate in 1962-63. Also, there seemed to be some surprise in a rookie defenceman being selected. This player was Bobby Orr. As pointed out in the media, this was only the second time this had happened. In his rookie year, 1963-64, Jacques Laperriere of the Montreal Canadiens, earned a second team selection. In both cases, Orr and Laperriere, were Calder Trophy winners.

A second vote was taken after the final 35 games of the season. The point totals would be combined and the final all-star teams for the 1966-67 would be declared. After the final calculations were made (May 16, 1967), the two all-star teams looked like this (final points earned in brackets)...

FIRST TEAM ALL-STARS

Stan Mikita, Chi, C, (180)
Ken Wharram, Chi, RW, (117)
Bobby Hull, Chi, LW, (174)
Pierre Pilote, Chi, D, (156)
Harry Howell, NRY, D, (147)
Ed Giacomin, NYR, G, (149)

Stan Mikita

Ken Wharram
 
Bobby Hull

Pierre Pilote

Harry Howell


Ed Giacomin

SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS

Norm Ullman, Det, C,  (62)
Gordie Howe, Det, RW, (96)
Don Marshall, NYR, LW, (59)
Tim Horton, Tor, D, (94)
Bobby Orr, Bos, D, (89)
Glenn Hall, Chi, G, (62)

The dominance of the Chicago Black Hawks is seen in the first all-star team. A powerful offensive club, the Hawks failure to capture multiple Stanley Cups in the final decade of the Original Six era was always a mystery. Of course, they went all the way in 1961, but that was it. Another example of how competitive the era was and no matter how much talent there was on a roster, the Stanley Cup could be as elusive as a Players Association.

The only player bumped from the first team, following the second round of voting, was New York Ranger Rod Gilbert. Also, the only player to obtain a perfect score (180) was the Hawks Stan Mikita. A place on the final first team earned a player $1000 plus another $1000 for being the vote leader in each half ($500 per/half). For the second team it was $500 plus another $500 ($250 per/half).

Like the first-half of voting, there were some points of interest. Gordie Howe received his 18th straight all-star selection. For the first time in 25 years, no Montreal Canadiens made one of the all-star teams. Bobby Orr's selection meant the first Bruin since Bronco Horvath in 1960 made the cut.

The All-Star Game took place on January 16, 1968. This was a departure from the usual early-season date. It was moved forward to enable players from the expansion teams to fill out out the all-star roster. These players included; Terry Sawchuk (Kings), Glenn Hall (Blues), Bobby Baun (Seals), Leon Rochefort (Flyers), Ken Schinkel (Penguins), Dave Balon (Stars).



The contest was played at Maple Leaf Gardens before a record all-star crowd of 15,740 spectators. The Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs were the opposition. As a result of brilliant goaltending by Bruce Gamble for 2 periods and Al Smith in the third, the Leafs emerged with a slim 4-3 victory. All these 2 netminders had to contend with was line combinations that would make any goalies head spin...Hull-Mikita-Wharram / Marshall-Ullman-Howe / Bucyk-Beliveau-Rochefort. The defence pairing were Pilote-Howell / Laperriere-J.C. Tremblay / Orr-Baun. The all-star team employed all 3 goalies, Giacomin-Sawchuk-Hall.


Game Summary - Click to enlarge

The following year, the All-Star Game would change to a West vs. East format. The game played at the Gardens was one final tribute to the Original Six era. It was a changing of the guard - a salute to the old and a welcoming of the six new clubs to the mix.

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