November 14, 2007

IIHF Centennial All Star Team

I finally found a link for the All World All Star team on the website which for some reason I always have trouble navigating.

Anyways, some disappointing news: The selections will have a major impact on recognizing the most successful players in the history of international ice hockey. One goaltender, two defensemen, two forwards, and one center will comprise the All-Star Team. No difference will be made between right or left defenders and right or left wingers.

That has got to be the most ridiculous decision I've ever heard of.

The IIHF has a tremendous opportunity here to celebrate the greatest players in international hockey history. There's probably upwards of 50 worthy candidates who could make a final team of 18 skaters and 2 goalies. The coverage, the controversy, the final cuts would make for incredible debate and celebration, which is what I would have assumed the IIHF wanted.

Instead the IIHF is gathering together 50 international hockey experts to name the top goalie, top center, two top defenseman and two top wingers? Not only is that a slap in the face in to many great candidates, but it almost puts the project is dismissal mode, as far as I'm concerned.

Take the goaltender position for example. I have no problem with Vladislav Tretiak, Dominik Hasek or Jiri Holecek as your starting goalie. And that's not even looking at other worthy candidates such as Seth Martin, Sean Burke, Mike Richter, Martin Brodeur, Vladimir Dzurilla or giving a chance to celebrate and educate of the likes of Bohumil Modry or Nikolay Puchkov.

Or how about at center ice. How can you not name Wayne Gretzky as the center? But how can you not honour the likes of Peter Forsberg, Igor Larionov, Bengt Gustafsson, Ivan Hlinka, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Milan Novy, Mats Sundin or Sven Tumba Johansson?

Forwards - Boris Mikhailov should be a lock. Who do you choose for the other spot out of a group that includes Sergei Makarov, Vladimir Krutov, Alexander Yakushev, Valeri Kharlamov, Alexander Maltsev, Jari Kurri, Jaromir Jagr, Hakan Loob, Teemu Selanne, and Ryan Smyth?

And that doesn't even look at defense, where at this early stage I'd suggest Viacheslav Fetisov and Valery Vasiliev will claim the two spots.

I think I'm going to change my focus a bit. I was going to publicly decide upon my own IIHF All Time team (and I still might down the road), I will get back to regularly posting an international hockey star profile here at Greatest Hockey

For now you can see nearly 30 featured international legends at

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