January 27, 2011
The 1990 NHL All-Star Game is fondly remembered for being Doug Smail's only appearance in the midseason classic and, to a much lesser degree, Mario Lemieux's 4-goal performance in front of Pittsburgh Penguins fans at the Igloo -- three of them on his first three shots.
But as the NHL All-Star Game once again undergoes a massive overhaul for the 2011 edition, we thought it appropriate to look back 21 years to another slate of dramatic alterations to the All-Star Game format.
Consider this: The 41st NHL All-Star Game was the first to feature an actual All-Star Weekend like we know it today. They brought in the Heroes of Hockey game, which was a kind way of saying "old timers'". But more importantly, it was the first appearance of the Super Skills Competition, featuring shot accuracy, hardest shot and the goalie competition.
Plus, because of the expanded format, the game was played on a Sunday afternoon and live on NBC ... which, to show you how far things have progressed for hockey, was Wade Belak(notes) hat-trick rare, if you smell what we're cooking.
Here's a glorious early newsreel on the 1990 All-Star Weekend, with more synth fanfare than you can handle:
Coming up, some more video from the game and a look at some of our favorite hockey hair from the All-Star participants.
And here ... we ... go.
Tonight, the role of Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings will be played by the star of such films as "Anti-Trust" and "MacGruber," Ryan Phillippe.
And now, here are your starting lineups for the 1990 NHL All-Star Game:
Booing Brian Propp of the Philadelphia Flyers. Oh, Patrick Division, how we miss thee ...
At a time when Ovechkin vs. Crosby fatigue is at a high water mark, interesting to see Mario vs. Gretzky far from played out. Different levels of media saturation 21 years ago, of course.
If you've ever wondered why some people claim the National Hockey League All-Star Game has lost some of its luster, perhaps this will help: 1990 featured Wayne Gretzky vs. Patrick Roy in a skills competition. No disrespect to either, but Anze Kopitar(notes) vs. Carey Price(notes) just doesn't rise to that level of awesome.
"Right Wing, No. 16, a man who can't help but hopelessly eye-[expletive] the camera, Brett Hull!"
Going ... going ... going ...
NHL officials were stunned when, right after the introductions, a marmoset that had been gently sleeping inside the front of Mario's hair climbed down and scurried into the bowels of the Igloo ... where it was eventually mistaken for a terrorist and killed by Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Here's Mario Lemieux's 4-goal game and more from the 1990 ASG:
Edited down to nine minutes, the game seemed pretty exciting. Probably wasn't.
Ladies and gentleman, Doc Emrick's suave, fully-coiffed older brother Surgeon Emrick.
And finally, there's NHL announcer Bill Clement, whose hair ... looks exactly the same 21 years later. Creep-y.
So long, everyone. Stay tuned for the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic here on NBC.