The NHL All-Star Game—the best hockey players in the game playing under one roof.
It should not come as a surprise then, when—given the defensive indifference that occurs in the All-Star game—we see some highlight-worthy performances by players showcasing their abilities in ways that we would never see in real games.
These performances, whether all game long or just a moment in the game, give players reputations that they sometimes carry for the rest of their careers.
This slideshow endeavors to put together the 22 greatest All-Star game memories ever (although their have been 59 All-Star games, so if I "miss" any, feel free to add your own as well).
Whether it was rigged or not, Phil Kessel was selected last in last year's fantasy draft.
To be perfectly honest, Kessel took it in stride and seem to take it as a kick in the pants, so to speak.
Kessel finished the season with 32 goals and 64 points. But where this moment really helped Kessel was his performance this season.
Kessel has 24 goals and 49 points already, and the All-Star game has yet to be played.
With an outside shot at 90 points, Kessel is exactly where he wants to be, and looks to finally be helping the Maple Leafs think playoffs and not a long offseason at the golf course.
Honorable mention last year to Nick Lidstrom and Shea Weber, who went a combined plus-13 at the All-Star game last year in an 11-10 game.
Did not happen due to the 2010 Winter Olympics, which took two weeks out of the season.
The 2009 All-Star Game was a typical high-scoring affair, and the game ended in a shootout.
But it wasn't the game itself that was the story of the All-Star weekend.
Instead, it was the Breakaway Challenge in the Super Skills portion.
Ovechkin's hat and sunglasses stole the show (fast-forward to just over a minute left in the video to see it).
Nabokov really isn't who he used to be as a goaltender.
He was the face of the San Jose Sharks for a number of years, and this 2008 All-Star game saw him make two huge stops.
Both of the saves were on Ilya Kovalchuk.
One can be seen at the 2:50 mark of this video, and the other one shortly thereafter.
Honorable mention to Rick Nash for the hat trick and one goal in each period.
With the Eastern Conference squad having pulled the goalie, Dion Phaneuf fired the puck up the boards and cleared it down the ice.
What he couldn't have seen happening when he cleared the puck was the shot going off the boards and into the goal. It happens around the 4:50 mark in this video.
Honorable mention to Brendan Shanahan telling Sidney Crosby that Shanahan's elbow pads are older than Crosby (around the 4:18 mark).
No NHL All-Star Game due to the 2006 Winter Olympics, in which Sweden took home the gold medal.
When the NHL 2004-05 season died, the 2005 All-Star game died with it.
The 2004 All-Star game saw plenty of action, but for the Maple Leafs fans out there, a young Joffrey Lupul recorded a hat trick in the "Young Stars" game.
That was the highlight of the weekend, as there were only 10 goals scored in the actual All-Star game.
Watching the All-Star game on ESPN brings back good memories.
Bill Clement, Darren Pang and Brian Engblom highlighted the ESPN cast.
But as far as the All-Star game itself was concerned, the accuracy shooting competition took the cake.
Peter Forsberg, Jeremy Roenick, Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Jeff O'Neill, Marian Gaborik, Glenn Murray and Joe Thornton competed in the event, and the East dominated the West.
Glenn Murray missed his first three shots but then hit the next four in a row, while each of the Eastern All-Stars (except for Joe Thornton) hit all four targets as well.
In Thornton's defense, he did hit his first three consecutively.
The thing about the Breakaway Shootout in the 2002 NHL All-Star Game, is that there are so many future Hall-of-Famers in this event, that watching the whole nine-minute clip is really worth your while.
As far as top performers go, the defensemen shooters stood out early, with a nice backhand goal by Chris Pronger.
But the real story of the night was Hasek and Roy (on opposite teams in this event) combining to stop eight of 10 shooters.
I couldn't find actual game footage of the 2001 NHL All-Star game, which is unfortunate, as it featured an All-Star game-record 26 goals!
Additionally, Bill Guerin had a hat trick and two assists.
For having some of the best goalies in the history of the NHL (Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek and Martin Brodeur) it didn't appear as if these goalies actually had any impact on the game.
Brodeur gave up five goals, and Hasek and Roy gave up three goals each.
Excuse the language barrier in the video, but Pavel Bure's play at the 2000 All-Star game speaks louder than his words.
He picked up the NHL All-Star Game MVP with his hat trick and assist in the World's 9-4 victory.
The Great One was at it again in this All-Star game. A goal and two assists earned Gretzky his third All-Star MVP.
Gretzky's patience with the puck is very evident in his first assist in the video.
The man just makes it look so easy, even in his last season in the NHL.
Honorable mention to Gordie Howe scoring a goal in the Legends game.
In the Legends game, Tiger Williams is awarded a penalty shot.
Notice the two hockey sticks that are tossed on the ice from the bench, and the tremendous concentration by the all-time league leader in penalty minutes to bury this penalty shot goal.
And then of course, party like it's 1999 with his stick-riding.
I wonder if he knows that wasn't 'til the next year...
The confidence that a player must have in himself to call a shot against a goaltender, especially one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game, is unimaginable.
Owen Nolan broke in on a breakaway, looking for his third goal of the night.
He pointed and scored, and his hometown fans went crazy.
Oh, and this goal was a hat trick goal too. No big deal.
There's a reason that FOX Sports doesn't broadcast the NHL on its main channels anymore (only team stations).
The annoying red line that comes out every time there is a hard shot on goal reminds me too much of some old video game.
Honorable mention to Jaromir Jagr's haircut in this one: something straight out of the 1970s or 1980s.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly during the 2004-05 lockout.
The 1994-95 season almost ended up the same as its 2004-05 counterpart, the difference being that the season was drastically shortened, but still played.
But, the All-Star game was not played because of the shortened season.
This was the only decent clip I could find of the 1994 All-Star weekend.
For all intents and purposes, Jaromir Jagr could have been a rock star with his 1970s hair style.
But for the NHL All-Star game's fastest skater competition?
I think Jagr would have won if he had cut his hair, as it made Jagr just a split second slower than Sergei Fedorov.
The Wales Conference dominated the Campbell Conference in the 1993 All-Star game, by a final score of 16-6!
This game wasn't even close, with four of the Campbell Conference's goals coming in the last six minutes of the third period.
Four of those goals scored by the Wales Conference were by Mike Gartner, the first two scored a mere 22 seconds apart.
Not bad for a guy who had been chosen to replace Mark Messier.
Honorable mention to Ray Bourque, who duplicated his earlier feat of 4-4 on accuracy shooting.
Another honorable mention to Al Lafrate, who set a new hardest shot record (which stood for 16 years until Zdeno Chara broke it) of 105.2 MPH.
Putting Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull on the same line is just asking for offense.
Gretzky: the all-time leading goals, assists and points leader.
Robitaille: the highest scoring left winger of all time.
Hull: the third-highest goal scorer in NHL history, with 741 goals.
And they did not disappoint in the 1992 All-Star game.
Combining for three goals and nine points (all points came on those three goals), the Gretzky-Hull-Robitaille line helped the Campbell Conference pull out a 10-6 win.
The 1991 All-Star game was a memorable one.
Vincent Damphousse had four goals, and three in the third period.
This effort helped the Campbell Conference win 11-5.
Another honorable mention to Ray Bourque for going 4-4 at the skills competition accuracy challenge.
With the impromptu switch from Montreal to Pittsburgh for the All-Star game, Penguins captain Mario Lemieux took full advantage.
Lemieux put up a first period hat trick and tacked on another goal in the third period.
With his first period hat trick, he helped the Wales Conference jump out to a 7-2 lead after the first period.
They would not allow the Campbell Conference to get any closer, winning 12-7.
So, all said and done, did I miss anything?
What honorable mentions would you give out over the past 22 seasons?
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