First All-Star appearance gives Guerin MVP award
Updated: Monday February 05, 2001 8:23 AM
By Robert Rodriguez, CNNSI.com
DENVER -- He's just a Bill.
But instead of sitting on Capitol Hill, or anywhere else this weekend, Boston's Bill Guerin became an All-Star. And for one night, he was an All-Star MVP.
Guerin made the most of his first All-Star appearance with a hat trick and two assists in the North America team's 14-12 victory against the World team. His hat trick was only 12th in All-Star history.
"It's pretty hard to believe right now," he said. "I was thrilled enough just to be picked and playing this weekend."
An All-Star appearance was the only missing ingredient in Guerin's nine-year career. He was New Jersey's first pick (fifth overall) in the 1989 NHL Draft and on the Devils' Stanley Cup winning team in 1995. He also represented the United States in the 1996 World Cup and the 1998 Winter Olympics.
After six seasons in Jersey, Guerin was traded to Edmonton, where he received more playing time, but less attention. During this season, he was shipped to Boston, his hometown team, for Anson Carter.
Since the trade, he has thrived under head coach Mike Keenan's system. Guerin already surpassed the 20-goal mark for the sixth time in his career and is on pace to record career highs in both goals and points.
"The whole year in a nutshell has been fantastic," he said. "I idolized the Bruins. All my favorite players were from there. Just everything this year has turned really well."
Bruin teammate Jason Allison, also a first-time All-Star this weekend, said Guerin has been one of the keys to Boston's climb back to, and above, the .500 level.
"Ever since he came to Boston, he has really made an impact on this team, both on the ice and in the locker room," Allison said. "I'm glad after nine years that he has gotten the recognition he deserves. Now everyone can see that Bill is a great player."
Guerin was one of 13 players making their first All-Star appearance. Like many of his teammates, he now has special memories that he will cherish.
"The MVP honor is just the icing on the cake," he said. "The weekend, the SuperSkills contest, the game, it all was great. It sits right up there with winning the Cup."
And the best part about the weekend?
"And it was awesome to have Mario [Lemieux] around," Guerin added. "His presence definitely was felt.
"Being with him in something like this was a thrill for everybody. We all had a lot of fun just sitting on the bench watching him play."
After an incredible weekend, it's back to business for Guerin. He must now help his Bruins battle for a playoff spot. If the season were to end today, Boston would be one point ahead of Carolina for the eighth seed in the playoffs, and one point behind Buffalo for the seventh spot.
So where does Bill head next after his amazing weekend in Denver? Will he be out celebrating and painting the town red?
Hardly. Like Bills in Washington, D.C., "I'm headed to the house."