The last major penalty in a National Hockey League All-Star Game was called in 1953, when Montreal's Bert Olmstead traded punches with Detroit's Red Kelly. But it would not be surprising if the peace ends Tuesday night at the Forum.
In these days of balanced schedules, teams sometimes do not see each other for months at a time, and ruffled feelings get a chance to cool. There are some players competing here, however, who carry giant grudges.
It was only Sunday that Detroit's Reed Larson was booted out of a game with Vancouver, after he booted the Canucks' Tiger Williams with a skate following the usual indignities committed by Willilams. These two will be on opposite sides Tuesday, Larson playing for the Prince of Wales Conference, Williams for the Campbells.
The Campbells' Behn Wilson of Philadelphia figures to be in for trouble, too, if he comes near the Wales' Danny Gare of Buffalo. Not long ago, Gare was chasing Wilson around the Buffalo ice with his stick, after Wilson mistook him for a bison and tried to spear him. Those two will begin three-game suspensions after the All-Star Game.
There is suspicion that the presence of Philadelphia's Paul Holmgren, more noted for his 200-plus penalty minutes than his 12 goals, indicates Pat Quinn, the Flyer boss who will be coaching the Campbell team, will change the usual no-hit tactics of all-star games.
Quinn chose Holmgren over St. Louis' 41-goal scorer, Wayne Babych, and withstood a lot of subsequent flak, even commenting that "when the Blues win their conference, then (Coach Red) Berenson can pick his own players." If Quinn puts Williams and Holmgren on the same line, it would just about guarantee some mayhem, because that pair knows no other way to play.
Quinn is anxious to win, because the Wales Conference has won all five games under the present format, created in 1975. Starting next season, when Capital Centre is host to the contest, the Campbell's chances will become even dinner, since the Patrick Division that includes Washington, Philadelphia and the New York Islanders will be moving into the Wales camp with Montreal, Buffalo and Boston.
Besides the atypical corps of bully boys, there are many genuine all-stars here, including Washington's first elected representative, right wing Mike Gartner. With Gartner in the Campbell's orange jerseys will be goalie Mike Liut of St. Louis, center Wayne Gretzky of Edmonton and right wing Mike Bossy of the Islanders. Babych finally made it, too, as a last-minute substitute for the Islanders' injured Bryan Trottier.
Gartner will play on a line with Morris Lukowich of Winnipeg and Bob Bourne of the Islanders.
Leading the Wales contingent is the host Kings' Triple Crown line of Charlie Simmer, Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor. Peter Stastny of Quebec, Mike Rogers of Hartford and Bobby Smith of Minnesota guarantee more firepower.
The contest will be televised live in Washington by WETA-TV-26 at 10:30 p.m. Overtime is mandated, should regulation time end in a tie.