. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Last-Minute Goal Earns Bourque All-Star MVP

BOSTON -- Ray Bourque needed no help in scoring the game-winning goal in the Eastern Conference's 5-4 victory over the West in Boston in the NHL's 46th All-Star Game.


But when it came to determining the most valuable player award, the Boston Bruin defenseman needed an assist from the president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association on Saturday night.


Voters had to submit their ballots with about 10 minutes left and the East leading, 4-3. The top MVP candidates were Mighty Duck forward Paul Kariya, who had a goal and an assist for the West, and East goalie Dominik Hasek, who was acrobatically stopping a barrage of West shots in the third period.


When Winnipeg's Teemu Selanne tied it with 3:29 to play and Bourque sliced a back-hander over goaltender Felix Potvin's shoulder with 37.3 seconds left, it was too late for the 29 voters to be canvassed again.


Jim Kelley of the Buffalo News, president of the PHWA, invoked a provision in the organization's bylaws to avoid embarrassment and choose Bourque.


"It was an executive decision," Kelley said.


And an overwhelmingly popular decision. Bourque, a five-time winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman and a Bruin his entire 17-year career, got a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 17,565 before the game and an even louder tribute afterward.


His MVP selection represented only the second time a defenseman has won the award and was the first since another Boston defenseman of some note -- Bobby Orr in 1972.