The Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee meets on Tuesday to decide which players will earn the label of “immortal” from a myopic group of East Coast and Toronto-center elitists who allow petty politics and old feuds to overrule logic and previously established standards in clandestine annual meetings.
Who will make up the Class of 2013? Here are the eligible players. Puck Daddy sets the odds …
Chelios is the lock of locks for first-ballot induction. He’s a three-time Stanley Cup winner, a three-time Norris Trophy winner, an eight-time all-NHL player, fifth in career games played (1,651), 10th all-time in points by a defenseman (948) and a four-time Olympian.
His work ethic was unparalleled – by that we mean he was a workout freak – and he could be easily be considered one of the most dominant defensemen of his generation. Although that’s a little difficult to define when you consider Chelios began playing in the NHL around 1787.
Niedermayer had 740 points in 1,263 career games, which was a better points-per-game average than Chelios and quite an accomplishment given that he was shackled by the Devils’ tedious, smothering, creativity killing trap for years.
It was his overall success that sets him apart. He won the Stanley Cup four times – three with the New Jersey Devils, one with the Anaheim Ducks, for which he captured the Conn Smythe. He won Olympic gold twice, the 2004 IIHF world championship, the 1991 world junior title and a 2004 World Cup of Hockey title. He also was one of the best pure-skating defensemen the NHL has ever seen, and had a killer salt-and-pepper beard in his twilight years.
The only reason we don’t have Shanny as a slam dunk shoo-in no-brainer is because we thought he was one last year. We’ll go ahead and assume someone in that clandestine meeting was all boo-boo faced because Shanahan suspended one of their boys as head of the Dept. of Player Safety. It’s really the only explanation for his not getting in.
Like Niedermayer, he's a Triple Gold Club member too, having captured three Stanley Cups; but his lone individual award in the NHL was the 2002-03 King Clancy Trophy. But the numbers are stellar: 1,354 points for 25th all-time, including 656 career goals to place him 13th all-time. A prototypical power forward during his years with the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers.
Another Triple Gold club member – the Stanley Cup on Ray Bourque’s Colorado Avalanche in 2001, Olympic gold in 2002 and the World Championship in 1994 and 1997. Blake won the Norris in Trophy in 1998 and had 777 points in 1,270 games, which is a higher scoring rate than either Chelios or Niedermayer. He’s worthy of induction, although probably not on the first ballot. Then again, we’re just assuming this: Like the Selection Committee, we never actually saw Blake play, given that he spent his entire career in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks. Rob who?!
Two controversial figures and two players whose Hall of Fame cases are made beyond the stats.
Lindros is 19th in NHL history in points per game average with 1.138; the names ahead of him are all Hall of Famers, save for Kent Nilsson, Peter Forsberg (eventually), Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Jaromir Jagr (eventually, too).
He won the Hart and the Pearson in 1995. He has just 760 NHL career games, however, in a concussion-plagued career. Lindros has been mending fences for years after being a divisive player, clashing with the Philadelphia Flyers brass and causing strife that tracked all the way back to his decision not to play where he was drafted.
His case comes down to this: Was that brief time frame during which Lindros redefined the center position in the NHL and dominated the League enough for immortality? (I’ve argued yes.)
Roenick never won an individual award in the NHL nor did he win the Stanley Cup. He won Olympic silver with the U.S. in 2002. Statistically, Roenick has 513 career goals (37th overall) and a 0.892 points per game average, placing him right with Hall of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk.
But the argument for Roenick has always been less Hall and more FAME. His off-ice impact during his playing days was legendary, both as an American player and as a pop culture icon. There were better hockey players during his era; few were as memorable as Roenick. If you don’t believe that should factor into this, then perhaps you’d prefer it to be the Hall of On-Ice Achievement Without Context.
Welcome to “guys with Hall of Fame numbers who lack that extra thing that makes a Hall of Famer.”
Housley is fourth in all-time scoring for defensemen with 1,232 points. CuJo is fifth all-time in games played for goalies with 943 and fourth in wins with 454 – every other player in the Top 9 all-time is in the Hall of Fame save for Martin Brodeur, who will be in. Mogilny won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils and ranks 37th all-time in goals per game and 38th in points per game. Tkachuk has 538 career goals, which puts him in Stan Mikita/Rocket Richard territory.
Again, Hall of Fame credentials, but perhaps only Housley has that intangible extra thing that makes for an immortal.
Legendary players that are going to each have their own rallying points – Andreychuk’s goals, Makarov’s international success – but that who may never have the majority support of the committee for enshrinement. Barrasso, Naslund and Zubov are three to watch, however.
Players with numbers that are right on the cusp of being Hall worthy, but are short. In Fleury’s case, literally.
Once again, we acknowledge the Hall of Fame case to be made for Rogie, and lament the fact that it’ll probably never happen.
Triple Gold Club member. Greatest hockey name ever.
Created so many new expletives from opposing fans, which is in some ways a greater achievement than winning Triple Gold.
We’re looking at you, Miro Satan.
The beach ball has better odds.
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