Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hall of Fame thoughts

With the Hockey Hall of Fame announcing it's 2010 selections this week, I figured I'd share some random thoughts on current, future and past selections.

Joe Nieuwendyk
I do believe he'll get in on this his first year of eligibility. His resume has just about everything one could look for. 564 career goals, 3 Cups, Calder Trophy, Conn Smythe, Olympic Gold medal.... simply a winner, and one of the great leaders of the game.

Pavel Bure
I'm somewhat confused as to why Bure is not in the Hall yet. Sure he played just over 700 games, but I believe he has the credentials. In my mind if Mike Bossy is in, Bure should be a no-brainer. Bossy played 50 more games and scored 573 goals to Bure's 437, but when the numbers of these two vastly different eras are compensated for, the similarity is remarkable. During Bossy's career the average goals scored per game was often over 8.00, while in Bure's NHL the average was usually under 5.50 per game, a vast difference. When both players numbers are adjusted to a league average of 6.00 Bossy's adjusted career goals total is 497 and Bure's 498.
Sure, Bure can't compete with Bossy's four Cups but his three seasons leading the league in goals, Calder Trophy and three All-star team selections on top of the adjusted goal total make him a sure fire Hall of Famer in my mind.

Eric Lindros
His Hall of Fame selection possibility is a contentious issue among hockey fans, and I for one have a feeling that the Big E will be elected in his first year of eligibilty. Like Bure, his career was ravaged by injury and Lindros' "me first" attitude early in his career rubs many the wrong way. However, when it comes down to it he possesses in my mind, the main credential for Hall of Fame selection in any sport. He was considered one of the top players at his position for a fair length of time.
In truth he was considered one of the top players in the entire game for at least four or five years. From 1993/94 through 96/97 he was top three in the NHL in points per game, and for six straight years he was at least top six. His career total of 1.14 points per game place him 15th in history among players with at least 600 games. His 45 points in 44 career senior level international chamionships is impressive as is his 57 points in 53 career playoff games. He often gets a bad rap for not being able to lead a squad to a championship, but in 96/97 when the Flyers lost to Detroit in the finals, Lindros tallied 26 points in 19 games. It was hardly his doing that they lost.

Doug Gilmour, Adam Oates, Dave Andreychuk
All three will get into the Hall sooner than later, just not this year. Oates ranks sixth all-time in assists. The rest of the top ten are in the Hall...enough said. Gilmour ranks 12th overall and in fact the top sixteen in assists all are in the Hall or soon will be (Joe Sakic and Jaromir Jagr are the only others not yet in). Andreychuk, like in the past, is in the same boat as Gilmour. He ranks 13th all-time in goals, all of the rest of the top fifteen are in the shrine (excluding Brendan Shanahan who will be in three years after he hangs them up). Also, with 274 powerplay goals Andreychuk is number one all-time in NHL history. All three of these guys will be in soon enough.

Mark Howe, Phil Housley
Neither of these two American born defenders ever won a Cup, and both played some forward earlier in their careers. I believe Howe and Housley should be in Hall at some point in the future. Housley's 1232 career points rank fourth among defenseman all-time Howe's 742 points in 929 games when added to his over 500 WHA points can not be discounted. Howe also made three first all-star sqauds in the mid '80s. If Brad Park is Hall worthy, so too should these two guys.

Lorne Chabot
This one has always puzzled me. Chabot played just over ten full NHL seasons, yet had a 201-147-62 record in 412 games. His 71 shutouts rank 11th all-time and his 2.03 GAA is fourth best ever. Even when adjusted (as Bure and Bossy's goal totals were) his average is 2.79. Hall of Famer Harry Lumley has an adjusted GAA (remember, this makes the diferent eras irrelevant) of 3.01, Grant Fuhr a 3.04, Roy Worters 3.12 and Gump Worsley 3.14. In addition Chabot won a Vezina Trophy and two Cups.
Chabot's contemporaries that are in the Hall, George Hainsworth, Alex Connell and Roy Worters all played their last NHL game in 1937 just as he did. All played less than 500 NHL games (like Chabot) and their GAA's are 1.93, 1.91 and 2.27 respectively. Just put the guy in the Hall already.


Geoff_9 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geoff_9 said...

The Hall of Fame is a shrine for outstanding ACCOMPLISHMENTS in the TEAM sport of hockey.

It is not a place for "what-might-have-beens."

Lindros was an athlete of paramount potential and he was one of the biggest "let downs" in the history of the NHL.

Granted, maybe it is unfair that people's expectations were so high (The Next One??) —

But I honestly believe there were around 7 or 8 centers in the NHL during his short NHL stint that had far superior and successful careers than him. (Sakic, Forsberg, Nieuwendyk, Yzerman, Federov, Gilmour, Lemieux, Oates, Gretzky, Messier, etc).

Lindros spent a couple of seasons as an elite player — but he did not have an elite career.

Nitzy said...

I'll give you the obvious Sakic, Forsberg, Yzerman and Lemieux...but even I can't say a fading Gretz or Mess was better, nor Oates, Gilmour or Nieuwy.
Lindros had 8 years where he was one of the top players in the game. Thats more than enough for Hall enshrinement.

Geoff_9 said...

8 years??
He only had one amazing season and 2 good playoff years.

He peaked or "jumped the shark tank" when he was 23 years old (the year the Flyers made it to the finals).

His career was a slow steady decline after that. He was a "Me-First" head case that was never the "great" player that he thought he was. Even when healthy, he never came close to touching his first few seasons.

He probably will go down as the most talented untapped potential ever.

It's too bad. He honestly could have been one of the best ever.

Compare his career to Nieuwendyk (who also battled injuries) ... And I'd easily rather have him on my team instead of Lindros. What he had in raw talent — he lost out in attitude, character and leadership.

After the age of 23, he stopped positively contributing to the game of hockey. That doesn't sound very "Hall of Fame" worthy to me.

dew71 said...

Regarding Lindros and your comment about his production in '97. He and the Flyers did indeed have a great playoff run… TO the finals. But what happened IN the finals? Their goal scoring (including Lindros) completely disappeared. They scored a total of 6 goals in 4 games. That is not getting it done when it matters most and THAT is what determines the good players from the great or Hall of Fame caliber players.

I am not saying he does not deserve HOF consideration. I am only speaking to what he did when he had a real opportunity to not only win a cup but establish himself as one of the greats which was disappear. For such a big man he came up very small.

I have all 4 of those games on tape. I might have to go back and watch them again.

In his defense, the one thing that I think really sucks for Lindros is the era in which he played. He put up some great numbers in a league that allowed people to completely maul him without being penalized. It is a credit to his still that he accomplished what he did the way the game was back then, But can you imagine what he would have accomplished in today's NHL? God lord, they would not be able to stop him. He also played in that "no goal because you have a toe in the crease era".

It is amazing to think about how many more points he would have if he played today where you can't as much as put your hand or stick on another player.

On a separate note, one player I think DOES deserve some Hall of Fame consideration is Mr. Ron Hextall. Save that discussion for another day.

stukehrig said...

Wow - none of your picks got in. I am happy that Dino got in but admittedly I'm a sucker for the Redwings and players who have criminal records.

My only for sure guy for future years in Nieuwendyk - the guy was a winner. He just got bumped for the ladies this year.

Geoff_9 said...

I feel the fact Eric Lindros wasn't durable and he would choke in the big games really hurt his legacy.

Because of this, he never really contributed or accomplished ANYTHING as a professional NHL player.

His impressive poinst per game numbers is a statistical aberration due to his inability to stay healthy for an entire season.

By the time of his 6th season and his first concussion —he had missed tons of games due to various injuries (approx. 87 games).

He never had a 50 goal season and he only ONCE had a 100 point season (not very impressive or "Hall of Fame" standards) ... even Pierre Turgeon managed to accomplish this during Lindros' rookie season.

Out of 8 seasons with the Flyers, Lindros only lead his team in points for THREE seasons.

The only time he won the Hart Trophy was during the shortened lock-out season. Odds are he wouldn't have won if it was an entire season.

In the Olympic gold medal he won in 2002, he was benched by Coach Pat Quinn for a significant part of the tournament because of his poor play.

His only point in the tournament was a goal during garbage time in a 3rd period power-play against Belarus.

And his last 5 seasons as a non-Flyer were mediocre to embarrassingly poor due to his concussion problems.

Interestingly, If you looked at Roenick's first 5 full seasons, I would say he was actually more successful than Lindros because he was more durable and he put up better numbers.

Roenick had three 50-goal seasons and three 100-point seasons during this time.

Roenick's team was in the playoffs each of those five year. Once they made the finals (swept by Pits) and once they made the semi-finals (lost to eventual Cup winner Calgary).

The only time Lindros looked unstoppable was the first 3 rounds of the 97 playoffs — especially against the Rangers (with Gretzky + and a lame looking Messier).

Lindros tossed Messier around like a rag doll and totally exposed him as a "has-been." Messier was never considered an elite player after that (except by the moronic Canuck establishment that gave him 8 million a season ... Yikes!)

I honestly thought Lindros would finally emerge as "The Next One" during the 1997 playoffs. But he did his typical disappearing act and bickered and sulked with his coach as his team was swept by Detroit in the finals.

Lindros was given every opportunity to be great — and he consistently came up short. He would always buckle when his team needed him most. He was never a great player or a clutch performer in the big games.

Even Dougie Gilmour would show up for those games and big moments.

Funny, the 1997 finals between Philadelphia and Detroit proved the "The Next One" was actually the 12-year veteran Steve Yzerman.

From 1997 on, Yzerman was part of 4 Stanley Cup championships (3 as a player and 1 as front office) and 2 Olympic Gold Medals (1 as player and 1 as the general manager).

Sure, his stats were way down from his five 50-goal seasons and six-100 point seasons of his youth — but he transformed into something Lindros would never be — a leader and a true champion — and the real-deal "Hall of Fame" material.

dew71 said...

Very well said Geoff_9. I completely forgot about that lack of a 50 goal season. That is one I usually go to when people want to put him up on a mantle. He absolutely was a physically dominant player for a long while and did make players around him like LeClair better but I am not so sure his is worthy of the Hall of Fame. The FLYERS Hall of Fame, maybe.

Nitzy said...

I really think the Hall missed the boat this year. Ciccarelli is fine, but why not then Andreychuk as well. Plus, I still feel my three picks should have been selected...especially Nieuwendyk.
Next year is another weak class for first timers with only Ed Belfour really having a shot. The Hall should really have started selecting some of the names we've been tossing around as the 2012 field starts getting jammed with automatic picks like Sakic, Shanahan and perhaps even Roenick and Joseph.

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