With very little fanfare, one of the top hockey players of the 1990s retired officially last week.
While it wasn't a real shock, and while his best days left him 4 or 5 years ago, it was sad that so little respect was paid to this guy. After all he is a 500 goal scorer. He may be the best player in Washington Capitals history. He is a two time NHL goal scoring champ. He is an international hockey legend.
I'm talking about Peter Bondra. Somehow recognition escaped him when his retirement announcement came. It was partially timing, and partially because he was always an anonymous superstar hidden in Washington.
I have to wonder if recognition will escape him when it comes to Hall of Fame talk. There was a time 500 goals meant you were a lock, but not anymore. Despite his goal scoring prowess, he never got a NHL award, and had little playoff success. The general consensus at HF Boards suggests Bondra will have to pay admission like the rest of us if he wants to go into the Hall of Fame.
It's really interesting to see how the legacy of such a great player like Bondra can depend on the market you played in, and whether or not you won a Stanley Cup.
And, as much as I hate to say it, I wonder how his nationality affects things. If he were Canadian or American instead of Slovakian, would he be held in higher regard over here?
I hope not.