This past weekend Mark Messier joined Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr and Glen Sather from the Edmonton Oilers dynasty in hockey's hallowed Hall.
Now the question is will Glenn Anderson be next?
Messier took the opportunity to campaign for his long time running mate.
"Glenn is an obvious choice," Messier said. "There are other guys who are also deserving, but Glenn's numbers, coupled with everything else, should get him in."
Messier isn't the only former Oiler who believes "Andy" deserves enshrinement. Almost every Oiler to a man has said so, including Gretzky, Coffey and Kevin Lowe.
"It's silly not to have Glenn in the Hall of Fame with the rest of these guys. I can't understand how it hasn't happened," said Glen Sather.
Anderson has been eligible for the Hall since the turn of the century. In only two years, 2001 and 2007, the Hall inducted the full allotment of 4 players. They had room to include Anderson if they wanted to, but chose the likes of Bernie Federko, Clark Gillies, and Dick Duff instead.
Why? That's a good question. He was just shy of 500 goals, but that can't be it. His character off the ice has been called into question, particularly involving a bitter and public child support legal case he had in 2002. If that's the case, the Hall may have wanted to wait until that has disappeared from memories.
Or how about this: Conventional wisdom suggests he was overshadowed by his Oilers teammates, but I almost wonder if the hall is afraid of inducting too many Oilers. I think there is a danger there, but the cut off probably should be after Anderson. He was too big of a player in too many big games. He should be let in, but not Kevin Lowe or Andy Moog or other Oilers heroes.
Whatever the case may have been in the past, now Anderson is stuck in a log jam of superstars eligible for retirement. We can probably expect 4 enshrinements each season for the foreseeable future, but that doesn't guarantee Anderson a spot either.
Anderson's best chance will be in 2008. Thanks to the lost season due to the 2004-05 lockout season, the class of eligibility for 2008 will be made up mostly of previously passed over retired greats. Anderson will be up against Adam Oates, Igor Larionov, Pavel Bure, Dino Ciccarelli, Doug Gilmour, Mike Richter, Tom Barrasso and Mike Vernon. Others will champion for longer overlooked stars like Steve Larmer, Mark Howe, maybe even Phil Housley or Claude Lemieux. And of course I will call (again) for Sergei Makarov's inclusion. Larionov and Makarov together joining the Hall where Vladislav Tretiak and Viacheslav Fetisov already reside works out really nicely. And the Hall's selection committee recently expanded its European voice by including Jan-Ake Edvinsson and Peter Stastny.
2009 will be a tough year for any of these bubble players to get in. Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch and Luc Robitaille all become eligible, and are almost certainly all guaranteed first year enshrinement.
2010 also looks to be a banner crop. Joe Nieuwendyk, Eric Lindros, Pierre Turgeon, Peter Bondra and, depending on their decisions to return this year, Peter Forsberg, Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne will all possibly be eligible.
If Anderson or any of these bubble players is going to get in to the Hall of Fame, it's going happen in 2008 or not for a very long time. The good news is the Hall likely will realize this incredible logjam, and will look to make room in 2008. The players who don't get in then, may never do so.