June 15, 2008

Larionov Only Clear Cut Choice For Hall Of Fame

Lance Hornby at the London Free Press says there are no clear cut choices for this year's Hockey Hall of Fame inductions.

"This is what some call a "light" year, or a chance to address oversights. But any big names who miss the cut again might get shunted to the alley until as late as 2011 or '12."

Hornby's right, as the next 2 or 3 classes will be stocked with first year eligible no-brainers. I would suggest this year's exclusions should be "shunted to the alley" a lot longer than a few years from now. This should be the last chance for many of these guys.

Hornby goes on to look at the pros and cons of many of the candidates. He also settles on Doug Gilmour, Glenn Anderson and Igor Larionov as the odds on favorites to get in this year, with Pavel Bure, Dino Ciccarelli and Steve Larmer right up there too. Curiously, he completely neglects Adam Oates.

I have no disagreements with Hornby's selections, other than to say Igor Larionov should be a clear cut choice. Perhaps he is the only eligible player who should be, though I really think Gilmour will get in too.

SportsNet's Pierre Lebrun agrees with me.

"Fact is, Larionov should have gone in last year in his first year of eligibility. I wasn't very happy when he didn't. I understand it was a tough year for him with four huge names going in -- Mark Messier, Al MacInnis, Scott Stevens and Ron Francis.

But I would argue Larionov is as deserving as MacInnis, Stevens and Francis. Maybe the Hall should have had a one-time exception and allowed five players to get in instead of the maximum four. I found it tough to swallow that a player of Larionov's calibre, a guy called the Wayne Gretzky of Russia, didn't get the nod in his first year of eligibilty."

I couldn't agree more, Pierre.

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