June 22, 2009
HHOF Class of 2009 Announced Tuesday
The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee meets on June 23rd to decide who will be honoured in the 2009 Induction Class later this year.
Hall of Fame inductions have tended to be quite controversial in recent years, but there should be absolutely no controversy this time around. That's because there are four obvious candidates in their first year of eligibility for the Hall. Since Hall bylaws state no more than four players can be inducted in one year, the committee probably has an early tee time booked.
Here's a look at deep list of candidates:
Steve Yzerman - There is no wonder why Stevie Wonder will be immediately included. 22 seasons, all with the Red Wings where embodied leadership, class and greatness. He turned his career from that of a superstar scorer to a dogged two way warrior who won three Stanley Cups and an Olympic Gold medal. He is also the NHL's 6th all time leading scorer with 1755 points, including 692 goals (8th best all time)
Brett Hull - The Golden Brett is another no brainer, which would mean he will join his father Bobby in the Hall of Fame. He finished his career with 741 career goals, the 3rd most of all time behind only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. His 1391 career points places him 21st overall currently. The 1991 Hart and Pearson trophy winner won two Stanley Cups and a World Cup. Hull was hockey's most electrifying player - both on and off the ice - making him the face of hockey in America in the 1990s.
Luc Robitaille - For a guy who was drafted 171st overall because he couldn't skate very well, Luc Robitaille sure beat all expectations. He scored 668 career goals and 1394 points, records for left wingers, placing him 10th and 20th, respectively, on the all time list. Lucky Luc, one of hockey's true nice guys, was an 8 time all star and 2002 Stanley Cup champion.
Brian Leetch - Another great American player, Brian Leetch was once called "the greatest New York Ranger" by none other than Mark Messier. Mess would know, because he had a bird's eye view as Leetch captured the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994. Leetch, who also won the Calder and two Norris trophies, is the 7th highest scoring defenseman in NHL history.
Other first year eligible candidates include:
Alexander Mogilny - The first Russian player to defect to the NHL became one of the most electrifying players of his NHL generation. In 1992-93 he scored an amazing 76 goals in one season. His 473 career goals rank 50th all time. Chronic injuries slowed his production down in later years, hampering his Hall of Fame credentials.
Dave Andreychuk - Big Dave Andreychuk was never truly an elite player. Then again neither was Mike Gartner. But both players were extremely consistent and played so long their career numbers are hard to ignore. Andreychuk's 640 goals are 13th all time, and his 1338 points are 26th. A veteran Andreychuk also captained the Tampa Bay Stanley Cup championship team.
Other notable first year eligible players, none of whom will likely ever make it to the Hall of Fame, include Eric Desjardins, Tie Domi, Bryan Marchment, Garth Snow, Trevor Kidd, Andrew Cassels, Shawn McEacheran, Scott Young and Lyle Odelein.
There is also a long list of hold overs from previous years that are still eligible for discussion. With the strong first year class of 2009 it is almost certain all of these players will have to wait again:
Sergei Makarov - He tops my rankings amongst players waiting for inclusion. He was an incredible player, but mostly with the old Soviet teams. I doubt he'll get in any time soon, but he should.
Doug Gilmour - I'm surprised "Killer" did not get in last year with Glenn Anderson.
Adam Oates - Just a wonderful and underrated player. He should get in soon.
Pavel Bure - Electrifying player and a fan favorite, but his career was cut short. He will get in one day.
Dino Ciccarelli - 608 career goals is hard to ignore. He and Andreychuk are in the same boat, but will be waiting for a while.
Tom Barrasso - He was never well liked by media, but his career is worthy
Others whose name regularly comes up, though they have little hope, are
Goaltenders: Andy Moog, Mike Richter, Mike Vernon, Ron Hextall, John Vanbiesbrouck
Skaters: Phil Housley, Valeri Kamensky, Andrew Cassels, Brian Bellows, Brian Propp, Steve Larmer, Kevin Lowe, Pat Verbeek, Scott Young
International: Anatoli Firsov, Boris Mikhailov, Alexander Yakushev, Alexander Maltsev, Tumba Johansson, Vladimir Martinec
Do not expect any women to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. Back in March the Hall announced bylaw changes that would make it easier for women to be included in the Hall. Women will no longer have to compete against men for those four precious spots every year; they will have two possible induction slots open specifically for them. However those rule changes will not come into effect until 2010.