Somewhat quietly by comparison there is another exciting event sneaking up on hockey's calendar of events. The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee will be meeting to decide and announce the class of 2010 on June 22nd, although the actual induction will not take place until November.
The 2010 debate is the most interesting in years. For the first time in years there is no slam dunk first year candidates. The first-time eligible players likely to garner votes include:
Of the newly eligible players, I would say Joe Nieuwendyk is the most likely to be inducted. I think Eric Lindros also deserves inclusion, but I'm far from certain either will make it on their first try. The Hall has a recent history of making non-slam dunk candidates wait. Are any of this year's newly eligible any better than these holdovers from recent years:
- Theo Fleury
- Doug Gilmour
- Adam Oates
- Sergei Makarov
- Guy Carbonneau
- Pavel Bure
- Dino Ciccarelli
- Tom Barrasso
- Pat Verbeek
- Mike Richter
- Alexander Mogilny
- Dave Andreychuk
- Phil Housley
If I had to hazard a guess as to who the Hall of Fame will call in 2010, I would probably go with Gilmour, Oates and Bure. I suspect they will make Mr. Lindros wait, although I disagree with that.
If I had voting power, I would probably go a little differently. I believe there are at least 7 Hall of Famers in the players mentioned above. If I had a say I would probably vote for Lindros, Bure, Oates and Makarov. I know my Makarov vote would be wasted amongst this selection committee. In the interest of clearing the logjam I could be persuaded to move Nieuwendyk up to the 4th position.
Who do you think should make the grade? You tell me. I have a poll running on the right side column. You can leave comments, vote in the poll on the right side bar, join me in conversation on Twitter @HockeyLegends, or email me at email@example.com.
Long list, but who are really really HOF worthy? None I guess...
Time to induct old forgotten guns like JC Tremblay...
The problem is none really jump off the page. A lot of guys that are very close could split votes.
I would still pick The Russian Rocket. But its razor thin close.
Having been lucky enough to see Pavel Bure in action in person as well as on TV, I can say that one of sport's most time-honoured cliches applies to Bure as to very few others: "Every time he touches the puck he pulls the fans out of their seats."
I'll never forget sitting five rows up midway between the blueline and the goal line and seeing a puck bounce off the boards and land flat about a foot on the goal line side of the faceoff dot. Bure was on the boards just at the hashmark. He took one stride and snapped the puck as it landed over the goalie's left shoulder into the 1" by 3" space that wasn't covered just where the crossbar and post meets. The best word to describe the shot was "zing". They called him the Russian Rocket for his blazing speed, likewise "Blure", but his wristshot was rocket blur as well.
In the long list of players whose career ended way to soon, Bure should be near the top.
HOF worthy? To me, yes. The skill he displayed at an amazing speed was a rare thing.
Cough, Cough, Rogie Vachon!
Adam Oates would be a top pick in the recent group. His inability to win a Cup is why he's been held back in a sea of very good, and more deserving, candidates in recent years.
Here's the list of rules, attributions, voting procedures etc . . .
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