June 23, 2014

Hockey Hall of Fame Disappoints: Lindros, Women Should Be Honoured

Congratulations to the newest inductees to the Hockey Hall of Fame. All are worthy enshrines and there should be no debate about any of their inclusion.

There is no doubt about Dominik Hasek's immediate inclusion. I truly believe there is a great argument to be made that he was the greatest goalie ever. And I also know he had a higher peak of his career than Patrick Roy had.

Rob Blake was a dominating defender. Mike Modano was an excellent all around player who was destined to get in the Hall, though his status as the highest scoring American born player in history really cemented his immediate inclusion.

And Bill McCreary was my favorite referee. Like most fans, I don't usually pay much attention to who the referee is, but McCreary was not only a welcome and recognizable official. When he wore the stripes you knew he would allow for a fair and well played contest.

Pat Burns is nice and all, though they could have had the heart to do it while he was alive. Coaches are oddly honoured by the Hall. It seems to me there are a number of historical coaches who never got honoured, so it's good to see that wrong is being righted.

And then there's Peter Forsberg. We will get to him in just a second, but first I want to say how flabbergasted I am that yet again no female player is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. If the bar for the men's game was as high as it apparently is for the women's game, we'd have a whole lot fewer enshrinees. Maybe that's the way it should be, but in reality surely the HHOF could have found someone to honour. France St. Louis? Cassie Campbell? Danielle Goyette? Karen Bye? C'mon!

Now back to Forsberg. Absolutely Peter Forsberg belongs in the Hall of Fame, and I have no problem with his immediate inclusion. It is hockey's highest honour, and Peter Forsberg deserves it.

But really did not like was that the Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Forsberg while continuing to make Eric Lindros wait.

Lindros and Forsberg's careers are forever interconnected, of course. But Lindros, who is now made to wait for at least a 6th year of eligibility, is not only a Forsberg's ultimate comparable but arguably better.

 Here's the tale of the tape:

Hart Trophy11
Pearson Trophy01
Art Ross Trophy11
All Star32
Stanley Cup20
Olympic Gold21

There really isn't a whole lot of difference between the two. There was just 20 points difference between them. Both missed a ton of time due to their immense physical style of play which resulted deteriorating bodies betraying each of them.

And, most importantly, both flirted with being the game's most dominant player for periods of time.

The comparisons were inevitable of course. Lindros, the NHL's favorite villain, refused to report to the Quebec Nordiques and forced a trade. A trade with Philadelphia was eventually completed, headlining Forsberg, who was drafted 6 spots behind Lindros in 1991, as part of a huge package going to Quebec. From that moment on, the two men were inexorably linked.

The biggest differing point between the two is Stanley Cup championships. Forsberg and transplanted Nordiques won two while in Colorado. Lindros never did win a title, despite all of his efforts.

I think the Stanley Cup argument is a bit overblown. Yes, Forsberg was one of the greatest players in Stanley Cup history. But his three championships were aided by Joe Sakic, who some say is better than Forsberg. And then there was Patrick Roy, hailed as the greatest playoff goalie of all time. Lindros never had the supporting cast that Forsberg had.

When it comes right down to it, I say there is little to choose between Eric Lindros and Peter Forsberg. Lindros was always easy to dislike, which helps to stain his legacy. Forsberg's legacy is, in my opinion, a bit overrated if only due to the great supporting cast he enjoyed.

In reality, they had pretty equal careers, though history will suggest otherwise. Why is that? Peter Forsberg was very likeable. Eric Lindros was thoroughly disliked. But that really should not be a determining factor .

Instead, the Holier-Than-Though Hockey  Hall of Fame has missed the perfect opportunity to right and wrong and induct Eric Lindros - right along side his old nemesis Peter Forsberg.

1 comment:

Hallwings said...

They need to change the induction rules, ASAP. More people should be inducted per year, and at least one woman per year.