June 27, 2016

Quinn, Lindros, Makarov and Vachon Named To HHOF

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced on Monday the induction class of 2016.

Hopefully they offered apology speeches to the players and families, as all four nominees were long overdue for such recognition.

Headlining the class of 2016 is the late Pat Quinn. Inducted as a builder, he was a giant of the hockey world, both figuratively and literally. His coaching and managing resume through several eras is impressive and his legacy continues to be felt wherever he left, especially in Vancouver. The only reason he was not inducted already had to be because of his high ranking position with the Hockey Hall of Fame prior to falling ill. I suspect the Hall waited until 2016 to induct him out of respect to his grieving family.

The Hall announced three additions to the player's category.

Eric Lindros was always a controversial player, though in hindsight many of us are guilty of not respecting him. His contract demands made him despised back in the 1990s, but many are accepted commonplace nowadays. And the way we dismissed his concussion problems is almost shameful. We know a lot better now. When healthy Lindros was the best player of his generation, and it is on the ice that we only should be allowed to judge him. His inclusion is long overdue. As history continues to evolve he may be best remembered as a tragic figure. His

Sergei Makarov was an amazing talent out of Soviet Russia that, like a few of countrymen, should be included in the Hall of Fame regardless of anything he did in his NHL career. He came to the NHL late in his career and, even though he was one of the best of the original wave of Soviet stars to play in the league, was a shadow of his former self. But in the 1980s he was easily one of the top 10 players in the world, perhaps even top five. Many will say he was the best player in Soviet hockey in the 1980s.  Hopefully the Hall includes a few more of his countrymen in coming years.

Rogie Vachon was perhaps the biggest surprise. The popular goalie from the 1970s has waited seemingly forever, last playing in 1982. Though I was comfortable with the high bar set for goaltenders entering the Hall of Fame, there was always plenty of clamoring for Rogie's inclusion every year. Perhaps we will see the Hall of Fame consider more goalies from the past like Tom Barrasso, Curtis Joseph and Mike Richter.

By electing three skaters the Hall of Fame continued to ignore some interesting talent, as they can vote in a maximum of four players. Dave Andreychuk, Theo Fleury, Alexander Mogilny, Mark Recchi, Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk all wait, rightly or wrongly.

Also ignored was the women's category, with no women voted in. Again, I might add. They should have been able to pick one of Karen Bye-Dietz, Danielle Goyette, Manon Rheaume, Kim St. Pierre, Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Vicky Sunohara.

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