Monday, November 07, 2005

The Hall of Fame "Game"

The inductions into the Hockey Hall of Fame for the Class of '05 is over and done. Cam Neely and Valeri Kharlamov were inducted as players and Murray Costello was inducted as a builder of the game. In a class where there weren't many superstars in the mix made it a little easier for the Hall of Fame committee to make their decision. However, they should reveal in the fact they had an easy choice because the next couple of years should be an interesting time for the Hall of Fame committee and should be something that people on the streets and in the press will be debating and talking about for a long time to come.

For the Class of '06, the no-brainer choice is Patrick Roy-- statistically the best goalie in the history of the NHL. After that, it gets all foggy. Mike Ricther is eligible and probably will be a lock in the grand scheme of the game. Richter was the best goalie for USA Hockey in the past decade and ended the Rangers 54-year Stanley Cup drought. Doug Gilmour is eligible and could get in for '06 as well. His 1414 points and Stanley Cup ring will be something that could help him get in, but it's not always a lock. Just ask Glenn Anderson. Also eligible is Pavel Bure. Bure, who has been out of the game for 3 years and gets in under that loophole, could be a stretch for a first ballot Hall of Famer because of the injuries he sustained and could have to wait like Neely did.

Then we move to the Class of '07 with the "Fab Five": Al MacInnis, Ron Francis, Mark Messier, Igor Larionov and Scott Stevens. The sad part is that only four can get into the Hall at a time and one or two of these players could get the "snub", which will then get the media and die-hard supporters in the uproar. For my own opinion, I wouldn't be surprised to see Francis or Larionov get the snub. Francis, though a great player, was clumped in a group that really had plenty of depth forwards. The only thing that could save Larionov is the fact he had an outstanding International Career with CSKA Moscow, which many people have been vocal about since it is the HOCKEY Hall of Fame and not the NHL Hall of Fame.

On top of all this, you have the guys who have been eligible and haven't gotten the nod, despite the amazing careers they had. Players like Glenn Anderson, Dino Ciccarelli, Paul Henderson, Rogie Vachon, Ron Hextall, Kevin Lowe, Steve Larmer, Brian Propp, Dale Hunter, and the list goes on and on. There are so many greats who don't get the "props" they deserve and may never get those "props" until they have gone to the great rink in the sky.

Yet, that's not the only thing the HHOF has to worry about, you have International Players who never saw the NHL ice, like Kharlamov, but are more than deserving an induction into the Hall of Fame. Then, even on top of that is the uproar of allowing those from the Women's game into the Hockey Hall of Fame as some have been overlooked for their contribution to the game in the past and some who have helped to build the game to the state it is at now. I don't evny the HOF committee at all.

Of course, people have said that the Hall should expand their inductee from four to five or six in order to appease everyone. That's not always the case, because that would do a disservice to all of those who could have been the fifth or sixth entry and wouldn't have to wait longer. The number of nominee is fine and shouldn't be messed with.

The bottom line to all of this is what did the player or builder have to contribute to the game of hockey. Since it is the HOCKEY Hall of Fame, that should be the only basis to pass the first part of the unwritten test. Then you move onto how they matched up to those in their era and how they changed the face of the game. That's really all that should matter. Whether it be in the NHL, WHA, Swedish Elite League, Russian Superleague, International Play or any facet of Women's Hockey; it should be all about how you contributed to the game itself. Maybe that's one thing that the Hall of Fame committee has overlooked, but they should be looking to get the best players from all the eras and all the leagues into the Hall of Fame and not just those who excelled in the NHL.

This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!

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