Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 06/23/14 at 12:53 AM ET
The Toronto Star's Kevin McGran penned a fine summary of today's events surrounding the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2014 induction class...
When the 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are announced on Monday afternoon (TSN, 3 p.m.), it could be the first time in history that no Canadian player is on the list.
There are some obvious first-time candidates — stars who haven’t played pro in three seasons — who should be shoo-ins: American forward Mike Modano, Czech goalie Dominik Hasek and Swedish centre Peter Forsberg.
There are Canadians worthy of consideration for the first time — defenceman Adam Foote and winger Mark Recchi — and many who have been eligible before but didn’t make it: Eric Lindros, Paul Henderson, Rob Blake, Theoren Fleury, Paul Kariya and Dave Andreychuk.
At most, the hall can induct four retired male players and two females. Coaches, general managers and owners can also enter as builders. There is no limit, but it’s typically one a year.
And while McGran continues with a, "What shall we do if there are no Canadians are inducted? Is that bad for Canada" theory, the Glibe and Mail's James Mirtle suggests that the Hall's Selection Committee (whose machinations remain secret) should induct Forsberg's long-time competitor for the "most dominant forward of the late 90's" award in Eric Lindros:
[T]here would be some nice symmetry in inducting Forsberg and Lindros together. After all, they were traded for one another right in the beginning, in that blockbuster deal that gave the Philadelphia Flyers a franchise player and made the Colorado Avalanche a perennial contender, back in 1992, and they’ve been compared to one another ever since.
Their careers also overlapped right when the league began to enter its Dead Puck Era, when their size and strength combined with talent made them difference makers – and their bodies took a beating for it.
In all, Lindros managed only 760 regular-season games, or a little more than nine 82-game seasons; Forsberg played slightly more than 700, albeit with a remarkable 151 more in the postseason, where he was often at his best.
At various times, both were considered the best player in the game – even if fleetingly so – and both won a single Hart Trophy designating them so.
With Pavel Bure and Cam Neely’s inductions already setting the precedent, injuries also shouldn’t be what holds them out of hockey’s highest honour.
With so many similarities between the two, it would be only fitting if, 22 years after the trade that shook hockey, the pair go into the Hall alongside one another.
Mirtle also discusses the Canadiens' hiring of Gerard Gallant as their head coach, and the New Jersey Devils' decision to sign an advanced stats guru.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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