Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: hof
We’re very pleased to welcome Phil Coffey—well-known to many in the hockey world—as a guest blogger at Kukla’s Korner.
Sight unseen, would you consider a player with three Stanley Cup championships and two Olympic medals worthy of a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame?
Perhaps, but you need more info to make the correct decision. After all, it is possible that a player with those credentials might well be a depth player who was truly fortunate to go along for the ride.
Brian Rafalski never was a bit player during what was a tremendous—if unlikely—NHL career. Rafalski ranks as one of the top American players ever to have laced on skates. A strong, puck-moving defenseman with uncanny instincts and a work ethic to match, In a word, Rafalski was great to watch.
But at age 37, Rafalski retired Tuesday after helping the Detroit Red Wings to the 2008 Stanley Cup and a return trip to the finals in 2009. He also appeared in three finals with the New Jersey Devils, winning in 2000 and 2003.
And let’s not forget the two silver medals earned at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics for Team USA.
Not bad for a player who was never drafted. Yep, 30 clubs could not find a reason to draft Rafalski back in the day, forcing the defenseman on a European vacation of sorts to prove himself worthy of a North American career.