by PuckStopsHere on 06/23/14 at 08:31 PM ET
Today the 2014 class for the Hockey Hall of Fame was announced. Four players in Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano were inducted. This is the maximum number of players that can be inducted in any given year. There are several more players who are deserving of Hall of Fame induction and will have to wait until next year or beyond. I predicted that Mark Recchi would join Forsberg, Hasek and Modano in a group of first year inductees. Recchi did not get called this year - though he likely will soon. Rob Blake takes his place. I cannot argue with any of these player choices. They along with several others belong in the Hall of Fame.
Referee Bill McCreary was also inducted today. While it is hard to see referees on the same level as the best players in hockey history, McCreary belongs in the Hall if referees are inducted. I think it might be more meaningful to induct referees on the level that media inductees are selected and not make them full-fledged inductees.
Pat Burns was the final inductee as a builder. I take the unpopular position that he shouldn't have been inducted.
I argue that Pat Burns was clearly on a Hall of Fame track but never got there because he got sick and eventually died. His death increases his Hall of Fame chances as people want to give an honor because of his untimely death. Had Burns faded away and not died I think he would have gone down in history alongside people like Mike Keenan or Jacques Demers. He would be remembered as a good coach but not a Hall of Fame level coach. It is his death that raises him to level of Hall of Famer. I do not support a player being inducted into the Hall because he died, when he might not have been inducted if he lived and faded away. Had he lived and continued to be a top coach, Burns would have been a Hall of Famer someday but I don't think his record raises him above other good coaches who are not Hall of Famers.
In the days to come, I will lay out the Hall of Fame cases of the four player inductees using the Keltner List.
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