It seems like there is a weird MVP voting quirk almost every year in nearly every sport. Sometimes those moments are amusing, such as a beat writer choosing a fringe player on the team he or she covers to make a “statement.” Rarely – but on occasion – there’s a tinge of something a little bit more sinister; one writer leaving Jarome Iginla off of his 2002 Hart Trophy list altogether the year Jose Theodore narrowly won it will always bother me.
The thing is, even if awards tend to be ceremonial and occasionally downright silly, they do affect people. Writers and hockey nuts will often bring up Norris Trophy victories to judge defensemen and so on. When you vote on something that’s fairly meaningful, I think that the public should know if you’re clearly falling victim to petty, biased thoughts.
This all leads up to an argument made my Joe Pelletier that I cannot agree with enough; the Hockey Hall of Fame should make their voting public. Doing so would allow the committee to be held accountable for its choices, which in the case of ailing former coach Pat Burns, could give the hockey public more of an idea of why these decisions were made. Pelletier brings up this point while discussing the holding pattern Dino Ciccarelli found himself before he finally made it into the Hall of Fame yesterday.
I do not disagree with Ciccarelli’s wait. He was very good for a long time. To me that does not equal greatness, even if he did score over 600 goals. I continue to have trouble with longevity vs. dominance.
But I think the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee took it upon themselves to punish him for some off-ice transgressions that the plagued his career far too long. They knew they couldn’t keep him out forever, not with those lofty goal totals, but they made sure he had to wait.
What is even worse than the committee’s almighty attitude is they never have to answer for their own actions. Voting results are not released. Some voting consistency is badly needed, and a line needs to be established. Transparency will provide that.
The Hall of Fame does not release voting results, saying that they don’t want to hurt or embarrass the players who do not make the cut. But this would make the Hall more accountable. Right now the rather anonymous Hall of Fame selection committee (admit it, you can’t name more than a couple of guys in that room) are hockey insiders. Voting guidelines are even vaguer. The Hall comes across as, at best, an old boys network or, at worst, holier than thou.
It seems doubtful that the HHOF would open up its process like that … mainly because they would see little benefit (and plenty of extra criticism). That doesn’t change the fact it would be the right thing to do, though.