Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk are 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees


The 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. Keep in mind a few things before perusing this year’s additions.

An inductee must be on 75 percent of the voters’ ballots to be inducted. A maximum of four male players and two female players can be inducted while any combination of two builders/referees/executives can be inducted each year. The induction ceremony will take place on November 19.

The 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees (all players, no builders): Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk.

Belfour, Gilmour and Nieuwendyk were probably the most obvious inclusions while Howe’s induction has been a long time coming. While last year’s Hall of Fame class was full of surprises, this year’s edition is much more predictable (even if many will complain about the choices anyway). One can see the consensus from those picks by looking at Belfour, Gilmour and Nieuwendyk’s domination of our own informal poll of PHT staff, media experts and hockey bloggers.

Adam Oates was the only player in the top four of our poll who didn’t make it this afternoon (somewhere PHT’s own Joe Yerdon might be stewing). We’ll provide the requisite sounding board for snub talk later on, but let’s take a quick snapshot of these players’ careers first.

Ed Belfour – “Eddie the Eagle” wasn’t even drafted into the NHL, yet he ended up being a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His numbers are impeccable: one Stanley Cup, two Vezina Trophies, 484 regular season wins (third all-time) and 88 more in the playoffs. Belfour was one of the best goalies of his generation, making him a worthy addition to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Doug Gilmour – While Belfour wasn’t even drafted, Gilmour languished until the seventh round of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to notch almost a point per game by scoring an outstanding 1,414 points in 1,474 regular season games, but his playoff production was even more impressive. Gilmour is tied with Joe Sakic for seventh all-time in postseason scoring with a staggering 188 playoff points in 182 games. He probably would have made it into the HHOF based on his scoring prowess alone, but Gilmour also earned rave reviews for his “intangibles” and was a well-rounded player, earning the 1992-93 Selke Trophy.

Mark Howe – While the other three nominees didn’t wait long to make it to the Hall of Fame, Howe probably wondered if his day would ever come; his first year of eligibility was 1998. The wait is over for Mark to join his famous father Gordie in the Hall, though. The blueliner was a Norris Trophy runner-up three times (according to TSN) and put up some great offensive numbers for a defenseman. Howe scored 742 points in 929 regular season games and 61 in 101 postseason games in his NHL career. He also was prolific in the WHA, scoring 504 points in 426 regular season games and 92 points in 75 playoff games in that wild and woolly league.

Joe Nieuwendyk – Nieuwendyk put up some great individual numbers (1,126 points in 1,257 regular season games; 116 in 158 playoff games), but his team-based successes and “intangibles” were what helped him get into the Hall of Fame. He won three Stanley Cups: one with Calgary, one with Dallas and one with New Jersey. Nieuwendyk won the 1988-89 Conn Smythe Trophy after leading the Flames to that precious championship victory and showed the kind of intelligence and winning attitude that helped him ascend to the level of Dallas Stars general manager in little time.


Again, there will be some serious debate about who should and should not have been inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame. That being said, the hockey world should take a step back for a moment and give these four players their well-earned praise. They stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greatest hockey players of all-time after today’s announcements.

Foley aware of Seattle reports, but says Vegas is ‘proceeding as if we will play in 2017’

Gary Bettman, Bill Foley
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Bill Foley, the man behind Las Vegas’ prospective NHL expansion team, says he knows about reports claiming the league is keeping an eye on a proposed Seattle arena.

He also says he isn’t going to worry about things out of his control.

“I’m aware of what’s going on (in Seattle) but in my communication with the league, our situation isn’t dependent on third parties,” Foley said Tuesday, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We believe we’re in good shape and we’re proceeding as if we will play in 2017.”

Over the weekend, a Seattle Times piece suggested the NHL had yet to award Vegas or Quebec City an expansion franchise because the league is “avoiding any expansion decision until after an upcoming Seattle City Council vote likely to decide the fate of Chris Han­sen’s proposed Sodo District arena.”

The piece also suggested Seattle could be granted an expansion club for the 2018-19 campaign.


That vote, on granting Hansen part of Occidental Avenue South for his arena, is expected by January. No one knows how it will go, only that the lead-up should be politically charged and fiercely contested.

But passing it — future legal appeals notwithstanding — paves the way for Hansen to obtain his Master Use Permit and have his arena “shovel ready” should he choose to build.

And that means, once a vote passes, it’s entirely possible the NHL could conditionally award Seattle an expansion team.

To his credit, Foley remains solely focused on his Vegas bid — not what potential rival bids could bring to the table. And while he confirmed he has yet to be invited to the Dec. 7 NHL Board of Governor’s meeting in Pebble Beach, he re-iterated his only objective is to strengthen Sin City’s case for a hockey team.

“I’m focused on trying to find a place to build our practice facility,” he said. “I’m focused on the new arena and our fans who’ve put down deposits on season tickets.”

Report: Sabres’ Lehner (ankle) suffered minor setback in recovery

Robin Lehner
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Sabres fans hoping Robin Lehner would return early from his high ankle sprain received some tough news on Tuesday — per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Lehner suffered a “little setback” in his recovery.

Lehner was hurt in Buffalo’s opening game of the year and, originally, slated to miss 6-10 weeks. Six weeks have now passed, but optimism he’d be able to return in the earlier part of the timeframe has been dashed — LeBrun says Lehner’s projected return is now for mid-to-late December.

(So, closer to the 10-week estimate.)

While it’s not great news for the Sabres, it’s a positive development for the club’s other Swedish netminder, Linus Ullmark.

Recalled from AHL Rochester shortly after Lehner got hurt, Ullmark is on a really nice run in November — just check his last five games played:


The last Lehner update from the Sabres came in early November, when head coach Dan Bylsma told the News his goalie was “doing really well,” but “not close yet to getting back on the ice.”

Welcome Ryan Johansen to the trade rumor mill

Ryan Johansen

Well, this kind of seemed inevitable — there are now trade rumblings involving Columbus center Ryan Johansen.

This evening, TSN’s Darren Dreger revealed that teams have been calling Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen about the talented pivot, adding that one team classified Johansen as being “softly” in play.

More (transcribed from video):

“That doesn’t mean [Kekalainen] is calling teams, saying ‘what are you going to give me?’ However, when teams call, he’s not dismissing the interest. He is saying ‘well, what’s your offer?’

“What that tells you is there’s at least some interest in considering the trade of Ryan Johansen and, as we saw on the weekend, his minutes dropped, he was demoted to the fourth line — so if the right deal comes along, they’ll consider it.”

The incident Dreger referred to occurred during Sunday’s 5-3 loss to San Jose, in which head coach John Tortorealla limited Johansen to just 13:52 TOI — his lowest total of the season.

It’s the latest incident from what’s already been a tumultuous year; not long after getting hired, Tortorella told the reigning All-Star MVP he was out of shape.

Johnansen was then away from the team for a pair of games dealing with an undisclosed illness. During that absence, the Dispatch reported Johansen had been hospitalized this summer because of an accelerated heart rate.

All this, of course, came one year after an ugly contract dispute at the start of last season, during which the Jackets and Johansen’s representation engaged in a public spat before agreeing to a three-year, $12M deal.

‘John leaves a lasting mark’: NHL announces Collins’ departure as COO

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One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.

John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.

More, from the League:

Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.

“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”

Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.

“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”

Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.

During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.