The PHT staff reveals their 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame choices

No one at Pro Hockey Talk has been given the honor of voting for the Hockey Hall of Fame, but with the induction announcements set for this afternoon, we decided to share the four choices we would make if we had that power. Feel free to share your own in the comments.

You can also find out who experts such as Mike Milbury and Keith Jones would pick by clicking here.

Joe Yerdon’s picks

1. Joe Nieuwendyk

2. Dave Andreychuk

3. Adam Oates

4. Doug Gilmour

With the load of sure-thing first ballot type Hall of Famers due to arrive in the coming years, this is the best chance for those who should be in the Hall of Fame to get their shot at making it in now. These four players should already be in the Hall of Fame and thanks to the foolish stipulations for how the vote has to go and the limits on the number of inductees, we’re looking at a log jam. Every one of these four have no-brainer accolades.

Joe Nieuwendyk was the perfect all-around player on numerous Stanley Cup winners. Dave Andreychuk scored 640 goals and led the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Cup. Adam Oates is the highest scoring player not in the Hall of Fame (16th all-time) and is sixth all time in assists. Doug Gilmour was a tenacious two-way player, a clutch playoff performer, and the second highest scoring player not in the Hall (17th all-time). You could nit-pick and argue about any of these guys, but they’re Hall of Famers each and every one. It’s not about arguing one guy against another as far as my ballot’s concerned, for these four it’s about getting those in who are well overdue.

James O’Brien’s picks

1. Ed Belfour – Eddie the Eagle was one of the best goalies of his generation. Belfour won two Vezina Trophies, one Stanley Cup and sits at third place all-time in wins. He also earned my personal award of “most regrettable use of a FUBU jersey.”

2. Eric Lindros – I generally value high-level impact more than impressive consistency. This isn’t the Hall of Longevity or Friendliness after all; it’s the Hall of Fame. Injuries derailed Lindros’ career but his individual numbers compare favorably to Peter Forsberg’s and he made a, well, Lindros-sized impact on the game. Put him in the “Jerks” section if you must, but he deserves to be in there.

3. Pavel BureMy old comparison still holds: Bure was the Dominique Wilkins of hockey, a human highlight reel on skates. Bure is sixth all time in goals scored per game (.62) and averaged more than a point per game but those numbers don’t do the dazzling Russian justice. Just watch his highlights.

4. Doug Gilmour – Gilmour’s 1,414 regular season points will attract a lot of voters, but I’m most impressed by his 188 points in 182 career playoff games, tying him for seventh all-time with Joe Sakic. Gilmour was also strong defensively, winning the 1992-93 Selke.

Honorable mentions: Boris Mikhailov, Sergei Makarov, Adam Oates and Joe Nieuwendyk.

Matt Reitz’s picks

1. Ed Belfour – In an era when NHL teams had to have great goaltending to be successful, he was one of the best.  He led his team to the Stanley Cup in 1999 and made it to the Finals on two other occasions.  He’s 3rd all-time in wins (484) and 9th all-time in shutouts (76).

2. Joe Nieuwendyk – The points are nice, but he was both a winner AND a leader just about everywhere he went.  He ended his career with 564 goals, a Conn Smyth Trophy, and three Stanley Cups.  The better question: Why didn’t he make it on his first ballot?

3. Adam Oates – One of the best passers in the history of the game.  Everyone assumes that Brett Hull made him look good, but I have a feeling that Hull benefited a bit from having those one-timers set on a tee from Oates.

4. Rogie Vachon – One of the best goaltenders in the 1970s, Vachon won three Cups and a Vezina with the Habs.  He’s the best goaltender in the history of the NHL who is NOT in the Hall.

Honorary mention – Doug Gilmour:  He was a gritty two-way guy who every coach would have killed for, he was a GREAT leader on the ice, AND he put up HoF type numbers.  Is there a good case AGAINST Gilmour?

Holtby ‘wasn’t as sharp as he can be,’ says Trotz

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Presidents’ Trophy winners once again in the regular season, the Capitals once again face an uphill climb if they are to advance beyond the rival Penguins and the second round of the playoffs.

What began with a strong first period for the Capitals in Game 2, albeit without a reward on the score board, faded into a frustrating 6-2 rout, as the Penguins took a commanding 2-0 series lead as it shifts back to Pittsburgh for a pivotal Game 3 on Monday.

Braden Holtby was pulled after the second period. He gave up three goals on 14 shots, while his opponent at the other end, Marc-Andre Fleury was brilliant with 34 saves.

“He’ll tell you that he can be better. He’s a straight up guy and he will be. I was just trying to change the mojo,” said Capitals coach Barry Trotz of his decision to sit Holtby.

“I thought some of the goals, he wasn’t as sharp as he can be for us. He’s a game-changer for us. So when he didn’t change the game, I just looked to change the mojo a little bit there. That’s all. Braden’s our backbone. He has been all year. We’ve got to find some goals for him, too. We can’t just put it on Braden Holtby.”

Now in a deep but not insurmountable hole against the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Capitals reportedly held a players’ only meeting following this latest defeat.

After failing to open the scoring in an otherwise dominant first period, Washington surrendered three goals in the second, as the Penguins broke it wide open with their transition game, led by two great plays from Sidney Crosby.

“We can’t get frustrated. I think that would be our biggest mistake is to get frustrated right now,” said T.J. Oshie, before expanding on the meeting between the players.

“It was things that people need to say and things that some people need to hear. We were very together with what we said. I don’t need to go into details. Sometimes in our game … you need to hear from your teammates more than your coach. And tonight was one of those nights.

“It was the players in here and what was said is what needed to be said.”

We’ll find out Monday if what was said actually has any impact on the ice.

Penguins rout Capitals to take commanding series lead

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The Washington Capitals are in trouble. Against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Again.

Despite a dominant first period, at least in terms of shots on Marc-Andre Fleury and puck possession, the Capitals saw this game go sideways in a hurry during the second period, on the way to a 6-2 loss to the Penguins in Game 2.

Washington is now in quite a hole, trailing its nemesis 2-0 in this second-round series.

Last year, Matt Murray stymied the Capitals. Though it’s only been two games this year, Fleury has stepped up in the absence of the injured Murray and given the Penguins solid goaltending and frustrated a dangerous Capitals lineup.

After withstanding the storm of pressure from the Capitals in the first period, the Penguins broke this game open with a trio of second-period goals. It started with a shorthanded goal from Matt Cullen, and later continued with a beautiful goal from Phil Kessel and then Jake Guentzel‘s sixth goal of these playoffs.

That led Barry Trotz to take Braden Holtby out of the game, after he gave up three goals on 14 shots, putting in Phillip Grubauer to begin the third period. The Penguins continued the onslaught.

For the Penguins, there are some injury concerns to keep an eye on.

Patric Hornqvist left the game in the first period after blocking a shot around his foot or ankle. He didn’t return. Ron Hainsey had to go to the locker room late in the third period after taking an Alex Ovechkin shot up around the head.

Game 3 goes Monday in Pittsburgh.

‘I wasn’t good enough,’ says Lundqvist after double OT loss to Senators

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The task wasn’t impossible, but certainly daunting.

The Ottawa Senators needed five goals on Henrik Lundqvist just to send Game 2 into overtime.

The Rangers goalie had been spectacular for most of this post-season entering Saturday’s contest, but the Senators, led by a sensational four-goal performance from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, found a way to break through for a 6-5 double overtime win to take a 2-0 series lead against New York.

They did so on just 34 shots through almost 83 minutes against Lundqvist.

“I wasn’t good enough,” said Lundqvist, per the New York Daily News. “Coming up with the extra save there in the end, that’s my job. Even though it’s tough plays on deflections, I’ve got to find a way.”

On three occasions, the Rangers held a two-goal lead. That includes with under five minutes remaining in regulation. They even had a pair of shorthanded goals. But they couldn’t hang on, as Pageau scored twice in the final 3:19 of regulation to record his hat trick.

That set the stage for the eventual winner, as he beat Lundqvist over the left shoulder with a shot from his off-wing on a two-on-one rush.

With the Senators in control, the series returns to New York for Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Thursday.

“We played well enough to win this game, there’s no question about it,” said Lundqvist. “It’s really tough to lose this one. Clearly they’ve gotten the bounces here in the first two games.”

Capitals’ Holtby begins third period on the bench, Grubauer takes over in net

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Braden Holtby began the third period of Saturday’s Game 2 on the bench, giving way to Philipp Grubauer.

The Washington Capitals fell behind the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 after two periods, with Holtby allowing three goals on just 14 shots. It will be interesting to hear the reason for this decision from coach Barry Trotz following the game.

The Capitals had dominated on the shot clock, but gave up a pair of quick goals to fall further behind Pittsburgh in this game, while trailing in the series 1-0.

Phil Kessel — on a great play from Sidney Crosby — and Jake Guentzel scored 3:10 apart to give Pittsburgh a two-goal lead.