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?

The Buzzer: Ovechkin’s blast lifts Capitals in OT, Sheary speeds by Panthers

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Player of the night: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin has already reached double digits in goals scored in this new campaign. The Capitals’ star recorded his 10th goal of the season on Friday and it counted as the overtime winner against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Capitals trailed late in the third period, but T.J. Oshie scored the tying goal and Ovechkin won it on a power play less than two minutes into the extra period, as he deployed that famous one-timer slap shot from his off-wing. This time, Petr Mrazek was victimized by the wicked slapper.

Ovechkin is now only two goals behind the entire Montreal Canadiens team — in the same amount of games.

Highlight of the night:

What a weapon speed is in today’s National Hockey League. Conor Sheary illustrated that once again, as he saw a little bit of room down the left side and flew around Alex Petrovic before making a move to the backhand on James Reimer. That goal counted as the eventual winner, as the Penguins defeated the Panthers 4-3. Earlier in the third period, Sheary and Roberto Luongo came together near the Florida net, causing Luongo’s right hand to get caught against the post, injuring the Panthers’ netminder.

Factoid of the night:

It was a milestone night in Winnipeg for Blake Wheeler and coach Paul Maurice.

Scores:

Vancouver 4, Buffalo 2

San Jose 3, New Jersey 0

Washington 4, Detroit 3 (OT)

Pittsburgh 4, Florida 3

Winnipeg 4, Minnesota 3

Anaheim 6, Montreal 2

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Video: Price takes out his frustration, as the Habs were crushed again

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It’s gone from bad, to worse, to an absolute nightmare for the Montreal Canadiens.

A three-game trip through California is never fun for opposing teams, but this was misery for the Habs. They were outscored a combined 16-5 in three games against the Sharks, Kings and Ducks, with few, if any positives beyond the second period in a 6-2 loss in Anaheim on Friday.

Montreal hasn’t won since its season opener on Oct. 5, and is now on a seven-game losing skid, unable to generate much offensively with a league worst 10 goals scored through seven games before tonight, while giving up plenty of goals at the other end.

That is a recipe for disaster and even though it’s still early in the season, this has to be a major concern for coach Claude Julien and, in particular, general manager Marc Bergevin.

Read more: Is there a trade to be made between the Penguins and Canadiens?

Down by three after the first period, Montreal had 30 shots on goal during the middle frame and managed to trim Anaheim’s lead down to one heading into the third period. And then, just when it seemed like maybe they were on a path toward an inspirational comeback on the road, it all fell apart.

Three straight goals for Anaheim, with journeyman forward Derek Grant scoring the first two goals of his NHL career — in game No. 93.

As you can probably tell from the clip below, Carey Price was visibly irritated, as he whacked his goalie stick against the post after the sixth Anaheim goal.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Canucks defeat the Sabres, as the losing continues in Buffalo

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The Buffalo Sabres remain stuck on just a single win to begin the season. Jack Eichel is sick of losing, but the losing continues.

Returning home from a four-game road trip out west, the Sabres had an opportunity ahead of them to get back into the win column. The Vancouver Canucks, hardly a powerhouse in any way, were in town. They had played — and lost — the night before in Boston. And then the Sabres went out and were thoroughly outplayed in a 4-2 loss that, one could argue, flattered the hosts.

They weren’t able to take advantage of an early lead after Justin Bailey was allowed access to the net off the rush. They couldn’t hold the lead after Eichel dangled Ben Hutton and then scored on a shot Jacob Markstrom should’ve stopped. They gave up yet another short-handed goal, putting that number at six for the Sabres just eight games into the season.

Instead, Buffalo spent most of the night in its own end, giving up 37 shots through two periods. Hard to pin this, in any way, on goalie Chad Johnson.

“First of all, I thought we didn’t defend well and close quick enough in our defensive zone. We were a little bit slow there tonight. We need to be more aggressive and on the puck,” said head coach Phil Housley after the game.

While the Sabres were badly outplayed, one of the deciding moments in this game was a controversial video review in the second period. Vancouver took the lead on a goal from Daniel Sedin, although Housley challenged for a potential offside after it looked like Jake Virtanen didn’t have control of the puck as he entered the zone.

The linesmen looked over the play for a lengthy review before officials came to the conclusion that Virtanen did have control of the puck as he broke in over the blue line. The goal stood and the Canucks controlled the remainder of the game.

“I disagree with the call, totally,” said Housley. “In my opinion, he knocks the puck out of the air. He never has possession.

“But I call that 10 out of 10 times offside and I would continue to challenge that again.”

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Roberto Luongo leaves game with apparent injury, as Panthers fall to Penguins

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The Florida Panthers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. Making matters worse was the fact their goalie Roberto Luongo left the game in the third period with an apparent hand injury.

The injury occurred after a collision in the crease with Penguins forward Conor Sheary.

Luongo immediately went down to the ice in pain. A replay from above the net showed Luongo’s right hand getting caught in an awkward position against the post after coming into contact with Sheary as he cut through in front of the crease in pursuit of the puck.

The injury forced James Reimer off the bench and into the game with the Panthers trailing by a goal. MacKenzie Weegar tied the game for Florida before Sheary scored the eventual winner about eight minutes later, on a night when the Penguins fired 48 shots on the two Panthers goalies.

Luongo gave up three goals on 36 shots before leaving the game. The Panthers now head out on the road. They’ll visit the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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