Fair or not, Hockey Hall of Fame voters value players who won Stanley Cups in their hockey careers.
Brendan Shanahan brought plenty to the table with eight All-Star appearances, 656 goals and 1,354 points in his distinguished career, but he acknowledged that winning three championships with the Detroit Red Wings was a big difference-maker, as NHL.com reports.
“It was just the right fit,” Shanahan said. “They had not won the Cup in several decades. They had been close. At the time that’s all I wanted to do. I think you mature a bit as a player, you want to get yourself established, get yourself to feel like you belong, and then all of a sudden you start realizing how hard it is and how difficult it is to win a Cup and you become obsessed with it. I was lucky at that point in my career to join a team that was obsessed with it and a group of guys that were also obsessed with it, and were also talented enough to be a legitimate contender. I know I wouldn’t be on this call today if it weren’t for my time in Detroit.”
That point is debatable (managing to score 600+ goals and more than 1,000 points while putting up a hearty 2,489 PIM will turn plenty of heads), but perhaps his high-level successes expedited the process.