Aside from Dino Ciccarelli, the 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees were a bit of a surprise to the PHT staff and hockey blogosphere as a whole. In case you don’t remember, the real-life inductees included Ciccarelli, Cammi Granato and Angela James as players along with Jimmy Devellano and Daryl “Doc” Seaman as team-builders. Contrast that list with the one we came up with by combining our choices with 10 respected hockey bloggers: we chose Ciccarelli, Joe Nieuwendyk, Adam Oates and Doug Gilmour.
Ciccarelli earned widespread acclaim for his attitude (Pat Verbeek might have been the “Little Ball of Hate” but Ciccarelli would have earned that nickname too) and his impressive 608-goal career.
Well, now that Ciccarelli is about to enter the Hall of Fame, the scrappy goal scorer admits that his total goals might be one or two lower. Apparently he took credit for a couple goals scored by his former teammate Ron Wilson, according to a story in the Globe and Mail.
“He stole a couple of goals I scored,” Wilson explained. “I know it. … That’s the days before you had replay, you know? And you’re arguing, you shot from the point and the guy’s not within 15 feet and he’s saying, `that went off my stick.“’
During his playing days, Ciccarelli could often be found battling in front of the net. Listed generously at five-foot-10, the native of Sarnia, Ont., was willing to do just about anything to score.
Sometimes he would do anything to bolster his stats, too. All kidding aside, Ciccarelli earned the respect of Wilson and many others by playing way over his not-so-tall head.
The story details the bonds formed between two groups entering the 2010 HOF: Ciccarelli and team-builder Devellano comprise one while James and Granato share memories both as rivals and as champions (literally and figuratively) of women’s hockey.
Devellano can tease Ciccarelli a bit about a decision he made that was very much out of Ciccarelli’s hands.
Devellano has spent nearly 30 years working as an executive for the Detroit Red Wings. One of his first moves as general manager was drafting Steve Yzerman with the fourth overall pick in 1983 — a surprise to Ciccarelli at the time because he thought the North Stars intended to take Yzerman with the No. 1 selection (they drafted Brian Lawton instead).
“If that happened, maybe the North Stars wouldn’t have ended up in Dallas,” said Devellano. “With you and Steve playing together, you might have saved the North Stars.”
Ouch, who knows what kind of career Ciccarelli might have enjoyed playing alongside Stevie Y? (Then again, there might have been less goals to go around.)
The James-Granato bond is more direct, as the two played against each other as respective leaders of the U.S. and Canadian women’s national hockey teams.
As they discussed the honour of becoming the first women to enter the Hall, they couldn’t help but reflect back on the first ever world women’s championship in 1990. James and the Canadian women beat Granato’s U.S. squad 5-2 in the gold medal game before a sellout crowd at Ottawa’s Civic Centre.
It was unlike anything either of them had ever seen. With the Canadian fans singing in the dying moments, Granato found herself smiling on the bench even though her team was about to lose.
“At that point, I was just so happy women’s hockey was being viewed that way,” said Granato.
While I admit that it was a bit surprising to see some of the inductees, that doesn’t mean that they lack the requisite accomplishments to justify inclusion. Congratulations to all of the inductees. We’ll have more on them tomorrow, as the group will be officially enshrined on Monday.