Now that we provided our Hall of Fame choices and the choices of media experts, let’s get to some of our favorites from the hockey blogosphere. We’ll provide a “consensus” post later on, too.
1. Ed Belfour – Eddy the Eagle has to be a shoe in, or no one else can be. Seventy-six shut out, over 1100 games played, and a Stanley Cup? If those aren’t Hall of Fame numbers, the hall should just shut down.
2. Phil Housley – The best American defenseman ever born, and second highest scoring American ever. No Cups, but he had a 97 point season from the blue line in the clutch and grab era. The consummate Norris trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom topped out at 80.
3. Hakan Loob – Mostly because he has the best hockey name ever, and that seems to be about as good as any other reason the Hall chooses someone.
4. Adam Oates – He deserves to be there because if he doesn’t go this year, I am afraid of what Yerdon might do. Also, he was a fine player with multiple 100 point seasons, topping out at 142. It makes little sense how Oates has not been inducted already. Time to right a terrible wrong.
(Pelletier’s note: There is a large log jam of Hall of Fame talent anxiously awaiting the induction announcements in 2011. With so many candidates, the biggest problem becomes the votes being split too many ways. With each inductee needing 75 percent support from the committee, it may be unlikely to see more than 2 inductees in the player category.)
1. Doug Gilmour – The hockey player’s hockey player. He has waited long enough.
2. Joe Nieuwendyk – Three words all beginning with the letter “C” best describe him: Classy, Clutch and Champion.
3. Sergei Makarov – Arguably the best Soviet player of the 1980s, and therefore top 10 player in the world in that time frame.
4. Adam Oates – Hockey’s most underrated superstar.
Honorable mentions: Ed Belfour and Eric Lindros.
1. Doug Gilmour – Great leader and was able to adapt his style from high scorer into a grind guy
2. Eric Lindros – Despite the injuries, he redefined the role of a big forward in the NHL
3. Phil Housley – Always a solid defenseman with his teams, but could be handcuffed by his plus/minus stats
4. Ed Belfour – Most wins of eligible goalies and one of the best NHL goalies to come from the NCAA ranks.
True Blue going all Red…
1. Boris Mikhailov – Russia’s Phil Esposito has been overlooked for far, far too long.
2. Sergei Makarov – Another oversight by the xenophobic selection committee, Soviet star won 13 golds internationally. Everyone talks about the transition to the NHL game and yet he stepped in and won the Calder with ease.
3. Pavel Bure – Mike Bossy and Cam Neely made it despite injury-shortened careers, Bure should too.
4. Alex Mogilny – Six time All Star, member of the Triple Gold Club,including playoffs played 1,114 games and had 1,118 points.
The Hockey Writers
1. Joe Nieuwendyk – His name is on the Stanley cup three times and took home the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP not to mention that he held nearly a point per game average during his NHL career.
2. Adam Oates – Probably one of the most overlooked players for the HHOF because he never won the Stanley Cup. Has the most points (1420) of any eligible HHOF ballot members. After coming so close to winning so many different awards (Stanley Cup, Lady Byng, etc) isn’t it just time we let Oates be the bride and not a bridesmaid?
3. Alexander Mogilny – The original – alright, so he is not historically the first but we are talking hockey here – Alexander the Great. A Triple Gold Club (Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, and a World Championship gold medal) member that just needs his Hockey Hall of Fame induction to complete his collection.
4. Mike Vernon – He still holds the Calgary Flames’ goaltending records. After years of battling it out with rival (Hall of Famer) Patrick Roy between the pipes, he finally pummeled him at center ice at Joe Louis Arena in a night known simply as “Fight Night at the Joe” on March 26, 1997. He finished that game with his 300th NHL victory before backstopping the Detroit Red Wings to their first cup since 1955 along with receiving the Conn Smythe Trophy.
1. Adam Oates – A 6-time Lady Byng finalist. Voters snub him because he’s too nice to raise a fuss.
2. Ed Belfour – Because he will burn the HHOF to the ground if he’s not in.
3. Boris Mikhailov – Just so we can revisit all Herb Brooks’ “Stan Laurel” jokes.
4. Rick Middleton – So we can torture Ranger fans a little more …
1. Pat Burns – There’s no way he’s not getting in this year. It should have happened last year. He’s one of the best coaches in the league’s history.
2. Doug Gilmour – He racked up over 1,400 points and was a complete player. He’ll eventually get into the Hall.
3. Ed Belfour – “The Eagle” won almost 500 games, won 2 Vezina’s and captured a Cup with Dallas. It’s only a matter of time for him, as well.
4. Joe Nieuwendyk – The current Stars GM won 3 Stanley Cups in his career and had 1,126 points in his long career. He is definitely HOF worthy.