2011 Hockey Hall of Fame

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Mark Howe’s fitting tribute to his father Gordie

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Mark Howe lived in the shadow of his famous father Gordie … until he turned out to be an excellent professional in his own right. His inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame should make that perfectly clear.

That doesn’t mean Mark didn’t appreciate the hockey legend’s presence in his life and he made that clear in his speech, as he donned Gordie’s iconic Detroit Red Wings number nine jersey. (View his full speech here.)

That was arguably the most memorable moment of the night, but you might want to check out the other three inductees’ speeches. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Ed Belfour:

Doug Gilmour:

Joe Nieuwendyk:

2011 Hockey Hall of Famers try on their rings

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Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk joined the greatest players of all-time in the Hockey Hall of Fame this afternoon. Check out video of their ring ceremony, which includes some interesting reflections from all four inductees – plus Mark’s famous dad. (My pick for the most interesting bit: Nieuwendyk’s true love was lacrosse. Hockey history would be a little different if he didn’t opt for the NHL, eh?)

Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk are 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

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The 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. Keep in mind a few things before perusing this year’s additions.

An inductee must be on 75 percent of the voters’ ballots to be inducted. A maximum of four male players and two female players can be inducted while any combination of two builders/referees/executives can be inducted each year. The induction ceremony will take place on November 19.

The 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees (all players, no builders): Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk.

Belfour, Gilmour and Nieuwendyk were probably the most obvious inclusions while Howe’s induction has been a long time coming. While last year’s Hall of Fame class was full of surprises, this year’s edition is much more predictable (even if many will complain about the choices anyway). One can see the consensus from those picks by looking at Belfour, Gilmour and Nieuwendyk’s domination of our own informal poll of PHT staff, media experts and hockey bloggers.

Adam Oates was the only player in the top four of our poll who didn’t make it this afternoon (somewhere PHT’s own Joe Yerdon might be stewing). We’ll provide the requisite sounding board for snub talk later on, but let’s take a quick snapshot of these players’ careers first.

Ed Belfour – “Eddie the Eagle” wasn’t even drafted into the NHL, yet he ended up being a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His numbers are impeccable: one Stanley Cup, two Vezina Trophies, 484 regular season wins (third all-time) and 88 more in the playoffs. Belfour was one of the best goalies of his generation, making him a worthy addition to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Doug Gilmour – While Belfour wasn’t even drafted, Gilmour languished until the seventh round of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to notch almost a point per game by scoring an outstanding 1,414 points in 1,474 regular season games, but his playoff production was even more impressive. Gilmour is tied with Joe Sakic for seventh all-time in postseason scoring with a staggering 188 playoff points in 182 games. He probably would have made it into the HHOF based on his scoring prowess alone, but Gilmour also earned rave reviews for his “intangibles” and was a well-rounded player, earning the 1992-93 Selke Trophy.

Mark Howe – While the other three nominees didn’t wait long to make it to the Hall of Fame, Howe probably wondered if his day would ever come; his first year of eligibility was 1998. The wait is over for Mark to join his famous father Gordie in the Hall, though. The blueliner was a Norris Trophy runner-up three times (according to TSN) and put up some great offensive numbers for a defenseman. Howe scored 742 points in 929 regular season games and 61 in 101 postseason games in his NHL career. He also was prolific in the WHA, scoring 504 points in 426 regular season games and 92 points in 75 playoff games in that wild and woolly league.

Joe Nieuwendyk – Nieuwendyk put up some great individual numbers (1,126 points in 1,257 regular season games; 116 in 158 playoff games), but his team-based successes and “intangibles” were what helped him get into the Hall of Fame. He won three Stanley Cups: one with Calgary, one with Dallas and one with New Jersey. Nieuwendyk won the 1988-89 Conn Smythe Trophy after leading the Flames to that precious championship victory and showed the kind of intelligence and winning attitude that helped him ascend to the level of Dallas Stars general manager in little time.

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Again, there will be some serious debate about who should and should not have been inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame. That being said, the hockey world should take a step back for a moment and give these four players their well-earned praise. They stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greatest hockey players of all-time after today’s announcements.

Belfour, Nieuwendyk, Gilmour and Oates generate most votes in 2011 PHT Hall of Fame voting

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There were plenty of interesting names (including a few outliers, such as Hakan Loob, Mike Vernon and Rogie Vachon) who received would-be votes in PHT’s 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame polls, but four players stood above the rest. Goalie Ed Belfour and forwards Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour and Adam Oates received the most votes among PHT staffers, hockey bloggers and media experts.

Naturally, our votes won’t count toward the actual 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, but it’s still an interesting experiment in public opinion. Here are the voting results. (Four finalists in bold.)

Ed Belfour – 9 votes
Joe Nieuwendyk – 8 votes
Doug Gilmour – 7 votes
Adam Oates – 6 votes
Pat Burns, Phil Housley, Boris Mikhailov, Pavel Bure and Dave Andreychuk – 3 votes
Eric Lindros, Sergei Makarov, Rick Middleton and Alex Mogilny – 2 votes
Hakan Loob, Mike Vernon, Rogie Vachon, Fred Shero, Pat Verbeek – 1 vote

As you can see, the top four achieved something close to consensus while there were some interesting “fringe” candidates at the bottom of the order. If you’re wondering who will actually be inducted this afternoon, stick with PHT for that update.

Hockey bloggers share their 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame ‘ballots’

HHOF

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.

Bryan Reynolds
http://www.hockeywilderness.com

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.

Joe Pelletier
http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com/

(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.

Scotty Wazz
http://www.faceoffhockeyshow.com

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.

Scotty Hockey
http://www.scottyhockey.com

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.

Monica McAlister
The Hockey Writers
http://octopusthrower.com/

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.

Forklift
hockeenight.com

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 …

Ryan Porth
http://www.rldhockey.net/

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.