Daniel Alfredsson

Mogilny, others among Hockey Hall of Fame picks for Sharp, Jones

Leave a comment

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its 2020 class on Wednesday, mixing no-brainers (Jarome Iginla) with some surprises. Like clockwork, people pumped out takes about Hall of Fame “snubs.”

During the latest episode of “Our Line Starts,” Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp don’t go as far as throwing the “snub” word around.

Sharp and Jones did, however, share their future Hall of Fame picks with host Liam McHugh. You can check out the full episode at the bottom of this post, and the specific Hall of Fame clip in the video above.

[MORE: Who the PHT staff would have inducted into the 2020 HHOF]

Let’s dive into their most prominent choices:

Jones, Sharp make strongest Hall of Fame cases for Alexander Mogilny

In my opinion, the most fascinating thing about Mogilny is his legacy in defecting to play hockey in North America.

But it’s also interesting to find out “which” Mogilny people think of when you ask about the gifted winger. Maybe it’s an age thing, but as much as I enjoyed his work on other teams, my first thought is of his time with the Canucks.

(Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jones puts a lot of emphasis on Mogilny’s time with the Devils, though. Mogilny won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 1999-2000, helping defense-obsessed New Jersey with much-needed offense.

(Granted, Mogilny didn’t set the playoffs on fire, scoring two goals and seven points in 23 games during that run. His prime postseason production was impressive, though.)

Really, we should probably remember Mogilny most for his explosive days with the Sabres. After all, he became the first-ever European captain of an NHL team with Buffalo.

Hall of Fame discussions aren’t always about the concrete, however. Some of it comes down to feelings. Jones explains that his memory of trying to defend Mogilny inspired a feeling of fear. Fear of being burned by Mogilny’s speed and skill. Jones was far from alone.

Daniel Alfredsson

Pretty simple case here. Alfredsson piled up considerable individual stats, and served as a face of the Senators franchise for years.

Sharp said it was probably a “matter of time” for Mogilny to get inducted, but that could be true with Alfredsson as well. I will admit that I blurted out “Scott Niedermayer” when Sharp asked if anyone had a bad thing to say about Alfredsson.

(Then again, Niedermayer probably let Alfredsson’s tantrum go a long time ago, anyway.)

Tkachuk and other mentions

  • Jones seemed pretty emphatic about Keith Tkachuk’s Hall of Fame credentials. (No, I don’t think It’s a Keith Thing.)

Jones points to Tkachuk’s 538 goals (33rd all-time), the most of any eligible player who’s not in the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s likely a high compliment that Jones said he hated playing against Tkachuk.

  • In discussing Tkachuk, Jones linked him to a former power forward teammate John LeClair.

Granted, Jones acknowledged that Tkachuk boasts greater longevity and a comparable peak. LeClair’s best years — some strong playoff work with the Habs, that run on the “Legion of Doom” line — prompted Jones to say LeClair joined Eric Lindros as the league’s best “duo” for some time. I’m not sure I agree there, but I do generally appreciate quality-over-quantity Hall of Fame arguments.

  • Sharp brings up Rod Brind’Amour, a name that’s been gaining steam recently.

Whether “Rod the Bod” should be inducted or not, it’s delightful to see more love for dominant two-way forwards. And it’s not as if Brind’Amour was a total slouch offensively.

(Was “Rod the Bod” a slouch in any way, literally or figuratively? /Asks while slouching.)

As former players, Jones and Sharp reflexively mention a lot of their contemporaries. Regardless, it’s interesting to hear their insight on Mogilny and others they believe should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

“Our Line Starts” discusses Mogilny and other Hockey Hall of Fame hopefuls

Start-11:08 – Reaction to this year’s HOF class (Holland, Hossa, Iginla, Lowe, St-Pierre, Wilson)
11:10-16:45 – Who should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame (or not): Mogilny? Alfredsson? Tkachuk?
16:45-End – Fantasy draft for this year’s 24-team playoff tournament

Where else you can listen:

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1482681517

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/nbc-sports/our-line-starts

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7cDMHBg6NJkQDGe4KHu4iO?si=9BmcLtutTFmhRrNNcMqfgQ

NBC Sports on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nbcsports

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class: Iginla, Hossa, Wilson, St-Pierre, Lowe, Holland

2020 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Iginla Lowe St-Pierre Wilson Hossa
Getty Images
1 Comment

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its 2020 class of inductees on Wednesday. The 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class includes: Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Doug Wilson, Kim St-Pierre and Ken Holland.

Yes, this means that both Iginla and Hossa are first-ballot Hall of Famers. Kim St-Pierre represents the sole woman inducted in this class (as many as two can be added each go-around), while Holland is being inducted under the “builder” category.

Inevitably, people will discuss snubs. Many will point to Daniel Alfredsson and Alexander Mogilny. There are plenty of women who are deserving, too, including Jennifer Botterill.

Both Iginla and Hossa make Hockey Hall of Fame on first (2020) ballot

No surprise with Jarome Iginla

Iginla spent 1,219 of his 1,554 NHL games as a member of the Flames. After breaking into the league in 1996, “Iggy” went on to score 625 goals, record 1,300 points, win two Rocket Richard Trophies, the King Clancy, the Art Ross, and the Ted Lindsay Award. The winger was a six-time All-Star.

Iginla managed two 50-goal seasons, and passed the 40-goal mark on four occasions. The power forward also distinguished himself before reaching the NHL, winning two Memorial Cups with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. On the international scene, he represented Canada at various levels, winning two World Junior Championships, one World Championship, one World Cup of Hockey, and two Olympic gold medals. Iginla set up Sidney Crosby‘s “golden goal” in overtime during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Marian Hossa recognized as a two-way star

Hossa joins Iginla as a first-ballot Hockey Hall of Famer.

Hossa won three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, and was a playoff fixture, becoming the first NHL player to reach three consecutive Stanley Cup Final series with three different teams. So you might also consider his playoff production (149 points in 205 games) while noting his regular season accolades (525 goals and 1,134 points in 1,309 contests).

Hossa represented Slovakia at the World Championships eight times, Olympic Games four times, and played in two World Cup of Hockey tournaments — once for his home country and the other for Team Europe. In addition to those Stanley Cup victories, Hossa also won a Memorial Cup.

One knock against Hossa was a lack of individual awards, but success followed the two-way star.

[MORE: Who the PHT staff would have inducted into the 2020 HHOF]

Kim St-Pierre adds another deserving woman to HHOF

There are a lot of gold medals in St-Pierre’s trophy case.

Inside you’ll find three from the Olympics, five from the World Championships, and one from the Four Nations Cup. The netminder played 83 times for Canada, helping them win 64 times with 29 shutouts. She earned best goalie honors at the 2002 Olympics, as well World Championships in 2001 and 2004. St-Pierre also won the Clarkson Cup twice with Montreal Stars of the CWHL, and was named the league’s top goaltender two seasons in a row.

Wilson and Lowe get into Hockey Hall of Fame after long waits

Doug Wilson an easy case

Wilson scored 237 goals, 827 points as a defenseman, winning the 1982 Norris Trophy during his impressive and underrated career.

The current Sharks GM was an eight-time All-Star, and won Canada Cup gold. His name has sprung up in Hall of Fame discussions over the last few years, even after having been on the ballot for over two decades. He played during an era dominated by Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque, but examine his career and it was a pretty solid one. He finished his career in the top 20 in points by a defenseman and top 10 in points per game.

[MORE: Hall of Fame waits for Lowe, Wilson come to an end]

A fun piece of trivia via Sean McIndoe of The Athletic (sub required) that bolsters his case: “Here’s the complete list of players who both won a Norris Trophy (peak) and finished in the top 25 all-time in defenseman scoring (longevity), but haven’t been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame: Doug Wilson, and that’s it.”

As a side note, Wilson is putting together a decent Hockey Hall of Fame case with his GM work, alone.

Kevin Lowe’s best case — his trophy case

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson laid out defensive defenseman Kevin Lowe’s Hall of Fame case: he was the “conscience” of the Gretzky-era Oilers. Overall, Lowe won five Stanley Cups with Edmonton, and then one more with the Rangers.

“You look at Kevin’s Stanley Cups, the leadership on our team, the respect of all the players … that certainly would give me all sorts of statistical and psychological information to be in the Hall,” Glen Sather said. “You don’t have to pile up points to be a great player.

Lowe’s offensive stats won’t impress, but people stumped for his responsible game. It finally worked.

Lowe also served as a “builder” with the Oilers. Many would agree that it’s probably not the first point you’d argue for when saying Lowe deserved to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, though.

Ken Holland rounds out 2020 Hall of Fame class as a builder

The timing felt a bit surprising for Holland to be inducted as a builder. But, in the grand scheme of things, it was probably a matter of time.

The Detroit Red Wings won four Stanley Cups with Holland in prominent positions (one as assistant GM, three as GM). The Red Wings also won 10 Central Division titles with Holland at the helm, not to mention four Presidents’ Trophies.

Holland can still add to his resume if he can bring Connor McDavid and the Oilers to additional glories, too.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

With Brady leaving Patriots, remember these hockey legends in places you forgot

Hockey legends like Brady leaving Patriots Orr Howe Hull Brodeur
Getty Images
2 Comments

As mind-blowing as it is to type this, it’s true: Tom Brady said goodbye to the Patriots on Tuesday. It’s something that’s difficult to process, even if you’re not a Patriots or even a football fan. Yet, as Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra chronicles for baseball, legends donning strange uniforms late in their careers is no new phenomenon, and certainly not limited to the land of pigskins. So what about hockey and the NHL, then?

Hockey fans have been treated to quite a few one-team legends, including Mario Lemieux saving the Penguins more than once.

Even so, there are plenty of legends who ended spent time in jerseys that just felt wrong. Let’s ponder the hockey answers to Brady leaving the Patriots, Johnny Unitas on the Chargers, Michael Jordan with the Wizards, and Babe Ruth on the Boston Braves.

Orr down hockey Brady comparison
(Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque leave Boston with very different results

At least with Brady, Boston-area fans couldn’t reasonably ask for more. Meanwhile, Bobby Orr’s career concluded with questions of “What could have been?”

Knee injuries ravaged his later career, and after 10 seasons, Orr left the Bruins for the Blackhawks. Between two seasons, Orr could only appear in 26 games for Chicago.

In something of a sequel, the Bruins traded Ray Bourque during his 21st season with the team, setting the stage for Bourque to eventually win a Stanley cup inspiring enough to essentially demand a parade in Boston.

Brodeur Blues Brady leaving Patriots hockey comparison
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Brodeur finishes with the Blues

If Orr on the Blackhawks isn’t the Brady comparison you think of for hockey, then it’s probably Brodeur appearing in seven games for the Blues after winning three Stanley Cups, four Vezinas, and setting the all-time wins record over 1,259 games with the Devils.

(That contrast still makes me chuckle, to be honest.)

As awkward as Brodeur’s brief Blues stint was, it lacked the angst of how Orr’s career ended. That might make it closer to a 1:1 hockey comparison for Brady, although the QB could easily prove that his tank isn’t empty.

Much of this list shows examples of players trying to prove that they could still play, with most sputtering out after running on fumes.

(Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hull of a change, and Howe

Bobby Hull already experienced quite a journey going from the Blackhawks to the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets (scoring 303 goals in the WHA alone). Hull’s final hockey and NHL season was especially odd, though, starting with 18 NHL games for the Jets before being traded to the Hartford Whalers, playing nine games for The Whale. Gordie Howe ended up being a Whalers teammate of Hull, which is … yeah, pretty mind-blowing. Bobby Hull also attempted a comeback with the Rangers.

(Howe’s legendary career featured quite the second [and maybe third?] acts after his Red Wings days, including playing with his sons, and somehow managing 15 goals and 41 points with the Hartford Whalers at age 51.)

Bobby’s son Brett Hull experienced a journeyman career of his own. Brett convinced the Coyotes to unretire Bobby’s number 9, but that story ended with a whimper (five games) as Brett realized he couldn’t adjust to the post-lockout style of play in 2005-06.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Random Red Wings

If you’re playing trivia and “This player finished his career/briefly played for this team …” comes up, blurting out Detroit Red Wings isn’t the worst bet.

Lightning round, sometimes involving Lightning

  • Mats Sundin stunned Maple Leafs fans by joining the Canucks. There was some Alfredsson-like logic of linking Sundin with fellow Swedes Henrik and Daniel Sedin, yet the experiment lasted just 41 games.
  • Brian Leetch playing for the Maple Leafs was a little strange, but Leetch in a Bruins sweater will never look right.
  • Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens legend, as a Quebec Nordique? Yes, that happened. Jacques Plante bounced around quite about post-Habs, too, including eight games with the (gasp) Bruins.
  • Like Plante, Grant Fuhr pinballed around the NHL quite a bit after parting ways with the Oilers, but joining the Flames? Wow. Fuhr didn’t just play for the Calgary Flames, either, as he suited up twice for the Saint John Flames.
  • File Ed Belfour and Igor Larionov under “people you might not have known played for the Panthers.”
  • Olaf Kolzig was persistent in Washington as Godzilla could be in Tokyo, playing 711 of his 719 games for the Capitals. The eight other games came with the Lightning. (Vincent Lecavalier playing for the Kings was strange, but softened by his years with the Flyers.)

Feel free to mention other fish-out-of-water memories in the comments. Also, if you had to guess, which hockey legend will Brady mirror the most?

(Hopefully we won’t ever get that “Halloween Olajuwon as a Raptor vs. Patrick Ewing with the Magic” feeling from Brady’s final act.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Who will make up the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class?

5 Comments

The 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame class has been inducted, with Hayley Wickenheiser, Guy Carbonneau, Sergei Zubov, Vaclav Nedomansky, Jim Rutherford, and Jerry York getting enshrined in Toronto.

With that, it’s time to turn the page and take a look at who Hall of Fame chairman Lanny MacDonald might call next June when the 2020 class is revealed.

Per the Hockey Hall of Fame, eligible players “must have not played in a professional or international hockey game during any of the three (3) playing seasons prior to his or her election.” A maximum of four male and two female inductees can be elected in the player category a year. 

Like the 2019 class, there is one lock for 2020, and that’s Jarome Iginla. Beyond the longtime Flames captain, there are some players right on the cusp who have been waiting for the call. The voting process is secretive, so we have no idea how close any individual player is to getting inducted, but here’s our look at what the next group of Hockey Hall of Famers may look like.

THE LOCK

Jarome Iginla — “Iggy” spent 20 seasons in the NHL with five teams, but will forever be remembered as a member of the Flames. In 1,554 career games, Iginla scored 625 goals and recorded 1,300 points. He hit the 50-goal mark twice and scored at least 40 goals four times. He played in six All-Star Games and was a two-time winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy, and also won the King Clancy and Art Ross Trophies, as well as the Ted Lindsay Award. Before he reached the NHL, Iginla won two Memorial Cups with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. On the international scene, he represented Canada at various levels, winning two World Junior Championships, one World Cup of Hockey, and two Olympic gold medals. It was his pass that led to Sidney Crosby’s golden goal during the 2010 tournament in Vancouver.

THE PROBABLY-SHOULDS

Marian Hossa – He’s a first-ballot HOFer to me, but given how under-appreciated he was during his 19-season NHL career it would be fitting if he’s overlooked in a year absent a large number of locks. For his resume, Hossa has a Memorial Cup title and three Stanley Cup rings to his name. He represented Slovakia at the World Championships eight times, Olympic Games four times, and played in two World Cup of Hockey tournaments — once for his home country and the other for Team Europe. In 1,309 NHL games, Hossa scored 525 goals and recorded 1,134 points. The production continued into the postseason with 149 points in 205 playoff games.

His trophy case lacks a number of individual honors, however. He was runner-up for the Calder Trophy in 1999, the only time in his career he was a finalist for an NHL award. His two-way game was sorely underrated and that was reflected in Selke Trophy voting where he finished 10th or better only three times.

Alex Mogilny – He was the first Soviet player to defect west and when he arrived he quickly made his mark. His 76-goal season in 1992-93 tied him for the NHL’s goal scoring lead with Teemu Selanne. He would finish with a 127 points that season. A year later the Buffalo Sabres named him the first European captain in league history. When it was all said and done, the six-time All-Star scored 473 goals and recorded 1,032 points. He’s a member of the IIHF’s Triple Gold Club after winning the Stanley Cup, Olympics and World Championship.

Daniel Alfredsson – Will the second time around be the charm for Alfie? A veteran of 18 NHL seasons, Alfredsson has an impressive resume and strong international credentials to make the cut. He scored 444 goals and recorded 1,157 points during his NHL career, and has a trophy cabinet that features Olympic gold and silver medals, the 1996 Calder Trophy, six NHL All-Star appearances, and the King Clancy Trophy. He’s also known for scoring the first shootout goal in league history, and sported Hall of Fame worthy hairstyles over his career.

THE POSSIBLES

Jeremy Roenick – 513 goals, 1,216 points, nine-time All-Star, silver medals at Canada Cup and Olympic Games. JR’s elite level status only lasted for a few seasons in the early 1990s. After three-straight 100-point and 45-plus goal seasons, his production settled into the “very good” range in the mid-90s. He certainly has the “fame” part down with the personality he’s shown during and after his NHL career as an analyst for the NHL on NBC, as well as his influential role in the 1996 movie “Swingers.” Roenick, however, did not win any individual hardware, so even in classes where there appears to be an opening, the door might remain closed for him.

[MORE: Meet the 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame class]

Doug Wilson – 237 goals, 827 points, 1982 Norris Trophy winner, eight-time All-Star, Canada Cup gold. You don’t hear the San Jose Sharks general manager’s name much when these discussions come up. He played during an era dominated by Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque, but examine his career and it was a pretty solid one. He finished his career top 20 in points by a defenseman and top 10 in points per game. This is a good note from Sean McIndoe of The Athletic that bolsters his case: “Here’s the complete list of players who both won a Norris Trophy (peak) and finished in the top 25 all-time in defenseman scoring (longevity), but haven’t been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame: Doug Wilson, and that’s it.”

Curtis Joseph – 454 wins, 51 shutouts, Olympic gold medal, three-time All-Star. A three-time Vezina Trophy finalist, Joseph had himself a fine career, but did not win a Stanley Cup or any individual hardware. Is he Hall of Fame class or Hall of Very Good class? Only seven goalies, including Martin Brodeur, who was inducted in 2018, have been inducted into the Hall since 1990. Are more coming soon?

Boris Mikhailov – The man Herb Brooks loved to remind his “Miracle on Ice” team looked like Stan Laurel had a decorated career playing for CSKA Moscow and representing the Soviet Union internationally. Domestically, Mikhailov scored 429 goals for CSKA and recorded 653 points, leading them to 11 Soviet League titles. On the international scene, the long time captain captured two Olympic gold medals and eight World Championships. Could Nedomansky’s support a year ago help Mikhailov or another player who played significant time in Europe?

THE REST

Tom Barrasso – 369 wins, 38 shutouts, 1984 Calder Trophy, 1984 Vezina Trophy, 1985 Jennings Trophy, 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup titles, 2002 Olympic silver medal.

Rod Brind’Amour — With Carbonneau’s two-way play earning him love and Hossa potentially getting in with the 2020 class, why not the Hurricanes head coach? He finished his career with 452 goals and 1,184 points in 1,484 NHL games and has two Selke Trophies on his mantle, along with a Stanley Cup.

Shane Doan — (First year of eligibility.) 1,540 games with the Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise, 402 goals, 972 points, two World Championship gold medals, one World Cup of Hockey gold medal, two-time Memorial Cup winner, two-time NHL All-Star, King Clancy Trophy winner. A very fine career, but worthy of induction?

Patrik Elias – 408 goals, 1,025 points, Olympic bronze, two World Championships bronze medals, two-time Stanley Cup winner, nine 20-plus goal seasons.

Theo Fleury – 455 goals, 1,088 points, seven-time All-Star, gold at the World Junior Championship, Canada Cup and Olympics, silver at the World Championship and World Cup of Hockey, 1989 Stanley Cup winner.

Sergei Gonchar – 220 goals, 811 points, five-time All-Star, 2009 Stanley Cup title (two more as a coach), silver and bronze medals from the Olympics and World Championships, eight 50-plus point seasons, five straight seasons with at least 18 goals.

Steve Larmer – 441 goals, 1,012 points, 1983 Calder Trophy, two-time All-Star, 1991 Canada Cup gold, 1994 Stanley Cup title, owns third-longest consecutive games streak in NHL history.

Vincent Lecavalier – 421 goals, 949 points, 2004 World Cup of Hockey gold and MVP, 2004 Stanley Cup, 2007 Rocket Richard Trophy, 2008 King Clancy Trophy, four-time NHL All-Star. It’s not quite the trophy case of 2018 inductee Martin St. Louis, so that could probably leave Lecavalier stuck in the Hall of Very Good.

Jere Lehtinen – 243 goals, 514 points, three-time Selke Trophy winner (as a winger), one Stanley Cup, World Championship gold and three silvers, one Olympic silver, three Olympic bronze medals, one World Cup of Hockey silver, IIHF Hall of Fame inductee.

Kent Nilsson – 262 goals, 686 points, two-time NHL All-Star, 1987 Stanley Cup title, 1978 WHA rookie of the year, IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame, Canada Cup and World Championship silver medals.

Chris Osgood – 401 wins, 50 shutouts, three-time Stanley Cup champion, two-time Jennings Trophy winner.  A good goalie on some great Detroit Red Wings teams for a long time. How much has that hurt his candidacy?

Keith Tkachuk – 538 goals, 1,065 points, 1996 World Cup of Hockey champion, Olympic silver medal. Like Roenick, Tkachuk’s numbers are good, but he’s in a range where there are a handful of players with similar stats. While Joe Mullen’s inclusion may help Tkachuk or Roenick at some point in time, right now, he’s just on the outside.

WOMEN’S CATEGORY

Karyn Bye-Dietz – She was part of the gold medal winning U.S. team at the 1998 Olympics and took home silver at the 2002 Games and six World Championships. During the ’98 Games, Bye Dietz led the Americans with five goals and eight points and finished her international career with 84 points in 51 games. In 2011 she was only the fifth woman to be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame and in 2014 was named to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Maria Rooth – A 2015 IIHF Hall of Fame inductee, the forward represented her country at the Olympic four times, taking home silver and bronze. She played 265 times for Sweden and finished with 105 goals. Before her international career, Rooth played at Minnesota Duluth where she ended her collegiate career as the second-leading scorer in school history (119 goals, 232 points) and a three-time All-American. She’s also the only woman to have her number retired in the history of the program.

Kim St. Pierre – There’s a lot of gold medals in St. Pierre’s trophy case. Inside you’ll find three from the Olympics, five from the World Championships, and one from the Four Nations Cup. The longtime netminder recorded 15 shutouts and 24 wins representing Canada on the international stage. She also won the Clarkson Cup with Montreal Stars of the CWHL and was named the league’s top goaltender two seasons in a row.

BUILDER CATEGORY

Red Berenson – After an NHL career that lasted 987 games and saw him win a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens, score six goals in a game once, and represent Canada in the famed 1972 Summit Series, Berenson went into coaching. After six seasons as a coach with the Blues and Sabres, he left for the college game and was behind the bench for the University of Michigan until 2017. In those 33 years, he’s helped the program to a pair of national championships, 11 Frozen Four appearances and 11 conference titles. Personally, he’s a two-time CCHA coach of the year, the 2008 Spencer Penrose Award winner for top D-I coach, and going back to his NHL coaching days, the 1981 winner of the Jack Adams Award.

Ken Hitchcock – After six stints as an NHL head coach, it appears Hitchcock’s coaching days are behind him, but after his brief retirement to come back coach the Oilers last season, you never know. For now his coaching resume lists 849 wins (third all-time), one Stanley Cup title, and numerous players thankful for his influence and teams who were improved with him behind their bench. He’s also owner of a HOF-worthy sweatshirt.

Mike Keenan – Whether it was his quick hook with goalies or clashing with his players, there was never a dull moment when “Iron Mike” was coaching your team. But he also did win as his 672 NHL victories and 1985 Jack Adams Award shows. His teams won four conference titles and he helped lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994, ending their 54-year drought. He also won in Russia, guiding Metallurg Magnitogorsk to the Gagarin Cup title in 2014, making him the first North American coach to win the KHL championship and the first coach to win both the Gagarin Cup and the Stanley Cup. Keenan’s championships also include the 1983 AHL Calder Cup and two Canada Cups, including the legendary 1987 tournament.

Bryan Murray – He compiled 620 wins as a head coach for five teams over 17 NHL season and made the Stanley Cup Playoffs 12 times in 13 full seasons behind a bench. He won the Jack Adams Award in 1984 and was named NHL Executive of the Year after building the 1995-96 Panthers team that reached the Cup Final.

Viktor Tikhonov – The head coach of the dominant “Red Machine” passed away in 2014 and is long overdue for induction into the Hall of Fame. Tikhonov, a 1998 IIHF HOF inductee as a builder, led the Soviets to the 1981 Canada Cup, eight golds at the World Championships, two at the Olympics and another coaching the Unified Team in 1992. He also coached CSKA Moscow and led them to 12 straight league titles.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Sens have discussed front office options for Alfredsson

On Thursday the Ottawa Senators gave Daniel Alfredsson a key to the city.

Does the key open the door to a front office job for Alfredsson?

“He wanted a year or so away and I think that’s important for him, but it’s certainly something Eugene [Melnyk] and I have discussed if [Alfredsson] wants to do it,” GM Bryan Murray told the Ottawa Sun.

Ideally, the 42-year-old would take a position similar to Steve Yzerman in Detroit. Yzerman was the Red Wings vice president and alternate governor prior to joining the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“Maybe that would be the way to start if you go that route,” said Alfredsson. “I’m not naive enough to think I can step into those positions full-time right away. Can I help out in those areas? Of course I can with my experience.

“I think that would be the way to go for both parties. Going forward, that might be better what I’m suited for. If I go that route, that’s probably the way to go.”

According to the Sun, Alfredsson plans on making a decision on his future in the game this summer. For the time being he’s enjoying coaching his sons’ hockey team in Detroit.

“If I’m going to do something in a full-time job I want to do it 100 percent,” he said. “I don’t know if right now is the right time with the stage the kids are at. That’s the way I feel.”