Pat Burns wife Line and son Jason speak on his behalf after being the newest member inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame induction class is one for the ages.
Dominik Hasek, Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, and Mike Modano have been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame for their storied careers as players.
Hasek was a six-time Vezina Trophy winner and a two-time winner of the Hart Trophy as league MVP while with the Buffalo Sabres. He’s also been a member of two Stanley Cup winning teams in Detroit with the Red Wings in 2002 and 2008.
Blake played for 20 years with the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, and San Jose Sharks and won a Stanley Cup patrolling the blue line with the Avs in 2001. He scored 40 or more points in 12 seasons in the NHL and was a Hobey Baker Award finalist at Bowling Green.
Forsberg was as dominating a force as could be found in the NHL during his 14 seasons in the NHL. He was the Calder Trophy winner in 1995 and won two Stanley Cups with the Avalanche in 1996 and 2001. Originally a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, he’ll forever be linked with Eric Lindros as part of the monster trade that sent Lindros to Philly and the building blocks to Cup winners to the Quebec Nordiques. He won the Hart Trophy in 2003 and won two Olympic gold medals with Sweden in 1994 and 2006.
Modano was the face of the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise over 21 out of his 22 seasons in the NHL before finishing his career at home in Michigan with the Red Wings. In his career he piled up 561 goals and 1,374 points, the most ever by an American-born player. His crowning achievement came in 1999 winning the Stanley Cup with Dallas beating Hasek’s Sabres.
Also joining those four are longtime coach Pat Burns who was elected as a builder and referee Bill McCreary who was selected for his work as an official.
Burns was a three-time Jack Adams Award winner as coach of the year and won his lone Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. He’s forever known as being the face of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1980s and ’90s. He also led the Boston Bruins for four seasons in the late ’90s. Burns finished his career in 2004 with a career winning percentage of .574 but passed away in 2010 from cancer.
McCreary spent 27 years as a referee in the league working 1,700 regular season games and 282 playoff games. Known for his mustache and no-nonsense style, he earned the respect of everyone throughout the league and was often the man called on to officiate the biggest games. He also worked the 1998 and 2002 Olympics and earned the call to work the gold medal game in both tournaments.
USA Today’s Kevin Allen and CSNChicago’s Pat Foley are the 2014 Media Honorees. That group will be inducted on Monday, November 17 in Toronto.
Pat Burns’ family, friends and proponents will have to wait and see if he will be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame, but they won’t have to wait to honor his memory. Pat Burns Arena officially opened today about 10 months after the three-time Jack Adams Award recipient lost his battle with cancer on Nov. 19, 2010.
Burns is the only coach in NHL history to win the Jack Adams win three different teams, as he earned that award with the Montreal Canadiens (1988-89), Toronto Maple Leafs (92-93) and Boston Bruins (97-98). Some might say that his greatest achievement came with the New Jersey Devils, however, as he won the Stanley Cup with that franchise in 2003.
CTV reports that hockey greats such as Henri Richard and Guy Carbonneau were on hand for the ceremony. Although memorabilia that was meant to help raise money for the event was stolen from the car of Burns’ widow Lyne, CTV reports that the Canadian and Quebec governments covered two-thirds of the costs while the City of Stanstead still managed to cover the rest.
Burns knew that he probably wouldn’t be alive to see the building open its doors, but expressed great joy in knowing that future hockey players would compete there.
“I probably won’t see the project to the end, but let’s hope I’m looking down on it and see a young Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux,” he said in March 2010.
So, in case you missed it, the 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are: Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk. That’s a pretty impressive group of players, but that won’t stop the Twitterverse and other Internet complaint outlets from providing a steady flow of gripes.
From our perspective, Adam Oates might be the biggest snub. He received the fourth most votes in PHT’s informal poll of our own staff, media experts and hockey bloggers, making him the consensus pick for the most overlooked player.
That being said, there were plenty of other options for those wanting to vent their frustrations. Some think that great players from the USSR big red machine era – such as Boris Mikhailov and Sergei Makarov – won’t ever get their just due. Others are outraged that the selection committee is dragging its feet to posthumously honor former head coach Pat Burns while Fred Shero also continues to be a dark horse candidate in the “builders” category. Pavel Bure and Eric Lindros probably bring about the most arguments from a “quality versus quantity” standpoint. Our own Matt Reitz will talk your ear off about the merits of goalie Rogie Vachon.
There are a ton of seemingly worthy candidates for inclusion into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but perhaps that’s the point. If it was easy to get in – and some, like myself, would argue that it’s already too easy to get in – then it wouldn’t be much of an honor, would it? Still, it’s usually enjoyable to engage in these wildly subjective debates, so let us know who you think was the biggest snub by voting in this poll and telling us all about it in the comments.
Note: we know that you won’t be satisfied with all the choices provided, so please keep in mind that you can “write in” a candidate in the “other” field.
Now that you’ve decided which player (or builder) was the biggest snub, we have some rather bad news: they’re probably going to wait a while before they get into the Hall of Fame. As we discussed last year, the 2012 class of first year eligible players is pretty staggering.
Key 2012 first year eligible players:
- Joe Sakic
- Jeremy Roenick
- Mats Sundin
- Brendan Shanahan
- Curtis Joseph
- Gary Roberts
- Claude Lemieux
- Olaf Kolzig
- Bobby Holik
- Michael Peca
Maybe a few of those players are a bit marginal toward the end, but Sakic and Shanahan will probably be first-ballot guys. Sundin shouldn’t be far behind (if he needs to wait at all) and Roenick puts the ‘fame’ in Hall of Fame. It’s possible that someone like Adam Oates – with his 1,079 assists and hearty helpings of goodwill – might be able to get in next year, but “fringe” candidates probably don’t even need to check their caller ID’s in mid-June next year. With Scott Niedermayer and Rob Blake eligible in 2013, they might just want to take two years off.
It’s Hockey Hall of Fame day here at PHT and with the 2011 induction class being announced at 3 p.m. ET it’s time for everyone to make their case for who they think should get the call from the Hall of Fame this year. The Hockey Hall of Fame has some rules for making the grade though. A committee of 18 voters casts their ballots and at least 14 of them have to agree on a player to get them inducted. It can be tough to get through, but each year the voters generally get a few people they agree on.
Since we don’t have the access to those who are voting, nor would they tell us who they voted for, we put the word out to some of our media friends to see who they would’ve voted for this year. Some gave us deep thoughts on why they picked who they chose, others kept it short and sweet but all around we’re happy to have them give us their thoughts as to who should go in this time around.
Oh yeah, and we’re trying to have some fun with this too.
Joe Haggerty – CSN New England
Pat Burns – It’s time to right the wrong of last season’s selection process while Burns was still living and breathing. A Stanley Cup-winning coach with the New Jersey Devils, Burns is the only guy in NHL history to win the Jack Adams with three different teams and a larger-than-life personality that worked his way up from walking the police beat in Montreal. He was one of the dominant coaches of his era with successful stints in Montreal, Toronto and Boston – not an easy feat to gain acceptance and taste success in each of those Original Six stops.
Joe Nieuwendyk – A three-time Stanley Cup champion, Calder Trophy winner and Conn Smythe winner for his 11 goals in 23 games for the Dallas Stars during the 1999 Stanley Cup playoffs, 564 career goals and 1126 career points with some excellent teams in Calgary, Dallas and New Jersey over his 19-year career. The 564 goals ranks him 21st on the NHL’s all-time list and his 93 career game-winning goals put him in the top 10 all-time. He looks and smells like a sure-fire Hall of Fame candidate.
Rick Middleton – Third in Bruins franchise history with 402 goals scored, fourth in points with 898 career points scored and the franchise’s all-time leader with 25 shorthanded goals. When you look at the Bruins’ franchise record books, every player around “Nifty” is already in the Hall of Fame – a fact that makes his omission all the more stunning. Middleton was a three-time All-Star and Lady Byng Trophy winner that always seems to get overlooked when people talk about the greats in Black and Gold history.
Ed Belfour – Just to prove that I’m completely impartial, I give “The Eagle” the nod even though I once saw him throw his goalie pads at a reporter getting too close to his personal locker space. A Stanley Cup win with the Dallas Stars, two Vezina Trophies, 484 career regular season wins to go with 88 in the playoffs, led the league in shutouts four times and five All-Star appearances encapsulate a Hall of Fame-worthy goaltender.
Ray Ratto – CSN Bay Area
Pat Verbeek – “Only because anyone with the nickname “Little Ball of Hate” deserves his own wing in the Hall.”
Ed Belfour – “To me he’s automatic. An absolute lock.”
Doug Gilmour – “He’s an absolute Hall of Famer. He did it all.”
Dave Andreychuk – “He’s got 640 goals. Come on now.”
Keith Jones – Versus
Pat Burns – “No brainer. It should’ve been done last year. They have to do it now and right a terrible wrong.”
Joe Nieuwendyk – “He was the total package. Offensive skill, defensively sound. He did it all and helped win three Stanley Cups.”
Pavel Bure – “There was no one more dynamic than Bure. His talent was so unique and powerful that has to be recognized. He changed games with his speed and ability to score.”
Phil Housley – “His point totals were outstanding. He was a different kind of defenseman and a tremendous American player as well. His offensive game from the blue line was incredible.”
Sarah Baicker – CSN Philly
Ed Belfour – It’s hard not to put him in: A Stanley Cup win, two World Cup titles, two Vezina trophies, a Calder Trophy … and the list goes on.
Joe Nieuwendyk – I was pretty surprised he didn’t get in last year. He should this time.
Fred Shero – Everyone in Philadelphia (myself included) believes Fred Shero belongs in the Hall without question. The man revolutionized the way the game is coached.