Sunday, May 22, 2005

Hall of Fame Picks

On Friday, I promised to post the players I would select to the Hockey Hall of Fame this year. The committee meets on June 8th to consider their choices.

First I would pick Dino Ciccarelli. He has over 600 career goals. Nobody who has been eligible for induction has more goals and has not been inducted. He was a top NHL power forward 5-10 years before they even coined the term. His only knock is that he failed to win the Stanley Cup (a team trophy). However, in his rookie year he managed to take the Minnesota North Stars to the finals (as their top scorer) only to lose to the dynasty New York Islanders. Three other times he managed a trip to the semi finals. As the league has grown, so too have the number of extremely talented players who will not win Stanley Cups.

Second choice Mark Howe. Though he never won any Norris trophies, he was arguably the best defender in the NHL for a period in the 80's. He was a three time Norris runner up and a 1 time Hart trophy runner up. He was a 6 time all star. He was a 3 time Stanley Cup runner up and a 2 time Avco World trophy winner as the WHA champion. I argue that he is the best defenceman who is hall of fame eligible and not inducted.

Third choice Sergei Makarov. Its hard to accurately rate players who played in Russia in their prime versus the NHLers who mostly populate the Hall of Fame. Just how good were they relative to each other? They rarely played each other, but when they did, the tp Russians appeared to be as good as top NHLers. Makarov was the top scorer in the Russian league when the Berlin Wall fell. He came over to the NHL when he was into his 30's and was an immediate star winning the Calder trophy (he led to the NHL redefining the term rookie to exclude players of his age). He stuck around the NHL for most of the 90's but after 3 or 4 years, he started to really decline as he was well into his 30's. I think we should be conservative adding Russian stars to the Hall of Fame. Although one could argue for about a dozen players with no NHL experience being Hall of Fame worthy, there are huge error bars in those assessments. We only saw them play the top NHL players in a handful of tournaments at most. That said, Makarov is the cream of the crop and his success carried over to the NHL.

Those are my picks. In the days to come, I will post why I did not select several other high profile candidates.

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