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November 9, 2010 :: 11:14pm ET

Missed It By That Much

TORONTO, ON -- The Hockey Hall of Fame is a real Mecca for hockey fans of all ages, and a lasting tribute to the people who affected the game so greatly, they were able to change the sport forever.

Last year the Hall welcomed four of the greatest players to ever step on the ice. Steve Yzerman, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull all came out of their NHL careers as sure fire Hall of Famers, and because the Hall of Fame has a maximum player induction per year many other greats were forced to wait.

This year was expected to be the year where many NHL greats whose inductions were pushed back due to exceptional classes in recent years would get their chance.

However, Dino Ciccarelli was the only one to hear his name called.

When interviewing Steve Yzerman last year following his induction he told me, "As a player, you never really think about being in the Hall of Fame. You never sit there and look at your numbers and compare, you let other people worry about that stuff."

Luckily, I'm one of those "other people" Yzerman was referring to. Let's look at some of the best Hall eligible players, who have recently retired, who are not yet inducted.

Pavel BurePavel Bure - If I had a vote, which unfortunately I do not, Bure would be on my ballot every year. During his career there was not a more electrifying player who would give fans a workout by getting them out of their seats and their hearts pumping. I seriously still can't believe that this guy isn't in the Hall yet.

Bure scored at least 50 goals, FIVE TIMES!! The biggest knock against him is injuries, but Cam Neely's career was also cut short by injury troubles and their career stats are quite similar.

Perhaps it's only a matter of time before The Russian Rocket makes his way into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but whenever he gets there it will be long overdue.

Joe NieuwendykJoe Nieuwendyk - Based strictly on accomplishments, Nieuwendyk should be in. he won three Stanley Cups with three different teams, an Olympic Gold, a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, and the Calder in his freshman year, just to name a few. You combine that with a career, which saw him score 564 goals and over 1,100 points, and you've got yourself a Hall of Fame resumé if I've ever seen one.

Really, there is nothing working against Nieuwendyk's membership; he is well liked by the NHL community, is currently serving as the General Manager of the Dallas Stars and is most likely a lock for a 2011 induction.

Adam Oates - While Bure and Nieuwendyk spring to mind, Oates has always flown under the radar a little bit. So under the radar, in fact, that the Red Wings signed him as an undrafted free agent.

Adam OatesOpportunity is all that he needed however, as playmaker Oates and prolific goal scorer Brett Hull would go on to form one of the most lethal duos in the NHL.

The end of Oates' 18-year career saw him finish sixth all time in assists and 16th all time in points. Under the radar for sure, but no one can argue with him being deserving of the honor.

Oates never won a Cup and was often overlooked by year end all-star teams in favor of the Gretzkys, Lemieuxs and Yzermans; hopefully someone rewards the guy who flies under the radar with an induction soon.

Doug GilmourDoug Gilmour - A little treat for all the Leaf fans out there. You guys deserve it. It's tough being disappointed for 40-something years.

Anyways, Gilmour and Oates have had very similar careers. Gilmour ranks right behind Oates in career points and sits at 12th in career assists. Unlike Oates, Gilmour won a Stanley Cup in 1989, but if you ask anyone in Toronto he could've had two had a certain Great One been called for a well-deserved penalty.

The problem with players who played during the 1980s is they generally had a few monster seasons early, which would skew their career stats. For Gilmour, this is also the case; he had averaged over a point-a-game in the nine seasons prior to the 1994-95 season. After that year he averaged over a point-a-game just once. Gilmour is probably the trickiest of these four to be included in the Hall, but his inclusion wouldn't surprise anyone. Also, who can forget that commercial of him dancing with his wife, I believe, to promote milk? Ahhh, classic.


Unrelated thought of the day: If games were decided strictly by which uniform was nicer, the Washington Capitals would destroy the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic.


(Week Ending Sunday, November 7)

Forward of the Week
Raffi Torres, LW, Vancouver Canucks
4GP, 5G, 1A, 6 Points, +2

Torres has found his scoring touch lately and this increased sniping ability earned him the NHL’s first star honor for this week. Brought into Vancouver to fill a checking role, Torres has been able to contribute well at both ends of the ice. With seven goals in 13 games, Torres is well on his way to top his career high for goals in a season with 27 set with the Edmonton Oilers way back in 2005-06.

Defenseman of the Week
Sergei Gonchar, D, Ottawa Senators
3GP, 2G, 2A, 4 Points, -1

Gonchar's increase in production couldn't come at a better time for the Senators. His four points in the Sens last three games coincide perfectly with Ottawa’s three-game winning streak and their re-emergence from the Northeast Division basement.


Goalie of the Week
Jaroslav Halak, G, St. Louis Blues
2GP, 2W, .983 SVP, 0.49 GAA

Halak hasn't only been hot this week, he has been phenomenal all season. Carrying the momentum from last season's playoff run with the Montreal Canadiens, Halak brought his talents to St. Louis and has led the Blues to the best record in the NHL and a current seven-game winning streak.
 


MVP Watch
1. Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay Lightning
A two game Lightning losing streak, coupled with some recent proof that Stamkos has finally cooled down after a red hot start has others threatening for the top spot, but as for now Stamkos is still safe at No.1.

2. Tim Thomas, G, Boston Bruins
The Bruins have the best winning percentage in the Northeast and though Thomas has come back down to earth lately he is still a huge reason for their success.

3. Jaroslav Halak, G, St. Louis Blues
Perhaps this is a little overdue. The Blues are the top team in the NHL and Halak is a huge reason why. At or near the top in every important statistical category, as Halak goes so will the Blues.

4. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins
Halak and Crosby both leap-frogged Patrick Sharp on the MVP Watch. The Penguins have been awful this year. A .500 record may not be awful for some teams but for the Penguins, with the amount of talent they have, the record is a huge disappointment. Sid the Kid seems to be the only one keeping this team afloat.

Michael Grossi is the Features Editor of The Fourth Period Magazine.
His columns [The G-Spot] appear every Monday on TFP.
Follow Michael Grossi on Twitter


 

 

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