First, congratulations to Adam Oates, Pavel Bure, Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin for getting inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. All are well deserving of this honor. I’ve had the opportunity to see them from the beginning of their careers through the last time they skated on an NHL rink.
Of course, there are going to be debates on who should get in and who shouldn’t. But knowing that Brendan Shanahan got the shaft from this year’s class of 2012?! It really grinds my gears.
Really? As I’m working on this blog, I’m still verbally speechless as to why the premiere power forward of the ’90s didn’t get in. Don’t get me wrong; Bure has the third best goals-per-game average in league history (trailing only Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy); Oates is the second best playmaker ever in the NHL (only behind Wayne Gretzky, in my opinion); Sakic was one of the premier players of his time; and Sundin, who spent the majority of his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, was one of the best point producers during his career. My thought on Sundin was that he is a hall of famer, but is not in his year of eligibility. So I guess, I’m saying that Shanahan should have gone in instead of Sundin.
The Detroit Red Wings needed the final piece of the puzzle to get them over the hump, which was, at the time, to get past the defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche and win the Stanley Cup. The team needed someone who could score and mix it up with the opposition, and they found him when they acquired Shanahan early in the 1996-97 season. He did not disappoint. He led the Red Wings in scoring that season with 46 goals and 87 points plus ranking second on the team with 131 penalty minutes. He was an instrumental part of the Red Wings winning the Stanley Cup in 1997, their first since 1955. Oh and by the way, they repeated the feat the next year. He also hoisted the Cup with the Hall of Fame team of 2002.
His resume on the ice is 100 percent worthy of the hall, so let me list some of his accomplishments during his career:
-656 goals and 698 assists in 1, 524 games with 2,489 penalty minutes
-Three-time Stanley Cup Champion
-Only player in NHL history to score 600 goals and amass 2,000 penalty minutes in his career
-Second behind Luc Robitaille for most goals by a left winger with 656
-19 straight seasons of 20 or more goals
-Olympic Gold Medalist
-8-time participant in the All-Star Game
-Two-time First Team All-Star
I can think of only reason why Shanahan probably wasn’t elected today, and that is his position with the NHL as the league’s Vice-President of Player Safety. It is a thankless job of reviewing questionable hits and handing down fines and/or suspensions to players (aka, the Shanahammer).
When Shea Weber slammed Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the turnbuckle/glass in the first round of the Sanley Cup playoffs, he got a slap on the wrist from Shanahan (only a $2,500 fine). The decision, especially in Hockeytown, didn’t win Shanahan any admirers as there were a lot of irate fans, as well as Red Wing players and management. Has he rubbed certain people the wrong way? Let’s hope that Shanahan’s position with the league isn’t the reason why he didn’t get elected. If someone has a good explanation on why he didn’t get in, please, by all means, let me know.
I thought the call on Oates and Bure were long overdue and Joe Sakic is, of course, Joe Sakic. The question around this time last night started with an “If” but it’s now been changed to “When” Shanahan will get the call from Toronto. Hopefully a year from now it’ll be Brendan Shanahan, Hall of Famer. What do you think?
Filed Under: NHL
About the Author: Alex lives in Hockeytown, USA. He is a huge Red Wings fan going back to the 1985-86 season when they were dead last with 40 points. He has seen the transition from the 'Dead Wings' to one of the top franchises in sports. You can also follow him at twitter.com/alexmuscat73.