The Hockey Hall of Hame class of 2011 was unveiled yesterday after a panel of 18 members selected four deserving alumni for induction on November 14th. Headlining the group is former Leaf Ed Belfour, who earned inclusion as a first-time nominee. The legendary Doug Gilmour and Joe Nieuwendyk were also named as inductees, both former heart and soul forwards during their time with the blue and white. Rounding out the class is Mark Howe, formerly a defenseman with the Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers. He joins his father, Gordie, the all-time great who was inducted back in 1972.
The general consensus indicated that fans approved of the four players elected as inductees, but many fans suggested that Pavel Bure, the ‘Russian Rocket’, was a more deserving choice over Howe. It’s no knock against Bure, but it’s a difficult selection process and takes some players half a dozen years to finally gain entry. Considering this year’s class also left out the likes of Eric Lindros, Theo Fleury, John LeClair and Phil Housley, the four players inducted should be proud of the accomplishment.
What frustrated not only myself but surely many others was, for the second year running, the omission of the late Pat Burns, who was the common favourite to enter in the builder’s category. Instead, the selection committee decided not to elect a representative in this category for the first time since 1981. I guess worse than missing the chance to induct Burns while he was still alive is having to admit your mistake the next year.Â He will be a strong candidate next season, joining Mats Sundin and Markus Naslund, who will both gain eligibility to enter the hall after being retired for three seasons.
Another thing I didn’t understand was the decision not to include a female in the group after electing two last year. Sure, there wasn’t a laundry list of candidates, but you can’t tell me Geraldine Heaney, once heralded as the ‘Bobby Orr of women’s hockey’, doesn’t deserve the nod. I thought the HHOF was trying to be more inclusive, but electing four North American born players, while leaving out a builder and a female doesn’t leave a great image for the game.
Jonas Siegel looks at the Leafs primary needs heading into the free agent market on Friday.
Mike Ulmer of MapleLeafs.com explores the possibility of the Leafs tending an offer sheet to Steven Stamkos or attempting to acquire one of Brad Richards, Paul Stastny or Stephen Weiss.
PPP analyzes last Friday’s Liles deal over at The Leafs Nation.
Editor in Leaf wraps up the draft weekend with a few links.
VLM thinks Kaberle will sign in Columbus with the Blue Jackets.
Other Hockey Links:
The class of 2011 is headlined by three former Leafs, including Dougie Gilmour.
Jaromir Jagr one step closer to returning to the NHL after spending the last two seasons in Russia.
Islanders acquire exclusive negotiating rights to Erhoff in exchange for a fourth round pick in 2012.
Another forward off the market
Hurricanes lock up one of their key top-four defenseman for another three seasons.
Montreal police intend to question Chara about his hit on Pacioretty in March.
Do you agree with the Hall of Fame selections or did other candidates, including Pavel Bure, deserve the nod?
There were a lot of contracts signed yesterday but one moment shined a lot more than all the contracts put together. Yesterday, after a year of whys and why nots, Doug Gilmour received his well earned call to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Undoubtedly, this was an emotional moment for Doug and his family, but it was also a very special time for any Leafs fan that was lucky enough to see him play with the blue and white or just heard stories about his commitment to the team, fighting spirit, leadership and talent.
Gilmour was nicknamed Killer because his Calgary teammates at the time thought he resembled one of the more famous serial killers, not because, contrary to popular belief, of his â€œphysical play despite small stature.â€ He amassed 1474 NHL games, collecting 1414 points and 450 goals in the process. Gilmour has one Stanley Cup to his name, which he won with the Flames in 1989 and the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward with Leafs in 1993.
(http://video.mapleleafs.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=802&id=119916 â€“ Gilmour getting inducted).
From the moment Cliff Fletcher made that blockbuster deal to get him in a Leafs uniform, No. 93 will forever be known as a Maple Leafs legend, not only because of the records he holds with the club (1992â€“93: NHL – Most points in one season (127), Leafs record, 1992â€“93: NHL – Most assists in one season (95), also a Leafs record, 1992â€“93: NHL – Most assists in one game (6), you guessed it, Leafs club record) but also because of the way he played. Uncanny vision, fantastic passes, mesmerizing talent. Yet, he always put everything on the line for the club, Gilmour played physical, hard working hockey. Iâ€™ll simply remember him as the guy who played the game the way itâ€™s supposed to be played, perhaps more than any other player in the history of the game.
(http://video.mapleleafs.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=802&id=119943 â€“ Gilmour conference call).
Congratulations Killer, from all the staff at the Hot Stove, it was about bloody time.