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11-10-2012, 10:45 PM
God Bless Canada
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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It still astounds me that Shanahan isn't going in as a first-ballot guy. There is absolutely no argument for not inducting him this year. You want it? He has it. Elite player status. Longevity. Team success. Multi-faceted contributions. Numbers. Leadership. Character. Impact. It's the most astounding first ballot snub since Dale Hawerchuk in 2000. For one year, Shanahan will unfortunately be the best eligible NHL player not in the HHOF.

So hopefully he'll get in 2013. And you can be certain that he'll be joined by Niedermayer and Chelios. I don't think there needs to be any discussion on their credentials. And I wouldn't be surprised if it's just Shanahan, Niedermayer and Chelios.

Some interesting names are on the ballot for the first time:

*Rob Blake: I think Blake gets in eventually, but not on the first ballot. He won't be the best eligible defenceman not in the HHOF (that honour belongs to JC Tremblay), but Blake will likely get in before Tremblay. The reason I think Blake gets in is the regard with which he's held by hockey people. Coaches and executives gush about Blake, and they all want the next Blake. He's not a role-defining defenceman like Pronger or Lidstrom, and he's not a unique proposition like Chara, but it's hard to find guys like Blake.

*Brind'Amour: Few have done more after their 34th birthday. He captained a Cup champion, was a strong playoff MVP finalist in 2006, scored at about a 75-point clip for three years, and won two Selkes. (Although even Brind'Amour will admit the second one was faulty voting by the media, that Sami Pahlsson should have won it). You can make a very good case for him when you consider he has 1,295 points (including playoffs) while playing the ultra-consistent game that he did. The drawback, and it will keep him out, is the perception by coaches and executives that he was the protoypical, ideal second line centre. A second line centre not based on circumstance, but based on ability. Top teams wouldn't have wanted him as a first line centre, but every one of them would have paid a great expense to have him as their second line centre.

*Keith Tkachuk: He'll never get in. If you would have asked me a decade ago about Tkachuk's chances, I would have said "he'll get in eventually." The big power winger that every team covets. There weren't many guys who were over a point-per-game from 1993 to 2004; even fewer brought Tkachuk's goal-scoring ability or imposing physical game. Hhis post-season resume - which could have been what elevated him to HHOFer - is very underwhelming: he scored at under a 30-goal clip from 1993 to 2004 - not impressive for a guy who was a perennial threat to score at least 40 during that time.

*Paul Kariya: Another one of those guys who at one point looked to be a shoo-in. From a skill, instincts and creativity perspective, he was the ultimate offensive weapon. The only thing he lacked was an extra four inches and 25 pounds. It's too bad the injuries hit; it robbed us the joy of watching one of the best LWs to enter the game in the last 40 years. He's another guy who could have used a strong playoff resume to firm up his case. It's not a farce like Tkachuk's, but it's still lacking. Kariya likely won't ever get in. The small committee size for the HHOF hurts guys like Kariya the most; you only need four of 18 guys to say "no" to keep him out.

It's nice to finally hear people in the mainstream talking about Makarov's candidacy. I would have inducted him in 2008 alongside Larionov. It's a little ironic that Larionov got in on the second ballot, while Makarov's been waiting for about a decade, since most overseas observers will tell you that Makarov was the better player. But Larionov was, for the most part, a better player in the NHL, and won three Cups, while Makarov's playoff performances in Calgary nearly punched his ticket out of the NHL after the 1991 post-season.

Other guys mentioned in this thread:

*Andreychuk: I wouldn't be surprised if Andreychuk eventually gets in. Our last real memories of Andreychuk are great: he was incredible as the captain of the 2004 Cup champs. His career numbers are impressive, but dig deeper. He played nearly 100 more games than any other LW in NHL history. There are career numbers you shouldn't say "no" to when it comes to enshrinement: 700 goals; 1,000 assists; 1,500 points. Andreychuk didn't reach those points. And he needed over 1,600 games to reach 640 goals and 1,338 points. (1,801 GP/1,435 P including playoffs). And his playoff numbers weren't sensational, either. A lot to like, but a lot of drawbacks. Too many "yeah, but" issues in his argument.

*Lindros: Lindros is going to have a really hard time getting in. It's really easy to find people in the game who don't think he should be in. The final four years of his career were a farce, even though he wasn't at an age in which he should be playing at a high level. If he would have retired after 2000, he'd have likely been a first or second ballot guy. And he was pretty good in 2001-02. But the last four years, combined with the off-ice drama, and the fact that he never learned from his mistakes, makes him one of the most polarizing players in league history, and his case much easier to argue against than many think.

*Theo Fleury: His enshrinement will come down to whether people give him a pass for the issues that are connected to the Graham James abuse. He was the small forward that everybody wanted, not just for his skill level, but for his tenacity, intensity and physical play. He was fantastic in the playoffs. He was also a handful off the ice, even before the off-ice boiled over in New York. Again, with only four people needed to say no to a candidate, Fleury's going to have a very hard time. I'd vote for him, but I put a premium on post-season, and some of Fleury's other attributes.

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