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Is length of career a legitimate obstacle when it comes to the the HoF?

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12-01-2012, 01:21 AM
  #1
I Hate Chris Butler
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Is length of career a legitimate obstacle when it comes to the the HoF?

I've been browsing the boards for a while now and, for the most part, the level of dominance is the most important factor in whether or not a player should be able to get into the Hall of Fame. However, dominance is not the only factor as some people value longevity and stats just as much as dominance which is why you see guys like Recchi or Alfredsson brought up as possible inductions. Granted, I'm guilty of this myself; I made an Osgood thread in this forum a few years back which some of you may remember as to whether or not his stats alone were good enough to get him into the Hall, but that's not what I'm starting this thread about.

What I want to know is when does longevity matter more than longevity, particularly in the case of Tim Thomas or Alex Ovechkin. Current issues aside, Tim Thomas and Ovechkin have arguably had the best careers post lockout. Aside from Brodeur, Thomas is the only goalie to win two Vezinas post lockout, but Thomas also has a Conn Smythe. Ovechkin is the only player since Gretzky to threepeat the Lindsay, and the first since Hasek to repeat the Hart. The problem with these two is their dominance is short lived. Ovechkin's was from 05-06, to 09-10. Thomas' dominant play was from 08-11.

Compare that to guys like Mike Gartner, Curtis Joseph, or Ron Francis who were never the best players in the NHL at any point, but were extremely good players for long periods of time. In each case, all three rank particularly high in specific categories, Gartner: goals, Francis: points, and Joseph: wins. Thomas and Ovechkin, by comparison, have only 10 combined years of dominant play between them. However, in that time Thomas and Ovechkin have combined for 12 individual awards. Gartner, Joseph, and Francis have combined for 6.

I've seen people argue that Thomas shouldn't be in the Hall because he hasn't played long enough and the same for Ovechkin if he were to retire today. On the flip side, I've seen people argue for guys like Joseph who say "top 5 all time in wins" or Recchi (1500 points) as to why they should make the Hall.

Is length of career a legitimate hurdle, or is it overstated?

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12-01-2012, 01:32 AM
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Thomas has two Vezinas, a Smythe, and a Cup. He has almost 200 wins.

He's almost guaranteed to be in.

Ovechkin has five consecutive selections to the first team, three Lindsays, an Art Ross, two Richards, and most importantly two Harts. It's important that I note this: The only eligible Hart winner not currently in the HHOF is Eric Lindros. There have been few multiple winners, and even fewer who repeated as Ovechkin did. Combined with his domination of his position (named best LW for five years in a row from the start of his career) and you have not only a HHOF player, but one of the best LWs of all-time.

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12-01-2012, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Thomas has two Vezinas, a Smythe, and a Cup. He has almost 200 wins.

He's almost guaranteed to be in.
I don't think so. He needs a bit more longevity. At best he's a maybe. And his political grandstanding - including thumbing his nose at an NHL tradition of meeting the president - isn't going to endear him to any HHOF voters.

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12-01-2012, 03:06 AM
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For me Ovechkin is a no brainer. He has been considered the best LW in the game since he entered the league. He was also considered the best player (somewhat arguable) in the world for 2/3 years. I would say he is easily in the Hall.

Thomas is a hard choice, he has issues off ice and short career. But the story of his career is great. He won the best-player award in Finland and came to the Show as a veteran and pulled few Super-Elite seasons. Talking about fairytale.
Thing is tough, did Thomas have his great seasons in wrong time. It was basically the start of this weird goalie era, where stats are highly inflated. Like offense in the 80's. Will the voters have hard time believing that Thomas was one of the most skilled goalies ever, or was he a product of the era.

Be it anyway, Thomas will be an interesting case and winning Vezina and Smythe in the same year is basically as good as it gets.

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12-01-2012, 04:32 AM
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Is length of career a legitimate hurdle, or is it overstated?
No especially with Neely and Bure getting in the last few years. Lindros Im sure will get in eventually, though it will probably take a few more years.

Someone like Neely get a lot of flak for his induction and opening the door for other injury-shortened careers but at least he is more deserving of the HOF than the likes of Mike Gartner.

Idk about Thomas because the standard for goalies are a lot higher.

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12-01-2012, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Thomas has two Vezinas, a Smythe, and a Cup. He has almost 200 wins.

He's almost guaranteed to be in.

Ovechkin has five consecutive selections to the first team, three Lindsays, an Art Ross, two Richards, and most importantly two Harts. It's important that I note this: The only eligible Hart winner not currently in the HHOF is Eric Lindros. There have been few multiple winners, and even fewer who repeated as Ovechkin did. Combined with his domination of his position (named best LW for five years in a row from the start of his career) and you have not only a HHOF player, but one of the best LWs of all-time.
I have a feeling that Jose Theodore is going to break that trend. Can't see him getting in.

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12-01-2012, 05:36 AM
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I have a feeling that Jose Theodore is going to break that trend. Can't see him getting in.
The trend will simply be changed to reference skaters rather than all players. Not to mention Iginla should have had that one.

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12-01-2012, 05:36 AM
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For me Ovechkin is a no brainer. He has been considered the best LW in the game since he entered the league. He was also considered the best player (somewhat arguable) in the world for 2/3 years. I would say he is easily in the Hall.

Thomas is a hard choice, he has issues off ice and short career. But the story of his career is great. He won the best-player award in Finland and came to the Show as a veteran and pulled few Super-Elite seasons. Talking about fairytale.
Thing is tough, did Thomas have his great seasons in wrong time. It was basically the start of this weird goalie era, where stats are highly inflated. Like offense in the 80's. Will the voters have hard time believing that Thomas was one of the most skilled goalies ever, or was he a product of the era.

Be it anyway, Thomas will be an interesting case and winning Vezina and Smythe in the same year is basically as good as it gets.
I see it the same way. The thing is that Thomas' dominance is even shorter than OVs, but he has a Smythe going for him, which should help.
And while OVs career is already good enough for the HHOF, you have to keep in mind that he isn't done yet. Even if he is just a 35-45 goal scorer from now on, that further backs up his case in the long run. People are always pointing out that his play dropped, which is right - but in every other case, Top 10 finishes in goals or points (which he had both in the last two seasons) help the players chances, so why not in OVs? Seems like he can finish Top 10 in goals and scoring even in bad seasons, which tells you something about his ability.

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12-01-2012, 09:15 AM
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Thomas has two Vezinas, a Smythe, and a Cup. He has almost 200 wins.

He's almost guaranteed to be in.
Negative.

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12-01-2012, 09:45 AM
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I have a feeling that Jose Theodore is going to break that trend. Can't see him getting in.
Al Rollins won the Hart in 1953-54 and is not a HHOFer

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12-01-2012, 10:42 AM
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Tommy Anderson won the Hart as well and isn't in. There are a couple other than Lindros but it is few and far between. St. Louis is another player that some might think shouldn't get in and if they never play hockey again he'll be an interesting case. Honestly, the guy is going to be 38 in 2013, this lockout like the last one could be what keeps him from getting in.

But anyway, I think it is a mixed bag when it comes to the HHOF standards. I don't think anyone has an issue with Ron Francis in there. He gets in because of his longevity coupled with the Cups and some play that was pretty good in the 1990s, not to mention career numbers and playing for over 20 years.

Look, I think both cases are good. If a guy like Francis, or even Mike Gartner, can play in the best league in the world and maintain a level of play for that long then it says something about them. That's difficult especially with the aging process and the normal drop in play in your 30s. But to be a superstar for as long as Ovechkin was is pretty special as well. He had a 65 goal season, he was very much the face of the NHL alongside Crosby for a long time and he scored those goals with such dominance as well almost being unstoppable at times. Ovechkin arguably has the best season post lockout of anybody in 2008. The impact he has made on the NHL is worth an induction.

As for Thomas if he never plays again he'll have a career that'll grate on us for a while. I mean, a late bloomer, two Vezinas, the season in between he loses his starting job and then a Cup and a Conn Smythe performance that was amazing. He has played only 7 seasons and is already 38. He only has 196 wins. His performance was not a fluke because he was still pretty good last year. Even just 2-3 years more of padding his stats would get him in on a Bernie Parent type of induction (questionable longevity but gaudy play in his prime). I don't know, goalies are judged harshly. There are goalies with a better career than him not in right now.

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12-01-2012, 10:42 AM
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Tommy Anderson

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Al Rollins won the Hart in 1953-54 and is not a HHOFer
Add Tommy Anderson 1941-42 Hart.

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12-01-2012, 10:49 AM
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Longevity

Comes down to why longevity is lacking.

Hockey related injuries or death that shorten a career will see players get inducted - Gardiner, Orr, Neely, Bure just a short list.

Longevity that is lacking due to performance is another issue. Tim Thomas has to overcome questions about why he couldn't make the NHL earlier. Others that start well then slowdown have to answer the why question if injury is not a factor.

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12-01-2012, 01:46 PM
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What about Joe Thorton he doesn't have a cup but does he deserve to goin theHoF???

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12-01-2012, 02:28 PM
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What about Joe Thorton he doesn't have a cup but does he deserve to goin theHoF???
For sure. He will have the career numbers and he is one of the best playmakers in the game's history.

I don't think having a Cup will be as important to making the HoF now that there are 30 teams and the league's CBA promotes parity.

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12-01-2012, 02:40 PM
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What about Joe Thorton he doesn't have a cup but does he deserve to goin theHoF???
I think he does, only player besides Wayne and Mario to net two consecutive seasons of 90+ assists, I believe he is also one of the highest scoring players in the last decade too. 1,000 pts in under a 1,000 games, in the low scoring era. Numerous awards. Only thing holding him back is his lack of success in the post season, which I don't think should matter THAT much. I wouldn't say he's on par with Marcel Dionne, but I do think he should be considered one of the best players without a cup in a certain era.

Anyway, I think that if you really stood out in a short period of time then you deserve to be in. Neely, I think, deserves to be in because he's in the very elusive 50/50 club and was considered one of the best players when he wasn't injured.

Ovechkin, IMO, has had an even better career then Neely so far. Even in a poor year he's still 5th in the league for goals.

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12-03-2012, 12:42 AM
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What about Joe Thorton he doesn't have a cup but does he deserve to goin theHoF???
He's a strange case because there was nary a time when he stepped up his game in the postseason (and he was never a stand out on the Olympic teams either). His raw numbers are okay, but they are wooden. He didn't carry a very good team numerous times and if there is something that would keep him out it is this. I personally think he did enough outside of his playoff failures to get in though

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12-03-2012, 01:05 AM
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Somewhat related, but I imagine that in the coming years the induction committee will probably have to reconsider what counts as a long and full HOF career.

There are a whole bunch of now-aging players who are right on the edge of the Hall but will have lost more than 100 games due to the lockouts. That includes Datsyuk, St. Louis, Hossa, Elias, the Sedins, probably a few others I'm forgetting. Plus defensemen like Weber and goalies like Luongo and maybe even Kiprusoff.

All of those players will end up losing 1-2 seasons in their prime, and most of the forwards could fall just short of 1,000 points. I assume many of them will make it in eventually, but the benchmarks might have to change a bit to adjust for the low-scoring Bettman era where hockey gets canceled once or twice a decade.

(And obviously this doesn't apply to players like Malkin or Ovechkin or Thornton, who are locks no matter what.)

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12-03-2012, 01:36 AM
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Somewhat related, but I imagine that in the coming years the induction committee will probably have to reconsider what counts as a long and full HOF career.

There are a whole bunch of now-aging players who are right on the edge of the Hall but will have lost more than 100 games due to the lockouts. That includes Datsyuk, St. Louis, Hossa, Elias, the Sedins, probably a few others I'm forgetting. Plus defensemen like Weber and goalies like Luongo and maybe even Kiprusoff.

All of those players will end up losing 1-2 seasons in their prime, and most of the forwards could fall just short of 1,000 points. I assume many of them will make it in eventually, but the benchmarks might have to change a bit to adjust for the low-scoring Bettman era where hockey gets canceled once or twice a decade.

(And obviously this doesn't apply to players like Malkin or Ovechkin or Thornton, who are locks no matter what.)
My feeling is this: if you are a HHOFer you would have enough in your career to begin with. They can't re-define the standards just because Bettman and Goodenow/Fehr were terrible leaders and the players and owners didn't have a clue. If Alfredsson, Hossa, Naslund, St. Louis, etc. "could" have become HHOFers had they played those seasons then it is just too bad. They didn't play and may as well be injured in those years. You can't reward a player for something he didn't do. Maybe they blow their knee out and miss the entire season anyway. In Alfredsson's case he has been a major player in both lockouts and is probably his own worst enemy from having what might have been a clearer HHOF career.

I wouldn't worry about Weber though. He's the best defenseman in the NHL right now even if he's been shortchanged a Norris. The players are aiding in how their careers pan out since they are participating in a cancelled season. You could find a player or two that would have had a stronger career and one that would catapult them to the HHOF without World War II. So why not the lockouts?

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12-03-2012, 09:51 AM
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My feeling is this: if you are a HHOFer you would have enough in your career to begin with. They can't re-define the standards just because Bettman and Goodenow/Fehr were terrible leaders and the players and owners didn't have a clue.
Sure, the induction committee could just decide to do things this way, but in that case, there might end up being a lot fewer HOF players from this era than from other eras.

There are all sorts of players in the HOF now who likely wouldn't be in if you took away two of their prime years to lockout. Lanny McDonald is probably out. Joe Mullen's out. Bernie Federko. Daryl Sittler. Pat Lafontaine. Rod Gilbert. I'm probably forgetting a bunch.

Maybe there's just nothing to be done here, but the lockouts could have a pretty big impact there.

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12-03-2012, 05:36 PM
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Sure, the induction committee could just decide to do things this way, but in that case, there might end up being a lot fewer HOF players from this era than from other eras.

There are all sorts of players in the HOF now who likely wouldn't be in if you took away two of their prime years to lockout. Lanny McDonald is probably out. Joe Mullen's out. Bernie Federko. Daryl Sittler. Pat Lafontaine. Rod Gilbert. I'm probably forgetting a bunch.

Maybe there's just nothing to be done here, but the lockouts could have a pretty big impact there.
But to be fair, they DID those seasons. They weren't sititng on their butts at home on Twitter crying about Gary Bettman and the owners either. You'd be giving them too much credit for something they MAY have accomplished and in the case of those above HHOFers you mentioned I agree that even some of them have that one great season in their career that pushed them over the top but at least they showed they could do it instead of having us guess.

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12-03-2012, 05:50 PM
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My feeling is this: if you are a HHOFer you would have enough in your career to begin with. They can't re-define the standards just because Bettman and Goodenow/Fehr were terrible leaders and the players and owners didn't have a clue. If Alfredsson, Hossa, Naslund, St. Louis, etc. "could" have become HHOFers had they played those seasons then it is just too bad. They didn't play and may as well be injured in those years. You can't reward a player for something he didn't do. Maybe they blow their knee out and miss the entire season anyway. In Alfredsson's case he has been a major player in both lockouts and is probably his own worst enemy from having what might have been a clearer HHOF career.

I wouldn't worry about Weber though. He's the best defenseman in the NHL right now even if he's been shortchanged a Norris. The players are aiding in how their careers pan out since they are participating in a cancelled season. You could find a player or two that would have had a stronger career and one that would catapult them to the HHOF without World War II. So why not the lockouts?
agree with all of those names except st. louis.

with a hart, a pearson, probably the second most important player on a cup winner, plus a third place hart finish, a fourth place selke finish, first team all-star, three second team all-stars, and two top five goals finishes, five top ten assists finishes (including a first, second, and fifth), and four top ten points finishes (including a first, second, and fifth), this to me is one of those cases where losing two prime years will be taken into account because he accomplished so much in a career that might not hit 1,000 games.


thomas is an interesting case. in two non-consecutive peak years, he did a ridiculous amount. not quite parent, but as close to parent's brief peak as any non-top six goalie since the second world war. on the other hand, as has been mentioned above, there is a precedent with high peak goalies not making it. the nature of the position is such that a guy can peak very high and not have much else to hang his hat on. could thomas fall into that category? especially when his peers giguere and theodore, whose single best years could arguably be considered better than thomas, are huge longshots to even be in the HHOF conversation?

all that said, as time passes and we forget the way thomas left the game (if indeed he doesn't come back after the lockout), his hasek-like numbers will remain staggering, which has to help in comparison to, say, an 80s goalie like pelle lindbergh.

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12-03-2012, 05:58 PM
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To those saying Ovechkin and Thomas should get in, are you saying they will if they retired today, or are you assuming they'll be in after another few years of decent performance?

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12-03-2012, 06:03 PM
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Bill Durnan.

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12-03-2012, 06:15 PM
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. You could find a player or two that would have had a stronger career and one that would catapult them to the HHOF without World War II. So why not the lockouts?
Disagree. The HHOF quite obviously gives players "what if" credit for World War 2. See Bobby Bauer, Woody Dumart, and your favorite Edgar Laprade for 3 examples off the top of my head.

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