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Players who were one win away from the HHOF

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02-18-2011, 11:11 PM
  #1
reckoning
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Players who were one win away from the HHOF

This thread is partially inspired by the recent one on here about Pavel Bure, and if he would be a member of the Hall had two games which his team lost had been won instead.

I was curious if there are any players not in the Hall who probably would be had one single game gone the other way. One game may not seem like very much, but in some circumstances it can add a lot to a players resume.

One example:

Rick Middleton (Game 7 Semi-Final vs. Montreal): While everyone remembers the too-many-men-on-the-ice call and Lafleur's dramatic tying goal, it's overshadowed how outstanding Middleton (along with Cashman and Ratelle) was in that game. He figured in all four Bruin goals (2G, 2A) and more importantly scored the goal that put Boston up 4-3 in the 3rd. If the penalty doesn't happen, or if the Bruins kill it, then the story of that night becomes how Boston ended the Montreal dynasty with Middleton as the main hero. Consider that Boston likely would've beaten the Rangers in the Final and won the Cup; with all that added to Middleton's already impressive career accomplishments, I don't see how he could be kept out.

Can anyone suggest other players who are only one game away from HHOF induction? For example, do any other Soviets definitely get in if they beat Canada in the '87 Canada Cup Final?

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02-18-2011, 11:41 PM
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If the Red Wings had won game 7 against the Pens in 2009 it would probably had been hard keeping Osgood out. He really had two Conn Smythe worthy performances in 2008 and 2009. Adding a Conn Smythe and another Cup to his existing resume would probably have tipped the scales imho.

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02-18-2011, 11:52 PM
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Mike RichterIf he Wins in 2002 gold medal game in Salt Lake, he would have hadhad a world cup, Olympic medal and a Stanley. It would be VERY hard to keep him out of the hall with those winning accomplishments.

Chris Osgood:

If he wins in 2009, he's a shoo-in for the Hall.

Brian Propp:

If he wins in game 7 1987, he'd have a cup. I"m still not sure it would be enough to get him in the Hall, but he'd def get more consideration. It's crazy that he's only a handful of wins away 5 cups.

Pavel Bure: If he wins in game 7 in 1994, I think he gets in. I also mentioned the 1998gold medal game to boot.

Also, a 2003 Ducks win would certainly put coach Mike Babcock into a sure-fire hall of fame coach. Not to mention, another single win in 2009 could have helped his resume so much too.

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02-19-2011, 12:07 AM
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I have never bought this line of thinking, although I do think it prevails a bit in the HHOF voting members.

Last time I looked no individual player has ever won the Cup, it's a team accomplishment and too often players are over rated for playing on great team situations (Guy Lafluer and Glenn Anderson come to mind) while others are under rated for playing on poor teams (Marcel Dionne and Dale Hawerchuck are the flip sides to the 1st 2 guys mentioned).

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02-19-2011, 12:32 AM
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In addition to many of the players already mentioned, I would say Mark Howe would already be in had Philadelphia won game 7 in 1987 and Hextall would probably have a decent shot as well. If Pittsburgh had beaten the Islanders in game 7 in 1993 I really do not see them losing in either of the next two rounds. If they won three Cups in a row Barrasso would be in.

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02-19-2011, 02:31 AM
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if soviet union had won the '72 series, accomplishments outside of the NHL may have been seen very differently by HHOF, and many more non-NHL players may have been inducted. 1 of those games could have had a big effect on several generations of players.



imo, makarov, krutov and possibly kasatonov would probably be inducted if soviet union had defeated a team of gretzky, lemieux, bourque, coffey, messier, etc, in '87 CC.

possibly john gottselig if chicago had won game 5 of '31 finals. gottselig would have 3 rings with chicago ('31, '34, '38), which was generally a mediocre team in the '30s (never finished 1st, and below .500 5 times). gottselig was chicago's best or 2nd best scorer in the regular season in the '30s and was their leading scorer in the playoffs in '31 and '38, and led the team in playoff goals in '34.
i think gottselig was more of a star than herb lewis, a contemporary who was inducted.

possibly dave kerr. if NYR had won game 4 or 5 of '37 finals. kerr was a 2 time AS, would have 2 rings, and had very good career numbers. only had 1 losing season.

possibly theo fleury. if colorado had won game 7 of '99 WCF, they probably would have defeated buffalo. would also help chances for claude lemieux.

possibly paul kariya. 2003 game 7. one of the top stars of the period, 5 time AS, twice 3rd in scoring.

possibly pat stapleton and bill white if chicago had won game 7 in '71.

datsyuk and zetterberg would also be likely HHOFers, imo, if they had won game 6 or 7 in 2009.

bernie morris of PCHA may have been inducted if seattle metropolitans had won game 4 or 5 in 1919 or game 5 in 1920. 1919 series was canceled b/c of influenza.
in 1917 finals, morris scored 14g in 4 games vs montreal, but, for some reason, that is not considered the record for points in a finals series.
morris compares well statisitically to many other inducted players of his era, but may have been excluded from HHOF b/c of accusations of avoiding the draft for WW1.

possibly flash hollett if DRW had won game 7 in '45, after trailing 0-3 in the series. hollett would have 3 rings and was one of the highest scoring d-men of the era.
probably would not be inducted, though.

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02-19-2011, 03:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve141 View Post
If the Red Wings had won game 7 against the Pens in 2009 it would probably had been hard keeping Osgood out. He really had two Conn Smythe worthy performances in 2008 and 2009. Adding a Conn Smythe and another Cup to his existing resume would probably have tipped the scales imho.
No way he gets the Conn over Zetterberg unless voters deliberately punish Zetterberg for winning the previous year.

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02-19-2011, 04:31 AM
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No way he gets the Conn over Zetterberg unless voters deliberately punish Zetterberg for winning the previous year.
imo, zetterberg was better, but i think osgood would win for that reason.

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02-19-2011, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by connellc View Post
Mike RichterIf he Wins in 2002 gold medal game in Salt Lake, he would have hadhad a world cup, Olympic medal and a Stanley. It would be VERY hard to keep him out of the hall with those winning accomplishments.
Mike Richter was not going to make the HHOF regardless of the outcome of the 2002 Gold Medal Game. He was a clutch goaltender, as evidenced by his performances in both the 1994 playoffs and the 2002 Olympics, but don't confuse a clutch goalie with a Hall of Fame goalie. Richter won 30 games only twice in his career, and finished top-5 in Vezina voting only twice, never higher than third place. Curtis Joseph and Olaf Kolzig were much better goaltenders during the same era, and only Joseph has even a remote chance of making the Hall.


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imo, zetterberg was better, but i think osgood would win for that reason.
Zetterberg's performance in the 2009 playoffs might have been more impressive than his previous year's Conn Smythe performance. Pavel Datsyuk struggled offensively during much of the 2009 playoffs, even before he missed 7 games with a foot injury. Marian Hossa scored 40 goals in the regular season, then promptly turned into Marcel Hossa after the first round. Zetterberg and Johan Franzen carried Detroit's offense, especially during the first three rounds. Obviously, Zetterberg drew the monstrous task of shadowing Sidney Crosby during the Cup Finals. That task is difficult enough for any forward, and becomes downright insane when that forward is also expected to be his team's primary source of offense. It does help when the greatest defenseman of this generation was also on the ice against Crosby, but Zetterberg's physical play clearly took Crosby off his game to the point of open frustration. It was one of the greatest shutdown performances in Cup Finals history.

I don't believe that Zetterberg would have been punished for winning the Smythe the previous year. If anything, he might have garnered more votes for doing what he did with very, very little help from Pavel Datsyuk. That said, no one truly has any idea what the usually unpredictable Conn Smythe voters would have done. It might have been Fedorov-Vernon from 1997 all over again, although that was probably a result of the Russian factor.


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02-19-2011, 06:56 AM
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Howe should be in anyway, but a win over the Oilers in game 7, in 1987 probably gets him in, and gives Brian Propp a big boost.

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02-19-2011, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by connellc View Post
Chris Osgood:

If he wins in 2009, he's a shoo-in for the Hall.
I'm not totally sold on whether Osgood deserves to be there or not, but he was exceptional for Detroit in both '08 and '09. Had he won in 2009, it would give him three Cups as a starter. When a goalie has won three Stanley Cups, the onus changes from "prove why he deserves to be in the Hall" to "prove why he doesn't".


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Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan
Howe should be in anyway, but a win over the Oilers in game 7, in 1987 probably gets him in, and gives Brian Propp a big boost.
I agree he should already be there, and that game would've cemented it. For some reason the Hall usually seems to insist that a defenceman or goalie who never won a Norris or Vezina has to have a Stanley Cup to get in (Park and Salming being the only exceptions). Yet they don't mind inducting forwards who have never come close to winning the Cup.

The other "what if" about that game is if Glenn Anderson still makes the Hall had Philly won. He was a controversial selection already, but his insurance goal in that game was probably the highlight of his career. Without that, his case might be weakened a bit.

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Originally Posted by nik jr
imo, makarov, krutov and possibly kasatonov would probably be inducted if soviet union had defeated a team of gretzky, lemieux, bourque, coffey, messier, etc, in '87 CC.

possibly john gottselig if chicago had won game 5 of '31 finals. gottselig would have 3 rings with chicago ('31, '34, '38), which was generally a mediocre team in the '30s (never finished 1st, and below .500 5 times). gottselig was chicago's best or 2nd best scorer in the regular season in the '30s and was their leading scorer in the playoffs in '31 and '38, and led the team in playoff goals in '34.
i think gottselig was more of a star than herb lewis, a contemporary who was inducted.

possibly dave kerr. if NYR had won game 4 or 5 of '37 finals. kerr was a 2 time AS, would have 2 rings, and had very good career numbers. only had 1 losing season.

possibly theo fleury. if colorado had won game 7 of '99 WCF, they probably would have defeated buffalo. would also help chances for claude lemieux.

possibly paul kariya. 2003 game 7. one of the top stars of the period, 5 time AS, twice 3rd in scoring.

possibly pat stapleton and bill white if chicago had won game 7 in '71.
Interesting choices, I agree that most deserve to be there:

Makarov would almost certainly be there with the Canada Cup. Not sure about the other two.

I've always been puzzled by Johnny Gottselig's omission. The '31 Cup may have been enough for him.

Dave Kerr walked away from the game at a fairly early age. He clashed often with Lester Patrick over salary, and was never fond of the NHL establishment even long after his career was over. It could be that politics kept him out of the Hall more than anything.

Neither Fleury or Lemieux will likely make it, but they'll be kept out for personal/attitude reasons rather than not being good enough.

I don't think it would change anything with White or Stapleton. White's NHL career was still fairly short, and Stapleton's chances were probably hurt more by going to the WHA.

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02-19-2011, 09:30 AM
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Gerry McNeil - Well two games. If things had gone differently against Barilko in 1951 and Leswick in '54........

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02-19-2011, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I have never bought this line of thinking, although I do think it prevails a bit in the HHOF voting members.

Last time I looked no individual player has ever won the Cup, it's a team accomplishment and too often players are over rated for playing on great team situations (Guy Lafluer and Glenn Anderson come to mind) while others are under rated for playing on poor teams (Marcel Dionne and Dale Hawerchuck are the flip sides to the 1st 2 guys mentioned).
I agree.

Marcel Dionne and Glenn Anderson may be the best examples.

But not Guy Lafleur.

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02-19-2011, 12:04 PM
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Mike Richter was not going to make the HHOF regardless of the outcome of the 2002 Gold Medal Game. He was a clutch goaltender, as evidenced by his performances in both the 1994 playoffs and the 2002 Olympics, but don't confuse a clutch goalie with a Hall of Fame goalie. Richter won 30 games only twice in his career, and finished top-5 in Vezina voting only twice, never higher than third place. Curtis Joseph and Olaf Kolzig were much better goaltenders during the same era, and only Joseph has even a remote chance of making the Hall.
Joseph might qualify as an example himself. If the Leafs beat Carolina in Game 2 in the 2002 ECF, they'd have been up 2-0 going home. It's probable that they make the final given that situation. Joseph being the first goalie to lead Toronto to a final in 35 years would have given his HOF chances a boost for sure. He probably would have been "on the fence" as opposed to "doubtful".

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02-19-2011, 12:20 PM
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He probably gets in due to his regular season resume + international track record, but Jarome Iginla could really use a Cup ring to cement his legacy.

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02-19-2011, 12:21 PM
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Ron Hextall immediately springs to mind. If he takes game 7 in 1987, he's got a hell of a shot (assuming Chris Chelios and Kent Nilsson aren't on the selection committee )

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02-19-2011, 12:39 PM
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He probably gets in due to his regular season resume + international track record, but Jarome Iginla could really use a Cup ring to cement his legacy.
Iginla will get voted in on the first ballot. He's a very popular player with an Art Ross trophy and impressive goal totals.

If New Jersey won game 7 in 2001 I think Patrik Elias would be an interesting case as probably the best forward on three cup winning teams. He could probably sneak in during a weak year with three cups.

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02-19-2011, 01:33 PM
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Iginla will get voted in on the first ballot. He's a very popular player with an Art Ross trophy and impressive goal totals.

If New Jersey won game 7 in 2001 I think Patrik Elias would be an interesting case as probably the best forward on three cup winning teams. He could probably sneak in during a weak year with three cups.
Elias wasn't necessary the team's best forward in every playoff run (definitely not in 2003), but there's no doubt he was the best forward on the team overall during that period.

Call me a homer, but I think Elias deserves enshrinement a lot more than the likes of Ciccarelli.

Winning Game 7 in 2001 would also turn Alex Moginly from "highly doubtful" to "possible."


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02-19-2011, 02:48 PM
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Elias wasn't necessary the team's best forward in every playoff run (definitely not in 2003), but there's no doubt he was the best forward on the team overall during that period.

Call me a homer, but I think Elias deserves enshrinement a lot more than the likes of Ciccarelli.

Winning Game 7 in 2001 would also turn Alex Moginly from "highly doubtful" to "possible."
Can't agree but cant disagree either. Ciccarelli is a questionable choice for HoF but I would probably question Elias just as much.

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02-19-2011, 06:06 PM
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If the Red Wings had won game 7 against the Pens in 2009 it would probably had been hard keeping Osgood out. He really had two Conn Smythe worthy performances in 2008 and 2009. Adding a Conn Smythe and another Cup to his existing resume would probably have tipped the scales imho.

I beg your pardon? Where was I when Osgood had a Conn Smythe worthy year in 2008? Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom and even Franzen had more impact. 2008 was a typical Osgood Cup year, the Wings won based on their system and top lines. Osgood has only merely been a "good" goalie even when winning the Cups. No one thinks of Osgood when they think of those Cups. I'm glad he didn't win in 2009, because on paper it would be very difficult to exclude him. In other words, in 50 years voters would look on paper and induct him while everyone who witnessed him and knew he was nothing special are all deceased.

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I have never bought this line of thinking, although I do think it prevails a bit in the HHOF voting members.

Last time I looked no individual player has ever won the Cup, it's a team accomplishment and too often players are over rated for playing on great team situations (Guy Lafluer and Glenn Anderson come to mind) while others are under rated for playing on poor teams (Marcel Dionne and Dale Hawerchuck are the flip sides to the 1st 2 guys mentioned).
Can't agree with Lafleur. Anderson to an extent yes, but you can't deny his importance in those Oiler wins either. 17 game winning goals in the playoffs do not happen to a mere passenger. Lafleur on the other hand was a Hart winner, a Conn Smythe winner and won the Art Ross three times. You cannot overrate his importance to that Habs dynasty. I've seen posters on here try and persuade people into believing that either one of Gainey, Robinson or Dryden were more important but they weren't. Only Robinson is within a respectable distance..........and even then

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02-19-2011, 06:33 PM
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Someone said Richter. Hmmm, good call but still a tough one. If he wins the 2002 Gold Medal game it would make a very compelling argument. Right now the majority of us say no and I agree. But he was making some good saves in that game because the USA was being outclassed that whole game. Give him credit to keep it close, but then he allowed a weaker insurance goal from Iginla and then got beat clean on a breakaway. Final score 5-2. But in order for the USA to win that game he'd have to be like the 1996 World Cup again and that would mean literally saving the bacon of the Americans. So.........if he has his 1994 Cup win, his 1996 World Cup performance and another memorable performance in the 2002 Olympics coupled with 301 wins I think it would turn some more heads. There would still be people who watched him that would know better, and his Vezina voting record would still be bad but there would be talk at least.

Agree with Middleton. Here's why. As it stands now, he is a cat's whisker away from the HHOF. Some people want him in there, others wouldn't complain and even the detractors won't cut him up. As of now he is still missing something and a Cup is just that thing. If the Bruins win Game #7 in 1979 they beat NYR in the final (sorry Phil Esposito). Middleton along with Ratelle would be in the running for the Conn Smythe. Either way, he is a key piece of the puzzle to a Cup win. Not only that, think about this. If Boston wins Cherry doesn't get fired. He keeps coaching and in the spring of 1980 the Bruins are the defending champs and just might have a little more swagger to them when they play the eventual 1980 champs the Isles. Instead they are a beaten down Habs-tortured team in the spring of 1980. So yes, this is a rare case where one game might be that powerful.

I've always found Ken Hodge to be rather close to the HHOF. This might be a longshot but if the Bruins win a couple more important games (Game 7 1971 vs. Habs, Game 6 1974 final and likely win in Game 7) then maybe his perception is changed a bit. Being an offensive part of a three peat can't hurt. Or would he still be in the shadow (deservingly) of Orr and Esposito? Probably the former, but it's worth a shot.

For Pat Quinn, either one of 1980 Game 6 final (Flyers win at home in Game 7 in my mind) or 1994 Cup final Game 7 would cement him into the HHOF. The only knock against the man is a lack of Cup. He has the numbers, the Jack Adams trophies and the Olympics/World Cup resume. Eventually you'd have to sit back and wonder at the impact this guy had on players and induct him as a builder.

Well it sure isn't a game, but if Andy Moog wins the 1990 Cup final maybe things change for him. If I were to pick one game I guess I'd say Game #1 that went into Triple overtime. If Glen Wesley puts a back end into a yawning cage I'd wonder if the Oilers would come back. Maybe they would, because they are the Oilers, and they probably would, but that game was a big pendulum swing and if Moog wins a Cup against the team he was traded from then it might change the perception people have of being the "back up" on the dynasty Oilers.

Here's a big pendulum swing. Kevin Stevens. Game 7 1993 Isles/Pens series. The Pens were outplaying the Isles that game and if he doesn't sustain his injury that game I think the Pens win since he was the best LW in the game at that time. That game could have given the Pens a scare and they could have won a third Cup in a row. Stevens would have been a big part of that. Could an offensive star be shut out if he was on a three peat? Plus let's not forget that he probably is the same player for a while after that rather than what we saw.

Long, long, long shot but Kirk McLean in Game 7 of the 1994 Cup final? Possibly a Conn Smyther winner. Or would it just be regarded as a good goalie who got hot one spring and it's nothing more than an abberation?

Sergei Gonchar. The vision we have of him now in recent memory is that awful soft play where he allowed a Hab to walk around him for a shorthanded goal in Game 7 of the Habs/Pens 2010 series. If the Pens win that game they are probably the best team left in the playoffs. A Crosby/Malkin/Staal/Fleury Pens team has proven they can spank the Flyers and I think the defending champs would have beaten Chicago. But that leaves Gonchar as the top d-man on back to back Cups. Not to mention three straight final appearances. We can assume he'd have played well the rest of the way and maybe the Pens don't let him go to free agency. All of the sudden with two 2nd team all-stars, the longevity, decent Norris voting and another Cup final visit (1998) make Gonchar a much more probable candidate.

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02-19-2011, 06:44 PM
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Pavel Bure: If he wins in game 7 in 1994, I think he gets in. I also mentioned the 1998 gold medal game to boot.
See, that right there is a problem. Bure' was flashy, a creative offensive player when he "wanted" to be, and also a guy who occasionally but not always rose to the moment. Character is a consideration as well, and lets just say his "choice of friends" off the ice was "questionable" ?. Not even in contention IMO.

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In addition to many of the players already mentioned, I would say Mark Howe would already be in had Philadelphia won game 7 in 1987 and Hextall would probably have a decent shot as well. If Pittsburgh had beaten the Islanders in game 7 in 1993 I really do not see them losing in either of the next two rounds. If they won three Cups in a row Barrasso would be in.
Both Howe & Hextall for all the right reasons, including DNA Jack. Barrasso?. Seriously under-rated for sure, but HHOF material?.

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02-19-2011, 07:50 PM
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Both Howe & Hextall for all the right reasons, including DNA Jack. Barrasso?. Seriously under-rated for sure, but HHOF material?.
I would only put Howe in the HOF out of those three, regardless of whether or not the outcome of those respectve games changed. If Pittsburgh went on to win that third consecutive cup then Barrasso would be the goaltender of a legitimate dynasty, and the last by the time he became eligible. There would be no chance that they keep him out.

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02-19-2011, 09:10 PM
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I would only put Howe in the HOF out of those three, regardless of whether or not the outcome of those respectve games changed. If Pittsburgh went on to win that third consecutive cup then Barrasso would be the goaltender of a legitimate dynasty, and the last by the time he became eligible. There would be no chance that they keep him out.
Right.

For good reasons dynasty goalies are in the HHOF. Broda, Sawchuk, Plante, Bower, Worsley, Dryden, Smith and Fuhr. It is very difficult to argue a goalie who wins those Cups consecutively at the highest level when the stakes are high should be excluded. The classic saying that "you need a goalie to win" well, you do. And all of these men were very important in that role.

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02-20-2011, 02:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I beg your pardon? Where was I when Osgood had a Conn Smythe worthy year in 2008? Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom and even Franzen had more impact. 2008 was a typical Osgood Cup year, the Wings won based on their system and top lines. Osgood has only merely been a "good" goalie even when winning the Cups. No one thinks of Osgood when they think of those Cups. I'm glad he didn't win in 2009, because on paper it would be very difficult to exclude him. In other words, in 50 years voters would look on paper and induct him while everyone who witnessed him and knew he was nothing special are all deceased.
Osgood had a .930 save percentage in the 2008 playoffs and a .920 in the 2009. On top of that some of his best performances were in close games where he was a deciding factor. Those numbers are definitely Conn Smythe level.

(For comparison, the greatest playoff goaltender ever, Patrick Roy, had a .934 save percentage in his best playoff, and only .002 more than Osgood over his career. I am obviously not saying that Osgood played on a Roy level, only that Osgood was very, very good)


For what it's worth, I actually chose my words very carefully. I did not say that I personally would have voted for him, only that it would have been hard keeping him out with another cup and a Conn Smythe. Personally, I think Osgood's career is overrated and would have picked Zetterberg for the Conn Smythe both years.

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