With the list of outstanding players that might be eligible for the 2014 induction into Hockey’s Hall of Fame, it might be difficult for anyone to say which ones might make the best candidates. There are so many players that are straddling the line between good and great and deserve to be recognized for their talent.
But the inclusion does not necessarily end with playing skills alone. One must also consider a number of different factors that truly make these players stand out in the crowd. Have they received any personal awards and how do they contribute over all to the success of the team? On and off the ice, what kind of character to they possess – think sportsmanship, media presence, team spirit? How and where do they dominate on the ice? Not an easy decision, on the whole, and being a member of the selection committee is far from an enviable position.
Not all with agree with the decisions that they do make, in fact. The process is, by nature, highly subjective and there will always be debate about what constitutes the defining qualities of a Hall of Fame inductee. In some years, it may go without question and in others, not so much. It can often trigger some lengthy discussions amongst committee members and this is just a necessary part of the privilege. And just to start the debate, let’s take a look at some of the individuals that will be eligible starting next fall.
• Pat Burns – Three time coach of the year recipient who took New Jersey to grab the Cup, he would be a post mortem inductee after losing his battle with cancer in November 2010.
• Curtis Joseph – In the all-time fourth position for best career goaltender, boasting 454 wins in his career, he is one of the only goaltender in the top 10 besides Osgood that is not yet in the Hall of Fame.
• Dominik Hasek – Here is a man that was exceptionally dominant in his position and has garnered numerous individual and team awards. Along with a couple of Stanley Cup rings, he’s also picked up six Vezina trophies and a couple of Hart awards.
• Peter Forsberg – Although his career was cut short by injury, he has managed to still pack plenty of impact into his 708 regular season games, accumulating 885 in those games plus another 171 in postseason games. This puts him in 8th place for career points per game behind greats such as Gretsky, Bobby Orr and Sidney Crosby.
• Mike Modano – You can consider Mike one of the players that hockey back on the map in the U.S. He is second only to Brett Hull as an American born player with 561 goals to his credit.
• Eric Lindros – Lindros has his moment of dominance and at that time was a driving force. While there were some ups and downs that may make one feel that he does not deserve this reward, he made an impact
• Don Cherry – Maybe it is enough to simply know that Bobby Orr strongly fees that his former coach should be inducted and while that was some time ago, Cherry has continued to be one of the faces of hockey through his longstanding work with the CBC as an analyst. Love him or hate him there is no denying his effect on the game.