The Hockey Hall of Fame can only induct four players each year and it would be hard to argue with the choices this year, announced Tuesday. Going into the Hall in a Nov. 12 ceremony will be Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure and Adam Oates.
Sakic was surely an easy choice, the smooth-skating captain of the Colorado Avalanche won two Stanley Cups (with the only franchise he played with), a host of NHL awards including a Hart Trophy and the Conn Smythe, and finished with 625 goals and 1,016 assists. The prototypical 'quiet' leader, the native of Burnaby, B.C. is considered one of the more respected players in the game. He won gold with Canada at Salt Lake City in 2002.
Bure, Sundin and Oates make Hall of Fame
The others all brought something special to the game. Bure spent the majority of his career with the Vancouver Canucks but he also played with the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers, had mercurial speed and a deadly touch around the net. Forced to retire early due to knee problems, the Russian Rocket finished with 437 goals and 779 points in 702 games. He twice scored 60 goals and three times had over 50.
Like Sakic, Sundin is the points leader for a franchise, the big Swede finished with 564 goals, 785 assists for 1349 points, scoring 987 of his points in a Leafs uniform, the most of any Leaf. Most of his other points came as a Quebec Nordiques, though he played his last campaign with the Vancouver Canucks in 2009. Sundin never won a Cup but won Gold at the 2006 Olympics, where he was the captain of the Swedish team.
Adam Oates,too, did not win a Stanley Cup but Oates, who's just been named the coach of the Washington Capitals, was one of the slickest passing centers hockey has known. He finished up his career, where he played for Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton, with 1,079 assists, 6th all-time in the NHL.
Roenick, Shanahan: first time eligibility
Naturally, given that limit for four, many do not make it. Jeremy Roenick, Brendan Shanahan, Olaf Kolzig and Claude Lemieux were on the ballot the first time and did not make it. Dave Andreychuk, Kevin Lowe, Steve Larmer, Eric Lindros, Alexander Mogilny and Bernie Nicholls are players whose eligibility came before this year but who again were passed over.
Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk were inducted last year.