Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Well, I guess I should mention it, right?
Basically all that I wanted to say about it, Larry Brooks already did in the Post, although, as Paul at Kukla pointed out, for those lucky enough to have the NHL Network, they could have watched it. But, as Mirtle pointed out "It really doesn't make any sense that Wayne Gretzky and members of the Devils, Penguins and Hurricanes organizations can't be there tonight."
So Mess, Al Mac, Scottie and Ronnie all made it in. All four are shining examples of hockey players. But here is an interesting thought - which players are most like them in today's game?
2007 Scott Stevens: This one is probably the easiest - Dion Phaneuf. The kid plays his position well, is tough as nails and hits like a freight train. As of yet he hasn't needed the grim determination and leadership that Stevens had but given a little more time he may just be able to do it. Jack Johnson has shown some signs but he is still waaaay to young and on waaaaay to bad of a team to tell.
2007 Ron Francis: Joe Sakic. Yes, Sakic is a legend in his own right and will join these guys in the Hall, but right now he comes closest to Francis' skill, dedication, class and quiet leadership. Maybe in time one of the kids in Chicago or John Tavares will step into that role but that is a long way off.
2007 Al MacInnis: Well, Sheldon Souray has the shot but none of the defensive skill. So I would instead have to pick Brian Rafalski because he is so well rounded. He is smooth and moves the puck well, but is responsible defensively. This was definitely the toughest because Al Mac just excelled in so many aspects of the game. Zdeno Chara was a close second, except I don't ever remember seeing Al Mac beat someone into a bloody pulp.
2007 Mark Messier: For those that read this regularly, you know how much this kills me, but the closest player to Mess is probably ... Cindy Crosby. While Cindy may be a sissy, watching him play you can see his sheer desire to go out there and be the man for his team - and all so often he has done that. He can score or he can pass, and he is a little dirty - although he whines to the refs rather than stands up for himself, but that may come in time. He is definitely growing into the leader part, but when all is said and done he may just be able to justify that C on his chest. Nothing close to what Messier did in defining that role, but be a leader. Cindy's rival Ovie would be my second pick. Ovechkin loves to play, shoots the lights out and is willing to be physical and hit back but thus far hasn't shown - at least to me - any of the leadership qualities.
So what/who do you think?
BTW - If you haven't already, make the pilgrimage to Toronto to see the actual Hall of Fame. I've been there three times and it is just utterly incredible.