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Should Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure be in the 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame class?

Jun 20, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

bure.jpgOn Tuesday, the Hockey Hall of Fame will announce the 2010 inductees
and this year should boast a very impressive class with a number of
great players entering their first year of eligibility.

Yet there is seemingly just one lock for the Hall of Fame this year,
as Joe Nieuwendyk is sure to be a first-ballot inductee. The 1999 Conn
Smythe winner was a three-time Stanley Cup champion with three different
teams and personified the leadership, production and class that you
would expect to be present in a Hall of Fame player.

After Nieuwendyk, however, are a number of players sure to draw
debate. It’s unlikely that Pierre Turgeon, Mike Ricci, Arturs Irbe or
Peter Bondra make in in their first year of eligibility. It’s possible
that Tom Barrasso, Ron Hextall, Andy Moog, Felix Potvin, Dave Andreychuk
or even Dino Ciccarelli finally get the call.

But two names, Pavel Bure and Eric Lindros, will be the subject of
most debate. Brandon and I have two differing opinions on Bure and
Lindros, and we’ll each give our argument for both below.

James:

Pavel Bure was Dominique Wilkins on ice. He scored highlight reel goals, possessed locomotive speed and an excellent sense of “The Moment.” Maybe he didn’t persist with Recchi-like longevity, but he dazzled like few others.

Eric Lindros was supposed to be “The Next One.” Few will forget – and many will never forgive – that Lindros held out as the No.1 pick of the Quebec Nordiques, only to be traded for a bunch of players including Peter Forsberg. The Lindros family over-involvement and squabbles with Bobby Clarke certainly did not impress.

But during his years in Philadelphia, Lindros was an irresistible force. With fellow power forward John LeClair and hockey trivia filler Mikael Renberg, Lindros formed the feared “Legion of Doom” line, perhaps the last combo of players to earn a spectacular nickname. As a young Penguins fan, I grew to despise Lindros, but that perhaps that only underscores his greatness.

Bure and Lindros couldn’t have been more different – everything from their playing styles and national origin are complete opposites. They do, however, share at least three traits: they both fell short of a Stanley Cup, had injury ravaged careers and most importantly … they both deserve to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

There are only a handful of players in each generation who can change the course of a game or playoff series by sheer force of will. Bure and Lindros were two of those players, even if they didn’t do it for 15 years. Still, if you really need it, there are some numbers that help their cases.

Both Bure and Lindros fell well short of 1,000 career points, but they both averaged more than a point per game in the regular season (Bure: 779 in 702 GP; Lindros: 865 in 760 GP) AND in the playoffs (Bure: 70 in 64 GP; Lindros: 57 in 53 GP).

In the trap-ravaged, obstruction era of the NHL Bure still managed two 60 goal seasons (92-93 and 93-94), as well as 59, 58 and 51-goal seasons. Keep in mind, two of those 50-goal seasons came as the only real offensive threat on profoundly awful Florida Panthers teams. And Bure also managed one of the greatest scores a Russian athlete could hope for: Anna Kournikova. If that’s not HoF worthy, what is?

Hall of Fame voters tend to fixate on arbitrary milestones that reward longevity instead of brilliance. There are some players who manage a combination of both, but when it comes down to a choice between the two, I’ll take the stars that shined the brightest rather than the longest.

After the jump, Brandon tells us why they shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.

lindros.jpgBrandon:

I understand the love for Eric Lindros and
Pavel Bure for this year’s HOF class; I can’t argue that when they were
at their best they were two of the most exciting offensive players in
the NHL. Yet when you look at all of the players eligible this year I
can’t help but come up with a lengthy list of players who deserve to be
in the HOF over these two. Before I get to that, I’ll argue against each
separately.

Pavel Bure was perhaps the most electric forward of
the 1990’s. What he could do with the puck was nothing short of
remarkable, and his combination of talent and speed was nearly untouched
during his heyday. But he was also a player who put up incredible
individual numbers while never enjoying team success. Through no exact
fault of his own, as hockey is ultimately a team sport, he never
experienced the overwhelming postseason success that you consider when
it comes to Hall of Fame players

He was never considered a great leader on the ice and was nothing
but a pure goal scorer; not exactly a knock on Bure but when thinking
about Hall of Fame players you have to consider factors other than just
his numbers. I will admit that when he did go deep into the postseason
— in 1994 he had 31 points in 24 playoff games with Vancouver — he
shined, but those moments weren’t often, especially later in his career.

If
I had my choice however, I would instantly vote Bure in over other
player in this debate: Eric Lindros.

Look, I know his numbers were
great. In his career he had more points per game that Mark Messier, Luc
Robitaille and Brett Hull. When he was healthy, especially early in his
career, he was perhaps the most dominant offensive player in the NHL.
Yet that was for just a short amount of time, as injuries and and a
horrid off-ice persona became the story of the latter part of his
career.

It’s true that he HOF seems to reward players who were
really good for a long time, instead of players who were great for a
short time. But you can’t sit there and tell me that Eric Lindros –
perhaps one of the worst on-ice leaders we’ve seen in the NHL –
deserves to be in the Hall of Fame over Dave Andreychuk (640 career
goals), or Andy Moog, Dino Ciccarelli and perhaps the most glaring
omission: Doug Gilmour.

The thought that Eric Lindros would be in
the Hall of Fame before Gilmour makes me frankly a bit sick.

Does
Lindros deserve to ultimately be in the HOF? Certainly, but I highly
doubt he makes it this summer anyways. He’ll get there eventually, and
I’d like to the think the voters decide that Bure will get there first.
I’d like to see others get voted in before either of those two, but
there’s no doubt that Bure would be higher on my list than Lindros

What
do you think?

  1. Happy Girl - Jun 20, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    Brandon: do you mean Doug Gilmour? The only Dave Gilmour I know of is the guitarist for Pink Floyd and he is in the Hall of Fame, the rock and roll hall of fame.
    As for Bure and Lindros, I don’t think either one really deserves to be in the HHoF. To me, part of being a truly great player is the ability to make the other players around you better. I don’t think either Bure or Lindros did that. Also, they don’t have the Cups. That’s so important when we judge goalies and even coaches – do the have a Cup win under their belt. These two things go hand in hand to me because if you are a truly great player, who makes the players around you better, who has the ability to change games, those players usually wind up winning Cups.

  2. jpfdeuce - Jun 20, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Lindros’ lingering memory among hockey fans is of being demanding, whiny, and concussion plagued. I feel like even mentioning him is just appeasing the contingent of Ontario fans that long sought to have him play in Maple Leaf regalia.
    Frankly, the “debate” of Lindros in the Hall will just turn into more Eric-Entitlement, which has followed him around since he went pro.

  3. General Tsao - Jun 20, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    “Does Lindros deserve to ultimately be in the HOF? Certainly…”
    I thought you were arguing that he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. The notion that he should, but just not yet, is ridiculous. Either he is a HOFer, or he isn’t. It doesn’t make any sense to regard someone as “first-ballot guys” and others as not- If you think a guy belongs in, he should be in, regardless of the year.

  4. Matt - Jun 21, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    Your comment doesn’t make any sense. Talent is talent. If the other members of your team aren’t great, it isn’t the fault of the star. It is the lack of talent in the first place. And as far as Cups are concerned, there are a whole bunch of sixth defensemen and fourth line forwards who have their name on the Cup, just because they were lucky enough to play with superstars. Don’t condemn someone’s individual talent because the supporting cast wasn’t good enough to win it all. If Gretsky was traded before the Edmonton dynasty, he doesn’t win a Cup. Hall of Fame credentials are based on individual achievements, not team ones. credit the player who thrives in the playoffs, but don’t punish one who’s teammates didn’t.

  5. T. Marchegiano - Jun 21, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Lindros is not a Hall of Famer. He didn’t play that way and didn’t conduct himself off the ice that way either. He never lifted his team, as the great ones do, nor did he have the kind of latter career that other solid players who hope to get into the Hall do – such as becoming that missing link to help a young team win it. He was well paid for a job fairly well done. As a Flyer fan, I look on him as costing the team an entire generation of success.

  6. Gilana - Jun 21, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    Eric Lindros for the win.

  7. sean - Jun 21, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    as a flyers fan growing up in the lindros era, i can easily say that in my opinion Lindros isn’t a HOF caliber player. Yes he was dominating at times, he was a physical force that hadn’t been seen before, and he was the prototype power forward. But he never put any of those flyer teams on his back and stepped up to the next level and often times wilted under the pressure. Looking back at that team you almost have to wonder if he was even the best player on that line, much less the entire team and anytime you have questions like that HOF credentials are moot.

  8. TSM - Jun 21, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Lindros was good not an elite player or superstar. SUPERWHINER, yes he was definately a hall of famer whiner! He does not belong in the hall at all. H e will be remembered as it should be as the moron who turned his back on draft day!

  9. Ted Lane - Jun 21, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    Neither one of these players deserve to be in. Statistics are only part of the story. I’m from Vancouver and got to see alot of Bure, he was such a poor team player that when he became a target to opposing teams his teamates never stood up for him. He was the ultimate one way player.
    Lindros is/was a spoiled brat that set a very poor example to young people.
    Character should count for something in the Hall and neither one of these guys ever displayed any

  10. Mark - Jun 21, 2010 at 11:35 PM

    Ted,
    Don’t make ridiculously off-kilter statements. If no one stood up for bure as you comment then please exchange gino odjick.

  11. Mitch - Jun 22, 2010 at 2:54 AM

    Bure – yes. Im not gonna waste my time putting all his achievements out there, it would take too long. I will chime in with this though, there are many great players and hall of famers that never won cups. Marcel Dionne, Peter Statsny, Pat LaFontaine, and Mike Gartner are all hall of famers that never won a cup. It is timing and a bit of luck. Bure did everything in his power to win both the Stanley Cup and the Gold Medal in the Olympics. He is a winner. Also, Wayne Gretzky said he would have played another year if he knew Pavel Bure was coming to New York. Bure comes from a different culture, was treated poorly ever since the draft and is a compelte enigma.
    Lindros – NO. He was born and raised in Canada, touted ever since junior, has no excuse for being a little whiner and sticking his nose up at Junior and NHL teams. Did you see Bure say he didnt want to play for Vancouver? Even when they were one of the worst teams in the league and his family didnt want him to play there? He played for the fans and his teammates, not the media. He is just misunderstood. Lindros has no excuse. His head is swollen from his ego and scott stevens.

  12. Dan - Jun 22, 2010 at 7:51 AM

    None of the two deserve the hall of fame. As a whole, they both underachieved (Lindros and Bure were disasters when they were with the NY Rangers) and worse yet for Lindros, he was supposed to be the messiah in Philadelphia who did not win the cup.

  13. Dave - Jun 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Lindros – No Way. What has he ever done? What Clarke saw in him, only he knows. LeClair was the better player on that line. Lindros, when he played, was good during the season, but a big zero in the postseason. The greats shift into a higher gear, which Lindros never did. Why would he even be considered is beyond me.
    Ron Hextall should be in. He was the Flyer that made the team around him better.

  14. J - Jun 22, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    Just to clarify something, Bobby Clarke did not make the trade with Quebec for Lindros. That trade was done by Russ Farwell, who was the Flyers GM at the time along with Jay Snider, Ed Snider’s son.
    I am sure that both Lindros and Bure will get in at some point, but not above players that have done more.
    Hextall should get in for the fact he was the first goalie to score a goal by shooting the puck into an emplty net and not get credited with a goal (Billie Smith).

  15. Mark Hadley - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    It’s unbelievable how many idiots are hockey fans. Lindros didn’t put the team on his back???Are you kidding me?? The Flyers teams were NOTHING without Lindros,yet every year picked as a cup contender.Cup victories have nothing to do with individual greatness-it’s just an easy way for morons who don’t know sports to neatly keep score.Someone like Ray Bourque couldn’t lead his Bruins to a cup,but whwn he gets traded to a stacked Av’s team and wins a cup, now it’s OK to say he’s great.He dominated as a 19 year old, and continued to do so for 8 seasons in Philly.His first 5 years were better than Crosbys or Ovechkins,but they’ve already been annoited as 2 of the greatest ever.Worst on ice leaders-do you watch games??He led by example-did you see the 92 Canada cup,96 world Cup, 98 Olympics. Check out his plus/minus stats—define on ice leader, then show me how captains like Toews,Marleau,Lecavalier are such leaders–you are an idiot-watch some more hockey. Actually, let the Hall have their women and Ciccarelli, a player who not 1 GM would have traded Lindros for.

  16. Kevin J - Jun 25, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    Lindros, during his philly years was by far and away themost dominate player in the NHL, second to none, when he left philly he was fourth in points per game in NHL history, behind 99,66, and bossy, not quite the scoring touch of those first two, but did everything else on ice better, faceoffs, checking, hitting, defensive play, intimidation, was the prototype player, played in the clutch and grab era, watch highlights, where he knocks down 2 players with checks, while dragging two more down the ice to dish or score. if he played in this no touch, all scoring era of today, he would be illegal.

  17. Shawn - Jul 10, 2010 at 2:11 AM

    I agree 100%

  18. joltinjoe - Jul 13, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    Lindros is not a hall of famer. He was a dirty player and a cry baby so he does not get in in my book. His skills were overshadowed by his attitude. That is not the hallmark of a famous player, hence: no hall of fame. Now you know!

  19. Mike Vee - Jul 14, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    Actually Mark, you are incorrect. Lindros was not even close to the stats Sid and Ovie have put up in their first 5 years. He broke 100 pts only once. He only managed 60-65 games a year and that’s partly due to his style of play. Can’t see him in the HOF

  20. Mike Vee - Jul 14, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    Sorry Kevin, you are flat out wrong also. Mario and Gretzky were great at face-offs and both solid 2 way guys. So really the only thing Lindros excelled at was hitting and checking. Unfortunately, Scott Stevens hit and checked harder and Lindros suffered the final consequence. Why is it Flyer fans think that’s the only was to a Cup? That style hasn’t worked for them for 36 years and last year they came close by NOT playing the stupid cross check/ penalty game. That is until they unravelled against the Hawks.

  21. USHA#17 - Jul 19, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    The only hockey Gilmore I know is a convicted child molester who had to leave St. Louis in disgrace.
    Lindros belongs in one place only, retirement. Unless there is a category for players who did not live up to their hype…
    Bure on the other hand was a pretty good player.

  22. Sam Corey - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    Although Lindros never lived up to “The Next One” moniker, he was the perfect prototype of a power forward. He dominated the game by pounding the opponents into submission or by scoring. He carried the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup finals only to lose to a far superior Red Wings team that eventually repeated the following season. Paired with John LeClair and Mikael Renberg, the three formed the “Legion of Doom line, arguably the most frightening lines to face during the 90s. Lindros scored 865 points in 760 games, a higher points per game average than Pierre Turgeon, Mike Ricci, Peter Bondra, Dave Andreychuk, and Dino Ciccarelli.
    Pavel Bure was the most electrifying forward in the NHL during the 1990s and early 2000s. During his injury-shortened career he established himself as one of the most prolific goal scorers who has ever laced up a pair of skates. Bure eclipsed the 50-goal plateau five times and the 60-goal plateau twice on his way to scoring a total of 437 goals in only 732 games. He used lightening-quick speed, cannon shot and smooth hands to average .623 goals per game, the third highest mark; only behind Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy. Pavel Bure also shined in the 1994 playoffs when he scored 31 points in 24 games, including the game winner in the 2nd overtime in game 7 against the Calgary Flames in the opening round of that playoffs. Bure led an underwhelming Vancouver team to the 1994 Finals where they eventually lost to the New York Rangers. Bure also posted 58 and 59 goal seasons while playing for the pathetic Florida Panthers. Bure also shined in the Olympics when he led Russia to the gold medal game after an Olympic record 5-goal effort in Russia’s 7–4 semi-final win against Finland.
    No NHL player drove fans out of their seats quite like Pavel Bure and Eric Lindros. Bure’s electrifying speed, dazzling moves, and a bullet of a shot led to his nickname of the “Russian Rocket” and has scored more highlight-reel goals than anyone else of the 90s. Eric Lindros’s punishing hits, precision-accurate shot, and his dominant two-way play entrenched him as one of the most terrifying power forwards hockey has ever witnessed. It is truly unfortunate that Lindros’s career was shortened due to 8 concussions and Bure’s was also cut short due to blowing his knee out 3 times. Lindros retired at the age of 34 and Bure retired at the age of 31. Even though their dominance was brief, their brilliance is still remembered, and both are deserving of Hall of Fame inductions.

  23. steeve - Sep 11, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Sorry, but i do not see the correlation between being a superb hockey player and a member of the good behavior club. This ain’t a perfect world but we expect perfect people. Lindros was a superb hockey player, again, hockey player. It does not matter whether you like him or not.

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