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2011 Hall of Fame talk: The biggest snub and 2012’s staggering class of eligible players

Jun 28, 2011, 4:13 PM EDT

Joe Sakic AP

So, in case you missed it, the 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are: Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk. That’s a pretty impressive group of players, but that won’t stop the Twitterverse and other Internet complaint outlets from providing a steady flow of gripes.

From our perspective, Adam Oates might be the biggest snub. He received the fourth most votes in PHT’s informal poll of our own staff, media experts and hockey bloggers, making him the consensus pick for the most overlooked player.

That being said, there were plenty of other options for those wanting to vent their frustrations. Some think that great players from the USSR big red machine era – such as Boris Mikhailov and Sergei Makarov – won’t ever get their just due. Others are outraged that the selection committee is dragging its feet to posthumously honor former head coach Pat Burns while Fred Shero also continues to be a dark horse candidate in the “builders” category. Pavel Bure and Eric Lindros probably bring about the most arguments from a “quality versus quantity” standpoint. Our own Matt Reitz will talk your ear off about the merits of goalie Rogie Vachon.

There are a ton of seemingly worthy candidates for inclusion into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but perhaps that’s the point. If it was easy to get in – and some, like myself, would argue that it’s already too easy to get in – then it wouldn’t be much of an honor, would it? Still, it’s usually enjoyable to engage in these wildly subjective debates, so let us know who you think was the biggest snub by voting in this poll and telling us all about it in the comments.

Note: we know that you won’t be satisfied with all the choices provided, so please keep in mind that you can “write in” a candidate in the “other” field.

Now that you’ve decided which player (or builder) was the biggest snub, we have some rather bad news: they’re probably going to wait a while before they get into the Hall of Fame. As we discussed last year, the 2012 class of first year eligible players is pretty staggering.

Key 2012 first year eligible players:

  • Joe Sakic
  • Jeremy Roenick
  • Mats Sundin
  • Brendan Shanahan
  • Curtis Joseph
  • Gary Roberts
  • Claude Lemieux
  • Olaf Kolzig
  • Bobby Holik
  • Michael Peca

Maybe a few of those players are a bit marginal toward the end, but Sakic and Shanahan will probably be first-ballot guys. Sundin shouldn’t be far behind (if he needs to wait at all) and Roenick puts the ‘fame’ in Hall of Fame. It’s possible that someone like Adam Oates – with his 1,079 assists and hearty helpings of goodwill – might be able to get in next year, but “fringe” candidates probably don’t even need to check their caller ID’s in mid-June next year. With Scott Niedermayer and Rob Blake eligible in 2013, they might just want to take two years off.

  1. rushbacker - Jun 28, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    No need to say Sakic will “probably” be first ballot– he’s a stone cold lock.

  2. hystoracle - Jun 28, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    With All the great players that have recently retired in the past few years would it be reasonable to put in more than 4 for a year or two. There are at least 8 guys including next years eligibles that aren’t in that should be. This first ballot second ballot stuff is a bunch of crap. You are either a Hall of Famer or your not – end of story.

    You know Shanahan is getting in next year- given his current high profile position with the league.

    No doubters – Sakic, Shanahan, Sundin, Dave Andreychuk, Housley, Burns, Claude Lemieux, Roenick. And I say Lemieux because every year in the playoffs that guy was helping some team try to win a cup- they say your reputation is made in the playoffs in the NHL – Claude is a living example.

    • hystoracle - Jun 28, 2011 at 4:30 PM

      missed Oates & Mogilny… And I’m sure there are some old timers that deserve the recognition that I’m unaware of at this moment.

  3. bcjim - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:09 PM

    Holik? Peca ? Uh….no.

  4. flyerscup2010 - Jun 29, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    the fact that fred shero still isnt in the hall is a travesty

  5. guypatsfan - Jun 29, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    Wendell Clark. Ths soul of the Maple Leafs. He could fight, score goals, would run through a brick wall if that’s what it took to win.

  6. nhlbruins90 - Jun 29, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Why do players get snubbed? When Jim Rice finally made it into the MLB Hall, it was occasionally said that his not-so-friendly relationship with the press (and perhaps fans) was a factor. How does that dynamic play in hockey? Who votes?

    The biggest snub is Oates. His stats are glaringly obvious. Beyond that, he was not disliked by the press (afaik) and definitely was a fan favorite. You could argue that he never won a Cup, but neither did Roenick, and he will certainly (and I think deservedly) get into the Hall sooner rather than later. Same goes for a many other players.

    Now, the last time I saw Oates behind the bench, he looked like he tripped and fell head-first into a bucket of black shoe polish. But that shouldn’t be enough to keep you out of the Hall of Fame, should it?

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