Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Hockey Hall of Huh?

Even by its own historically flimsy standards, the Hockey Hall of Fame plumbed new depths in how low it set the bar for the class of 2011. Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour and Mark Howe were all good hockey players with gusts up to great, but what's the point of a Hall of Fame if it's not reserved for players who were consistently great over a long period of time? It's not the Hall of Above Average or the Hall of Milked It For Longer Than Most. It's the Hall of FAME.
Even at number three on the career wins list for goalies, Belfour is more famous for drunkenly offering police officers a billion dollar bribe than he is for anything he ever did on the ice. If Dino Ciccarelli had to wait his turn with 608 career goals, how does Belfour get in on the first ballot?
Of course, the genie's been out of the bottle for years. If you let Clark Gillies, Joe Mullen, Bernie Federko and Larry Murphy in, how do you say no to Gilmour, Nieuwendyk, Belfour and Howe? That's not to demean any of the above-mentioned players - except maybe the marginally crazy Belfour - but the ever-diminishing standards for Hall of Fame membership make it seem more like a Legion Hall than a pantheon of hockey immortals.

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