The Hockey Hall of Fame welcomed four new members yesterday when Pat Quinn, Eric Lindros, Rogie Vachon and Sergei Makarov were officially inducted during a ceremony in Toronto. It’s an interesting class, one that had to wait patiently for their time to come.
That was especially true for the three players. Lindros had been eligible since 2010, Makarov since 2000, and Vachon since all the way back in 1985. All three had made regular appearances on lists of the Hall’s biggest snubs for years before they finally heard their names called.
They won’t be on those lists any more, but there will be plenty of names to take their place. Fans love to argue over Hall of Fame selections; who should make it, who shouldn’t, how long it should take, and more. And we love to take up the cause of the noble snub, the player we’re convinced should be honoured but who doesn’t quite have an airtight case.
The list of those snubs is a long one, but they tend to fall into certain recognizable categories. So let’s take a look through some of the most common, along with the players past and present who’ve fallen into them.
The guy who racked up great stats by playing forever
They’ve got the numbers. But is that because they were a great player, or because they played for 20 years? These are the guys who make lots of appearances on the all-time leaderboards, but were rarely seen at the NHL Awards show.
The poster child: Of the top 25 scorers in league history, 22 are already in the Hall, most as first-ballot selections. Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne aren't eligible yet, but will go in as soon as they are. And then there's Mark Recchi, who had 1,553 career points but has already been passed over twice.
Other examples: Are we all just going to pretend that Dave Andreychuk didn't score 640 goals, then seamlessly transition into being a defensive specialist who captained a Cup winner? Just let me know, and I'll play along, but it feels like we should probably hold a vote or something.
Current player who may fall victim: Does Patrik Elias count as a current player? If not, it's a tossup between Shane Doan and Patrick Marleau.
Ray of hope: The good news is that these guys tend to make it in eventually; the Hall just seems to like to make them sweat a little. Take Dino Ciccarelli, who scored 600 goals over a 19-year career, but had to wait almost a decade before getting the call.
The career cut short by injury
This is the flip side of the first category. These guys had high peaks and probably seemed like sure-thing future Hall-of-Famers at one point. Then injuries took their toll, and now voters aren't sure what to do with them.
The poster child: Up until yesterday, it had been Lindros. Now, he's probably passed that torch to Paul Kariya, who earned postseason all-star honours five times but never made it to 1,000 games because of concussions.
Other examples: Flyer forward Tim Kerr had four-straight 50-goal seasons and seemed well on his way to building a Hall of Fame resume when injuries derailed his career at the age of 27.
Current player who may fall victim: We'll keep our fingers crossed that none of today's current stars fall into this category, although history tells us we probably won't be so lucky.
Ray of hope: While this was a packed category for a long time, the good news is that the Hall seems to be slowly but surely coming around on these guys. Pat LaFontaine and Cam Neely was among the first high-profile cases, which opened the door for Pavel Bure and Peter Forsberg, which eventually led to Lindros. Maybe Kariya is next.