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Hockey Hall of Fame 2012: Was Brendan Shanahan Snubbed?

VANCOUVER, CANADA - NOVEMBER 13:  Brendan Shanahan #14 of the Detroit Red Wings warms up prior to taking on the Vancouver Canucks in an NHL game at General Motors Place on November 13, 2005 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  The Canucks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
James Wrabel, Jr.Correspondent IIJune 26, 2012

On the day the National Hockey League announced its 2012 Hall of Fame class, there was one glaring omission from the list. Pavel Bure, Joe Sakic, Adam Oates and Mats Sundin will join the rest of hockey's greats this year, but the first-time eligible Brendan Shanahan was not selected, begging the question—was Shanny snubbed for the Hall of Fame?

In his career that spanned 1,524 games, Shanahan finished with 656 goals—13th all time in the NHL—698 assists for 1,324 points. When he retired, he was the active leader in goals scored.

Shanahan also the only player in NHL history to have over 600 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes. His unofficial number of Gordie Howe hat tricks (scoring a goal, an assist and receiving a five-minute fighting major in the same game) stands at 17.

Of note, Shanahan won three Stanley Cups during his time with the Detroit Red Wings—the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame class has two combined, all belonging to Joe Sakic.

Hall of Fame selections are not solely based on how many championships a player wins—it's about how great of a player they were over their career. There's no doubt Shanahan was one of the game's best winners and most feared players around the net.

His off the ice work during the 2004-05 lockout may be Shanahan's most impressive work to date.

Creating the "Shanahan Summit," the former Red Wing great assembled a panel over a two-day span of former players, coaches, referees and other influential people in order to come up with improvements for the league to consider once the lockout was lifted.

Among some of the recommendations were instituting a shootout to eliminate ties, smaller, less padded goalie equipment, preventing goalies from playing the puck in the corners, tag-up offsides and removing the red line—all of which are in today's NHL.

 

Over the past year, Shanahan has come under some intense heat for some questionable rulings—and non rulings—being in charge of player discipline as the new Head of Player Safety for the NHL.

His image may have taken a beating, but it doesn't change how great of a player he was or how much he has meant to the game in his lifetime.

Obviously, this could all go away in a year if Shanahan is elected in the 2013 class and no one will have a bone to pick on.

However, his omission this year brings to light how the selection process for the Hockey Hall of Fame, like most things in life, is never perfect.

Other great players, coaches and hockey minds like Dave Andreychuk, Pat Burns and Fred Shero still remain outside the Hall, with many wondering when, if at all, they'll make it in.

NHL reporter Chris Botta offers some intriguing commentary on Shanahan not making the 2012 class:

Hockey Hall of Fame committee almost as out to lunch as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Shanahan is hockey's Rush.

— Chris Botta (@ChrisBottaNHL) June 26, 2012

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