Hockey Hall of Fame Induction: 10 Biggest Snubs for the Hall

Josh Cohen@@arealjoshcohenCorrespondent IIDecember 19, 2012

Hockey Hall of Fame Induction: 10 Biggest Snubs for the Hall

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    The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted four new members this year, but who did they leave out?

    Toronto has extended hockey's highest honor to four worthy men: Adam Oates, Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure. Each of these guys was a bona fide star, racking up thousands of points and dozens of All-Star appearances. Their enshrinement is a testament to decades of service to the game.

    The Hall welcomes a maximum of four players in a given year, but considering how many estimable candidates there are, the Hall ought to open its doors even wider.

    Let's take a look at the 10 hockey legends who are most deserving of enshrinement in Toronto.

Brendan Shanahan

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    It's a downright travesty that Brendan Shanahan is not in the Hall.

    Take a look at the NHL all-time leaders in goals scored. All but two Hall-eligible 600-goal scorers have been inducted; Sakic just road his 625 tallies to enshrinement. Meanwhile, Shanahan is 13th in league history with 656, yet he is on the outside looking in.

    600 goals has always been a surefire guarantee of Hall induction. If you still need convincing, Shanahan has eight All-Star games and three Stanley Cups on his resume; the class of 2012 has just two combined (both are Sakic's).

    Shanahan's Hall credentials are all there. Whether he's a better candidate than Sundin or Bure is not at issue here. He deserves to be inducted along with them.

Curtis Joseph

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    Curtis Joseph may have never hoisted the Cup, but he has won an Olympic gold medal and was certainly a winner.

    No goalie in NHL history has more wins without a Cup than CuJo. His 454 wins are good for fourth all time, trailing only Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy and Ed Belfour. Roy and Belfour are already both enshrined in Toronto, while Brodeur is certainly heading there as soon as he becomes eligible.

    Joseph was a sturdy presence throughout his 20-year NHL career. He posted winning campaigns with five different franchises: the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes. It did not matter where he went; the iconic menacing dog staring down from CuJo's goalie mask meant goals would be hard to come by.

    There's not much argument for Joseph over any of this year's inductees, but he is still worthy of a place in the Hall.

Dave Andreychuk

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    Remember that 600-goal milestone we were just talking about?

    Well, the other historic scorer searching for induction is Dave Andreychuk. He is 14th on the all-time list with 640, one spot behind Shanahan and one ahead of Sakic. Not only that, but no one has more power play goals than Andreychuk with 274. Gretzky's not the all-time leader. Neither is Gordie Howe. It's Dave Andreychuk.

    Not only should Andreychuk be honored for his prolific career, but for his selfless sacrifice in the name of helping his team.

    When the Tampa Bay Lightning missed the playoffs in the 2001-02 season, Andreychuk refused a trade to a contender, dedicated to bringing his team a championship. He stuck with the Lightning, and his persistence paid off with a Stanley Cup title in 2004.

    Andreychuk's performance and professionalism are exactly what the Hall stands for. It will stand more strongly when he is included.

Eric Lindros

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    Sometimes people forget how good Eric Lindros was.

    Though concussions limited his productivity and a contract dispute damaged his reputation, Lindros' accomplishments put him right up there with the all-time greats.

    He ranks 19th in league history with 1.138 points per game. Of the 2012 inductees, Sakic is the only player who put up points at a higher rate. Lindros is one of just two Hall-eligible players in the top 30 of this category to get left out.

    Lindros is also an outlier amongst Hart Trophy winners. Since the Original Six came into existence, he is Hall-eligible and the only winner of the NHL's MVP award who has not yet been honored with enshrinement.

    The scoring rate and the hardware are proof that Lindros was a truly great player. All he lacks is a plaque to confirm it.

Jeremy Roenick

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    Jeremy Roenick wasn't just great on Super Nintendo; he was one of the greatest players to ever take the ice.

    Only three Americans have scored 500 goals in NHL history: Joe Mullen, Mike Modano and Roenick. Both of Roenick's countrymen have plaques in the Hall, but apparently his 513 goals and 703 assists are not up to snuff. However, Mullen does trail him in both figures.

    Here we have another example of a guy who voters could be overlooking because of reputation issues. Roenick's most notable faux pas came during the 2004-05 lockout, when he told fans critical of the players' position to "kiss my a**."

    Some may think Roenick's off-ice candidness was bad for the game, but what he did on the ice was great for it. He ought to be remembered for his contributions with a stick in his hands.

Kevin Lowe

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    Outside the Canadiens dynasty of yore, there have been few greater winners than Kevin Lowe.

    The first draft pick in Edmonton Oilers history, Lowe helped build the foundation of a budding powerhouse. He provided a stabilizing presence at the blue line while Wayne Gretzky and Mike Messier wreaked havoc at the offensive end.

    That formula resulted in five consecutive Stanley Cups, even while Lowe was playing through pain to make his mark on the dynasty. He picked up a sixth when he reunited with Messier and other former Oilers with the New York Rangers in 1993-94.

    Lowe's impact does not jump out at you by looking at a stat sheet, but he didn't play that kind of game. He was a gritty defender who led by example, a quintessential hockey player if there ever was one.

John Vanbiesbrouck

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    John Vanbiesbrouck is the most accomplished American netminder in the history of hockey.

    The man known as "Beezer" came into the league at a time when scoring was rampant, but he stood up to the barrage better than most. He was a strong presence in goal during the Rangers' resurgence in the mid-1980s, and his work earned him the 1986 Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie.

    If not for the 1993 Expansion Draft, Beezer very well could have spent his entire career in New York. Instead, he took his talents to the Florida Panthers, who he led to the brink of a Stanley Cup in just their third season in the league.

    Even today, Vanbiesbrouck has the most wins and shutouts of any American goalie. That sort of legacy is certainly deserving of Hall recognition.

Pat Burns

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    How a coach of Pat Burns' caliber has not been recognized in the Builders category is a mystery.

    No one else in league history has been honored three times with the Jack Adams Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top head coach. On top of that, Burns earned his hardware with three different teams: the Montreal Canadiens in 1988, the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993 and the New Jersey Devils in 1998. Each award came in his first season with the team.

    Burns had compiled a commendable 501-353-151-14 record before his coaching career was cut short due to cancer. He was only 53 when he stepped down as the Devils head coach in 2005 and 58 when he passed away. For all he accomplished in his 14 seasons as a coach, you can only imagine what more Burns could have been able to do.

    Though his career and his life were untimely ended, Burns had already established himself as one of the greatest coaches the game has ever seen. Now all the Hall needs to do is take notice.

Phil Housley

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    Phil Housley played the role of offensive defenseman as well as anyone ever has.

    Only three blueliners in NHL history have recorded more points than Housley: Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey and Al MacInnis, all three of whom were locks for the Hall of Fame. In 1,495 career games, he registered 338 goals and 894 assists for a total of 1,232 points.

    When he retired, Housley was the all-time leader in points scored and games played by an American; those records have since fallen to Mike Modano and Chris Chelios, respectively.

    Unfortunately, he still holds the record for most games played without winning a Stanley Cup. It's a bittersweet title, but it's also a testament to his consistency and productivity; no player sticks around that long unless they make an impact.

    Housley made his mark as one of the best players of his generation and one of the best defensemen in league history. All that's left is for him is a place in the Hall.

Rick Middleton

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    Just about every name in the Boston Bruins record book is in the Hall of Fame. Now it's Rick Middleton's turn.

    Four of the top five Bruins in both goals and points have already been inducted. Middleton is third in goals with team history and fourth in points with 898. He is also has the sixth-most assists and has played in the sixth-most games of any Bruin.

    "Nifty" Rick Middleton ingratiated himself to Boston fans with his scoring touch and his leadership ability; he was named Bruins co-captain along with Ray Bourque, himself a Hall of Famer.

    The greatest legends in Boston history have found a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Middleton has carved his place next to them in the record book, and he deserves one in Toronto as well.

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