Mark Howe = HHOF?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by reckoning, Feb 21, 2006.

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  1. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    This has been mentioned a few times before, but I don`t think we`ve had a thread specifically on Mark Howe`s qualifications:

    The case for him:

    - Made the 1st All-Star Team 3 times, more than Salming, Langway, Savard, LaPointe, Murphy and several other HOFers. In fact, no other player at any position with 3 1st Team selections has been rejected by the Hall.

    - Twice a Top 5 finisher in Hart Trophy voting.

    - Generally considered the 3rd best defenceman of the 80s behind Bourque and Coffey.

    - Generally considered the best defenceman in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers, one of the most successful teams of the last 40 years.

    - Led his team in +/- 7 times in his career, only Bourque and Orr have done that more often. +400 over his career. His +85 in `86 hasn`t been bettered by anyone since then.

    - Made it to the Stanley Cup Final twice.

    - All-time top playoff point-getter in the WHA.

    - Was often a target because of his last name, but unlike his father he never resorted to cheap shots or playing dirty.

    - Had a great career after coming back from a near-fatal extremely gruesome on-ice injury. (If you don`t know the story, you`re better off that way)


    The case against him:

    - No Stanley Cups

    - No Norris Trophies

    - Less than 1000 games in the NHL

    The way I see it, it`s a no-brainer. It seems ridiculous to hold the no Cups against him considering his playoff record is still better than Salming, Sittler, Perreault, Dionne, Gartner, Stastny, Hawerchuk and several other HOFers. Salming, Park and Murphy never won the Norris either, but that wasn`t held against them. His career NHL games are a little low only because he went to the WHA for the first part of his career. I feel that`s the real reason he`s not in the Hall, along with J.C. Tremblay as well.

    In the book "The Rebel League" it mentions how Harry Sinden desperately wanted Howe on the Bruins, who held his NHL rights. They offered him a lot of money, as well as a front office job for Gordie. But Gordie wanted to keep playing and Mark wanted to stay with him. Mark Howe on the Bruins blueline in `79 may very well have put them over Montreal that year. Is Harry (a member of the selection committee) still holding a grudge?
     
  2. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Mark Howe should certainly be in the Hall of Fame.

    He was better than the following recent inductees: Neely, Murphy, Langway, Federko, Gillies, Gartner, and Mullen to name a few.
     
  3. Lowetide

    Lowetide Registered User

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    He should be in. The only real argument you could make against is that his dreadful injury shortened his career but even with that he played well over a long period of time.

    He was a great player.
     
  4. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    If they didn't formulate their response while I was typing this, I'm sure John Flyers Fan and Go Kim Johnsson will chime in with their thoughts on this one....

    I've always thought of him as borderline. I would put him in, but it's very close. Of the players not in the Hall who I think deserve to be there, he's the one I have the toughest time with. The WHA was a circus on ice, but if you take his accomplishments in that league into consideration, it certainly augments his portfolio. One of the best players ever in that league.

    There are a couple items missing from his portfolio, and it could be argued that somebody has to set the standard among non-HHOF players. Comparing Howe with a few players mentioned: Salming had five all-star team selections. Any defenceman with four is in the HHOF. (Rob Blake will be the first with four not to make the Hall). Murphy has three, but his role with two back-to-back Cup champions put him over the top. Langway won two Norris and was one of, if not the best, defensive defencemen in the last 25 years.

    A Norris would have helped, but he went up against some of the stiffest competition ever for that trophy. It didn't help that he couldn't stay healthy after the 1987-88 season.

    When the discussion of the best eligible defencemen not in the HHOF comes up, M. Howe is usually the first name that pops into my head. Those three first team all-star selections, at a time when the field of defencemen was so deep, is why he belongs.

    I really thought he had a chance last year. There wasn't a gimmie guy for a first ballot HHOFer. The two that were inducted, Kharlamov and Neely, were very deserving, but had been passed over several times. And I don't see Howe getting in any time soon, not with the strength

    As for the injury that reckoning speaks of, it's one of the main reasons that they switching the method for anchoring the nets to the ice. A very scary incident, right up there with Clint Malarchuk and Trent McCleary for among the worst I've seen. (Or heard of, for that matter).

    PS: reckoning, when you say that he is the only player with three first-team all-star selections to be rejected by the Hall, are you saying he's the first who wasn't a first-ballot HHOFer, or the only player with three first-team all-star selections not to make the HHOF?
     
  5. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    He actually played until he was 40 years old. Various back injuries cost him around 200 games. He still played over 1500 games if you include his time in the WHA.

    The mid-80's Flyers were always battling injuries, they had remarkable resiliance. Poulin, Propp, Kerr, etc. thay all found ways to win without. When Howe was out injured, the team always had incredible troubles.
     
  6. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    To my knowledge, every other 3+ time 1st team All-Star is in the Hall. If you count both 1st and 2nd team selections then there`s lot more players, but I`m 99.9% sure Howe is the only non-Hall 3-time 1st All-Star. Pnep probably knows for sure.
     
  7. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    I think I've spoken about this a few times before, but I think Howe should be in. Of the accomplishments you listed, I'd say that being a 3-time first-team all-star and a 2-time Hart finalist are the most impressive accomplishments. I'm fairly sure that every player with EITHER of those credentials is in the Hall, so it's surprising that Howe isn't. The precedent is certainly there. He was also runner-up for the Norris three times (once each to Bourque, Coffey and Langway). When you dominate your position that much, or the league as a whole, you deserve serious HOF consideration. GBC made a good point in that Howe's prime coincided with a very strong period for defensemen, so he was constantly up against tough competition. (ie it wasn't like LeClair being a 5-time all-star at left-wing against generally weak competition... that will forever stand as the record for most all-star selections without making the HOF).

    I don't consider the lack of a Stanley Cup a big knock against him, primarily because he was a good playoff performer. If I'm not mistaken he and McCrimmon did a pretty decent job playing against Lemieux in 1989.

    Howe's lack of longevity is a slightly bigger problem, but there is enough precedent for letting dominant defensemen in, despite shortened careers. Lapointe and Langway each played under 1,000 games too. Savard only played 1,040. Potvin played 1,060. I'm not saying Howe was as good as all of those players, but an extra ~120 games shouldn't make too big a difference.
     
  8. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    It is the Hockey Hall of fame not the NHL Hall of Fame. Howe's WHA career should be considered. And he while the league wasn't as good as the NHL it had a very high level of play and a ton of top players who would have been stars in the NHL at the time. As an 18 year old he got over a point per game and 38 goals in the WHA. That was in 73-74 he played until 94-95 in the NHL that is tremendous longevity. He never failed to get a point per game in the WHA (he was a forward). He is 8th All-time in WHA scoring. Then he had 10 years in the NHL as one of the top 5 D-Men of the period. Over that time period he was the 3rd best Defenceman in the NHL after Bourque and Coffey. I remeber that period and Howe was thought of as one of the best players by everyone. He brought the
    Flyers to the finals.

    Combined career stats:
    1355 games, 405 goals, 1246 points 176 playoff games, 153 playoff points.

    He should surely be in the Hall of Fame. There is no doubt in my mind. I think he is better than many already selected to the Hall of Fame and I think the reason he isn't in is that there is a really small pool of voters and at least a few of them are intentionally keeping Howe out of the Hall for some reason. Yes a conspiracy theory! Harry Sinden's name comes to mind. If there was broader voting like for the baseball Hall of Fame then he would have already been voted in. Some day if he doesn't make it in now he will get in as a veteran nominee a long way in the future.
     
  9. pnep

    pnep Registered User

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    Non Hall, 3+ time 1st team All-Star

    Player -- 1 ALL STAR
    =================
    Jagr Jaromir -- 6
    Hasek Dominik -- 6
    Roy Patrick -- 4
    Messier Mark -- 4
    Sakic Joe -- 3
    Lidstrom Nicklas -- 6
    Hull Brett -- 3
    Macinnis Al -- 4
    Chelios Chris -- 5
    Robitaille Luc -- 5
    Forsberg Peter -- 3
    Kariya Paul -- 3
    Naslund Markus -- 3
    Howe Mark -- 3

    Non Hall, 3+ time Team All-Star (retired players only)

    Player Name -- 1 ALL STAR -- 2 ALL STAR
    ============================
    Roy Patrick -- 4 -- 2
    Barrasso Tom -- 1 -- 2
    Bure Pavel -- 1 -- 2
    Howe Mark -- 3 -- 0
    Stevens Kevin -- 1 -- 2
    Smith Sid -- 1 -- 2
    Dillon Ceece -- 1 -- 2
    Martin Rick -- 2 -- 2
    Brewer Carl -- 1 -- 3
    Wilson Doug -- 1 -- 2
    Stapleton Pat -- 0 -- 3
    White Bill -- 0 -- 3
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2006
  10. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. He would be the first name on my ballot (if they gave me a ballot--I keep asking for one).
     
  11. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Of that group I see Naslund and Kariya also not getting in.
     
  12. V-2 Schneider

    V-2 Schneider Registered User

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    I'd take Doug Wilson over Mark Howe, and he's not in the HHOF.
     
  13. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    I stand corrected. Rob Blake will not be the first defenceman to not get into the HHOF with four all-star team selections. Carl Brewer has that distinction. Blake will be the second.

    As for V-2 Schneider's take: It's close for me between Howe and Doug Wilson. Doug Wilson was a wonderfully skilled defenceman who had some great seasons and Hall of Fame skills. His problem is he couldn't stay healthy. It seemed like he was always hurt, or playing hurt. Watch him play during the 1989-90 season. After three years of injuries (don't let the games played stat fool you) he stayed relatively healthy, and was so good he got a Norris nomination.

    I just think Howe was just a little bit better. If I had to choose the top five eligible defencemen not in the HHOF, I would have to say it's Howe, Wilson, Brewer, Randy Carlyle and J.C. Tremblay.
     
  14. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Howe is a tough one to gage. Serge Savard only had one second team all-star in '79 yet he's in. Although I'm sure 8 cups and a Conn Smythe Trophy put him over the top. Murphy, Lapointe and Langway are three other with three post season all-star selections and I think they deserve to be there. Howe will eventualy get the nod IMO.
     
  15. MS

    MS Registered User

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    The other thing about Howe is that he's the only player post-expansion who can claim to have been both an elite forward and an elite defender. Red Kelly is the only person who can say that, and it has to count for something.

    Howe's biggest problem is that he spent his first 6 seasons in the WHA, and that time seems to be completely thrown out when it comes to evaluating his career, which is highly unfortunate.

    He should be in the HHOF - one of the top 5 defenders of the 1980s, runner-up for the Norris 3 times, 1200+ professional points.
     
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