Who's in the HHOF but probably doesn't belong?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Mayor Bee, Nov 13, 2013.

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  1. Mayor Bee

    Mayor Bee Registered User

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    On the opposite side of the "who's not in but should be" discussion, my question is over who's in but probably shouldn't be.

    My personal opinion on any Hall of Fame is that it should be for:
    - The dominant players, who
    - Had dominant careers, who
    - Have a very strong case that isn't propped up by "what could have been"

    I concede to not knowing a heck of a lot of details about the NHL's first 20 years, but when I see things like:
    1) In 1917-18 (the NHL's first year), there were 27 skaters who suited up in the entire season. 13 of them are in the HOF. 3 of the 6 goalies who suited up are as well.
    2) In 1918-19, 14 of 25 skaters are in the HOF, plus 3/4 goalies.
    3) In 1919-20, 13 of 32 skaters are in the HOF, plus 2/6 goalies.
    4) In 1920-21, 13 of 32 skaters are in the HOF, plus 2/5 goalies.

    ....this seems to be a massive overrepresentation. It seems that that, as happened in baseball, there was a certain lack of the big picture. In baseball, the early Veterans Committee (of the 1940s) botched a huge number of their selections, putting in about 20 players who do not meet a reasonable HOF standard while passing over in several who did. In the 1970s, they did it again by putting in another handful of players who don't come close, still avoiding the remaining early players who did.

    In the case of the HHOF, who are the guys who don't meet a reasonable standard and yet are immortalized? And what's the cutoff?
     
  2. LeBlondeDemon10

    LeBlondeDemon10 BlindLemon Haystacks

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    Steve Shutt and Clark Gillies. Shutt was one of my idols growing up but it is very evident that he is in because he was part of a dynasty. Plus he was very one dimensional. During the last two years of the Habs dynasty, Shutt did not play a whole lot in important situations or late in the game. He was a pp guy and took a regular shift until the third period.

    Gillies is in a similar situation with being part of a dynasty. His game may have been more complete or he may have had more to offer. But nothing other than his size and grit stands out for me. Shutt at least had a specialized skill. He was great around the net. Both guys relied too much on others to get them the puck. Solid players but not HOF worthy in my opinion.
     
  3. MS

    MS 1%er

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    Yeah, Shutt and Gillies were good players who benefitted hugely from being on dynasty teams as linemates of all-time greats. In an inflated scoring era. Shutt had 1 season over 80 adjusted points, and 691 career adjusted points. Gillies had 2 seasons over 60 adjusted points (!) and 575 career adjusted points. Neither belongs.

    Dick Duff is the worst induction of the modern era. Journeyman 2nd/3rd line tweener who had two really good playoffs. Easily a worse player than Butch Goring by any metric. Can actually make a non-ridiculous comparison between Duff and Ruslan Fedotenko, which shows how truly awful that induction was.

    The two other O6 guys who don't fit are Edgar Laprade and Leo Boivin. Laprade was a pretty decent two-way forward on a bad team for about 5 years. Good player but not a HHOFer. Boivin was a good, hard-nosed defensive defender ... who never won a Cup or was named to a post-season All-Star team. A Mike Ramsey or Robyn Regehr.

    Dino Ciccarelli is a guy who grates me. Pure compiler in a high-scoring era who was a dick off the ice and has nothing else to recommend him.

    There are a lot of iffy inductions pre-1930, but I don't know that period well enough to fully comment. Shorty Green is one that stands out, though.
     
  4. ehhedler

    ehhedler Registered User

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    Art Ross is inducted as a player and he doesn't seem to have been that dominant of a player in his era, there were certainly more dominant guys on defense like Hod Stuart, Moose Johnson, the Patrick Brothers, Sprague Cleghorn. But I'm no Ross expert and perhaps he had something I can't see. George McNamara's in the same boat I guess. Then you have Scotty Davidson for example who only played two seasons and is inducted on nostalgia. Of course there will be stronger and weaker cases in every era, but as long as Gillies, Nieuwendyk & Ciccarelli guys from the modern era is inducted I don't see the big fault.

    As for the early years of the NHL and the low number of teams a lot of it had to do with the turmoil break from the NHA, Livingstone and his Toronto teams, Quebec who didn't follow the first years and then Wanderers arena burned down. NHL is a prolonged NHA and NHA played most seasons with 6 or 5 teams. Most, if not all, impact players in the first NHL season had a background in the NHA. There's some really good, or sometimes even dominant, players from this era who's not in the Hall of Fame like Bernie Morris, Harry Smith, Odie Cleghorn, Eddie Oatman, Herb Jordan, Corb Denneny, Dubbie Kerr, Skene Ronan, Jack McDonald. So not every good player from that era is in the Hall of Fame.
     
  5. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Taken in the context of the times I dont know that its so surprising that he'd be in the HHOF as a Player rather than a Builder as in 1945 when he was inducted it was the first year for it and so they inducted 12 Charter Members including obviously Art Ross. Question for you though; did they even have a "Builders" category back then? Im not so sure about that. And if not though not the greatest player Ross was "good enough" which when combined with everything else he'd contributed & done, lock to get in, Trophy named after him in 1947.

    While its true he only played 3 NHL games, over the span of app 200 NHA & professional games as a defenceman he did put up north of 150 points and was in fact a pioneer at that position, one of the first rushing defenceman and from his earliest days in organized hockey playing with the Patrick brothers at his high school in Westmount (Montreal). He won two Stanley Cups (Kenora Thistles & Wanderers) and interestingly as well tried to start up a rival league to the NHA when they imposed a $5000 Salary Cap per team, Ross going so far as to go out & sign a number of players absent a league charter, franchises & owners, buildings to play in & whatnot. Quite the renegade apparently & suspended altogether for his efforts.

    Really its as a Coach, Manager & Innovator that he's best remembered for deserving of a place in the HHOF from building the Bruins into a powerhouse & winning 3 Stanley Cups, introducing the Kitty-Bar-The-Door Trap, substituting a 6th attacker & pulling the goalie when down in the last minutes of a game & during penalties, to re-designing the actual puck itself & nets that were still in use well into the 70's & 80's; creating the center ice red line & just on & on. Apparently as well had a 40+ year feud with Conn Smythe to the point that they didnt even talk to one another at Board of Governors Meetings, at games or wherever. Stemmed back to the mid 20's when Smythe was Managing & Coaching the University of Toronto Blues. Made a swing through the Boston area on an exhibition tour, the Bruins newly minted, Smythe mouthing off that his team of amateurs could beat the Bruins no problem, hardly the kind of trash talk one would expect from a guy who prided himself as being an officer & a gentleman huh? Punk.
     
  6. Terry Yake

    Terry Yake Registered User

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    i've always wondered what people think about grant fuhr being in the HOF

    i was too young to remember his days with the oilers but just by looking at his stats, from 81-82 to 87-88 he was dominant and obviously a big part of the oilers cup runs. after 1989 however he declined quick and bounced around a few teams eventually ending up in st. louis where he had a few decent seasons in the late 90s before retiring in 2000.

    obviously he was one of the best goalies in the 80s but does he belong in the HOF? didn't andy moog also put up some dominant numbers playing on those oilers teams and even carried his success to boston while fuhr did virtually nothing after leaving the oilers?
     
  7. cynicism

    cynicism Registered User

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    Harold Ballard
     
  8. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    You should pose this question in the thread "Who Isnt in the HHOF but should be" just a few notches down on the board here Terry.... but I will say, ya, for a period of time there Fuhr was arguably the very best goalie in the league. Not sure about his being inducted into the HHOF though. Substance abuse problems etc... mind you, if barring someone for being a miscreant & or breaking the law disqualified a player or builder, we'd be looking at a fair number of expulsions.
     
  9. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Considering the standards for goalies are USUALLY higher than the standards for other positions, Gerry Cheevers sticks out like a sore thumb.

    After that, I agree with everyone listed in MS's post, though I at least see the case for Laprade. Lanny McDonald is another weak one to me - seems like he got in largely because of an iconic photograph featuring his iconic mustache
     
  10. ehhedler

    ehhedler Registered User

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    He probably was good enough. He was also, as I've read in old newspaper accounts, quite a rough player despite his gentleman looks.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...JkFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5497,2618280&dq=art+ross&hl=en

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XDNmAAAAIBAJ&sjid=eYgNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1477,2048683&dq
     
  11. Hockey Monkey

    Hockey Monkey Registered User

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    I don't really have any big problem with it. Dude was mediocre in the big goalie stats (sv% especially), but that was due in large part to the fact that he was so regularly left out to dry by a completely defensively disinterested Edmonton team. He took on so, so many odd man rushes and breakaways.

    Also Gillies is the answer. Big time. I don't even know what the hell is with that. I'll offer a more controversial choice and say Cam Neely.
     
  12. Terry Yake

    Terry Yake Registered User

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    Fuhr is in the HOF though, inducted in 2003
     
  13. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    The Veteran's Committee in the late 80s/early 90s was largely tasked with inducting players from the 1940s who may have been overlooked. However, maybe there was a reason so few players from the 40s were inducted by people who watched them play - it was a really weak period for the NHL. The Veteran's Committee also had some real lazy inductions - inducted a guy with a single Trophy and little else to his resume - like Buddy O'Connor's Hart or Roy Conacher's Art Ross.

    Here are the players the Veteran's Committee inducted:

    Buddy O'Connor (1988)
    Herbie Lewis (1989)
    Fern Flaman (1990)
    Clint Smith (1991)
    Woody Dumart (1992)
    Edgar Laprade (1993)
    Lionel Conacher (1994)
    Harry Watson (1994)
    Bun Cook (1995)
    Bobby Bauer (1996)
    Roy Conacher (1998)

    For some reason, they also felt the need to induct both of Milt Schmidt's linemates. They also felt like finishing off the Bread Line by inducting Bun Cook (Bun's not that weak, but wasn't an onerous omission either). Harry Watson seems like they wanted to induct another member of the 40s Leafs dynasty and kind of threw darts at the wall.
     
  14. Mayor Bee

    Mayor Bee Registered User

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    Just for fun, the baseball historian and analyst Bill James came up with this list of questions to determine HOF candidacy. It was over Cleveland third baseman Ken Keltner, who played in the 1930s and 1940s, and therefore is called the Keltner List. These are adjusted for hockey.


    - Was he ever regarded as the best player in hockey? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in hockey?
    - Was he the best player on his team?
    - Was he the best player in hockey at his position?
    - Did he have an impact on a number of playoff races?
    - Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?
    - Is he the very best player in hockey history who is not in the Hall of Fame?
    - Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Fame?
    - Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?
    - Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
    - Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?
    - How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?
    - How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go to the Hall of Fame?
    - If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the Stanley Cup?
    - What impact did the player have on hockey history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?
    - Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    There are other factors to consider as well. James was of the opinion that Richie Ashburn, the 4th-best center fielder of his time, was a legitimate HOFer because his position of 4th was due to the misfortune of playing at exactly the same time as three of the five best CF in history (Mays, Mantle, Snider). Had Ashburn played in the 1930s, 1940s, or 1960s, he'd have been regarded as the best at his position.

    A similar thing happens with Brad Park. Park quite famously never won a Norris Trophy, not because he was subpar but because his prime years were the same as Bobby Orr's prime years, and his years outside of Orr's shadow were against the prime years of Denis Potvin and Larry Robinson. It doesn't mean that all defensemen who lack a Norris are serious HOF candidates, or that Park being a HOFer without a Norris means that not having a Norris can no longer be held against marginal candidates. Larry Murphy may be in the same boat, but I still think it's too early to determine his legacy in the overall big picture.

    Personally, I tend to lean toward a smaller HOF. There are a ton of players already in who, if everyone better than them were inducted, would cause the ranks to balloon to 700 or more members.
     
  15. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    ... :laugh: well, there ya go. Oops. Not enough coffee in me I guess.
     
  16. Beastdog75

    Beastdog75 Registered User

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    Just wondering what the consensus on Habs defenseman Tom Johnson would be. I never saw him play but I was surprised to see that he was a HHOFer. I know he played with some pretty good defenseman (Bouchard, Harvey, Laperriere, etc.) but was he ever considered one of the top defenseman of his era?
     
  17. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    He won a Norris Trophy when Doug Harvey was injured and was a 2nd Team All Star another season. Here's a profile I made of him: http://hfboards.mandatory.com/showpost.php?p=60517905&postcount=106

    I think Johnson is in the bottom half of HHOFers, but is far from the lowest tier.
     
  18. Beastdog75

    Beastdog75 Registered User

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    Thanks for the profile. Who would be a comparable, more recent player. Would you say Johnson was a more skilled version of Derian Hatcher?
     
  19. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Well I wouldn't say Fuhr did nothing after the Oilers either. He had the drug problems in the late 1980s and it almost appeared as if he was recovering in the early 1990s because he had a couple bad years. But he was back in form by 1992-'93 as a 2nd tier elite goalie and stayed that way well into the 1990s up until 1998 or 1999 or so. Had some fine years with St. Louis and you can argue he could have won the Vezina in 1996.

    But it his Oilers years that get him in there. Plus the Vezina/2nd place Hart finish in 1988 that helps him. You can't be part of 5 Cups as a goalie (4 as a starter) and not get into the HHOF. Not to mention his memorable play in the Canada/Russia series in the Canada Cup 1987. Wayne Gretzky has said this routinely enough that I almost believe him that if he were to pick one goalie in NHL history for a Game 7 it would be Fuhr. You can't really blame him for the Steve Smith bank shot in 1986 either. The guy's a HHOF, and definitely not the worst goalie in there, no way.

    Also part of a dynasty too. Harvey was the #1 defenseman of course, but Johnson was #2. Throw in the Norris Trophy and it's hard to keep him out. Johnson wasn't as big as Derian that's for sure but defensively, yeah he is comparable.
     
  20. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    For goalies, I don't think anyone should be out of the HHOF. Cheevers is commonly thought to be the one guy that doesn't belong, but I think he's fine in there, even if he's at the bottom. Someone has to be. I think he did enough.

    Defensemen I only have a problem with Leo Boivin in there. Another veteran's committee induction if I remember correctly. They are usually strict with defensemen which is fine by me. It took them forever to put Mark Howe in there and Tremblay and Wilson are still waiting to get in.

    Forwards is where some of the standards have been dropped. Gillies, Duff, Nieuwendyk, Neely, Pulford, Laprade are the names I would pull out. Neely made it so that its impossible for Lindros to ever be left out. Nieuwendyk was a media darling and Gillies was far down on the totem pole in that Isles dynasty. Further down than Tonelli.

    Federko and Ciccarelli do spring to mind but the thing with them is that they had nice long stretches of elite play. Federko falls into the trap that he didn't do anything particularly special. Dino is a guy that a lot of people tend to forget was commonly a name brought up when he WASN'T in the HHOF. He scored a lot of goals, 608, and did it the right way without padding his stats and playing in his 40s. Was a competitor too, a playoff warrior. I "get" how he gets inducted to be honest. He's hotly debated, I'll leave it at that.
     
  21. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Believe it or not, Boivin was not a Veteran's Committee pick. Inducted in 1986. I have no idea why. You can't even point to Maple Leaf homerism like you can with Dick Duff.

    I'm okay with Pulford. I don't see that much difference between him and Bob Gainey, to be honest. Pulford was probably the fourth most important forward on the Leafs dynasty after Dave Keon, George Armstrong, and Frank Mahovlich.
     
  22. Mayor Bee

    Mayor Bee Registered User

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    From my count, there's 28 goalies who played in the NHL who are in as players (Emile Francis is in as a builder). This obviously doesn't include non-NHLers like Bouse Hutton and Percy LeSueur.

    To me, it's not a case of someone clearly being the worst. It's a case of "if this guy is in, why isn't this guy?" Among pre-WWII goalies, can it be said with any amount of certainty that Alec Connell, Clint Benedict, and Roy Worters were better than Dave Kerr, Lorne Chabot, and John Ross Roach? Post-WWII to expansion, what of Chuck Rayner?
     
  23. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Benedict and Worters, absolutely. Connell, maybe not.

    Received a very high amount of recognition for someone on such a poor team. Definitely deserves to be in. IMO, he compares very favorable to Lumley and Worsley.
     
  24. billybudd

    billybudd 1for the other thumb

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    My answer, which I'm sure a lot of people won't like, would be Glenn Anderson, so I'll take a look and see how he does here just for the Hell of it.

    James' criteria are a little harsh for hockey where there are less positions to be "best" at and more variance between the "best" and "good" players in any given year, but I do agree with the conclusion in regards to Anderson.
     
  25. LeBlondeDemon10

    LeBlondeDemon10 BlindLemon Haystacks

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    Yeah, I thought of Anderson too. Another guy that benefited from being on a dynasty team with numerous offensively gifted players; the best one in history and a few others that are easily top 20. Put him on an average team in that era and he does not reach the numbers he accumulated. However, Anderson was a top notch playoff guy who gave his all.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013

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