The Best Class Ever?June 23, 2009, by
Been a while since I last wrote here. Things like Hall of Fame Inductions always interest me, and I usually feel the need to ask the question posed in the title when it includes names like Yzerman, Hull, Robitaille, Leetch, Richter, Dino, etc etc etc. While it seems that the general consensus is that the first four mentioned are virtual shoe-ins, it surprises me that it is so unanimous, given the company that is nominated alongside them. For everyone else, its pretty much just a bad year to have your name on the ballot. Everyone on this list at some point in their career was either an impactful or influential player, one way or another. But when you consider that Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, and Brian Leetch will likely be the 4 players inducted, can we coronate the Hall of Fame Class of 2009 the greatest HOF class ever? The two classes of recent memory that are among the top include the 2007 class of Mark Messier, Al MacInnis, Scott Stevens, and Ron Francis and the 1983 class of Ken Dryden, Bobby Hull, and Stan Mikita. I’m sure the likes of Stan Fischler might say otherwise, but those are some pretty stacked groups. Let’s see how they measure up:
Stevie Y: Three-Time Stanley Cup Champion, Captain of the Red Wings beginning at age 21, 6th on the all-time scoring list, and one of the gutsiest players of his time (played the majority of his final years with essentially no cartilage in both knees). And to this day, has scored one of my favorite goals of all time.
Luc Robitaille: Stanley Cup Champion, 8-Time All-Star, highest scoring left wing in NHL history with 668 goals. Holds most scoring records for the Los Angeles Kings, where he played the majority of his career.
Brett Hull: Two-Time Stanley Cup Champion, his 741 career goals rank him 3rd all-time overall and the highest American goal-scorer in NHL history (even though he has dual citizenship with Canada, all his international play has been for the USA). Nicknamed the Golden Brett. Scored one of the most controversial goals in the NHL history during the 1999 Stanley Cup Final.
Brian Leetch: Stanley Cup Champion (as if you didn’t know), only Amercian-born player to win Conn Smythe Trophy, two-time Norris Trophy recipient. Scored a still rookie-defenseman record 23 goals in his debut season with the Blueshirts. And the importance of this goal can never be overstated. PS: if any of you guys can find an isolated video of the spin-o-rama goal against Brodeur in the ’94 East Finals please post it…because that was pretty)
So that’s a pretty impressive resume if you ask me. What do you guys think? If this does turn out to be the Class of 2009, will it be considered the best-ever?