Former Ranger, and one of my favorites, Tony Amonte was elected to the US Hockey HOF, joining John Leclair and Tom Barrasso in the 2009 class. Amonte had two very successful seasons with the Rangers before being shipped to Chicago in the deal that brought Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan to NY, putting up 35-34-69 and 33-43-76.
Other than Mike York, who went on to nothing following his departure from NY, Amonte was the last Ranger rookie to really be a consistently legitimate scoring threat every time he touched the ice. Kudos to him, Leclair and Barrasso.
Former BU All-American Captain and current Rangers prospect Matt Gilroy has been nominated for the 2009 ESPY Award for Best Male College Athlete. The Long Island native lifted BU to the 2009 National Championship, winning the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s top college ice-hockey player along the way. On April 17th, just 6 days after winning the title, Gilroy signed a 2-year $3.5 million contract with the Rangers. His fellow nominees include Sam Bradford of Oklahoma (football), Blake Griffin of Oklahoma (basketball), Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State (baseball), and Tim Tebow of Florida (football).
That’s some incredibly elite company for a college hockey player, a student-athlete who doesn’t get any attention whatsoever. When you consider that Bradford won the Heisman, Griffin will be the #1 pick in the NBA draft tonight, Strasburg was the #1 pick in the MLB draft and is “one of the greatest pitching prospects ever”, and Tebow has been baptized Superman and all that is holy by half the press, its a pretty impressive feat. Say what you want about the ESPYs (i.e. total popularity contest), but its one of the few events that bridges sports, whether its high school, college, pro, olympic, extreme…whatever. So to be included in one of the categories is a pretty nice honor. Chances of him winning are basically zero, due to the reasons previously stated, but a special honor nonetheless.
With the induction of possibly the best HOF class ever yesterday, it sparked some debate on which class is better: the 2009 class of Yzerman, Hull, Leetch and Robitaille, or the 2007 class of Messier, MacInnis, Stevens and Francis. It’s a tough call, and there probably is no wrong answer here. But let’s run through the NHL regular season numbers:
- Goals: 2,348 (Yzerman-692, Hull-741, Leetch-247, Robitaille-668)
- Assists: 3,220 (Yzerman-1,063, Hull-650, Leetch-781, Robitaille-726)
- Points: 5,568 (Yzerman-1,755, Hull-1,391, Leetch-1,028, Robitaille-1,394)
- Stanley Cups: 7 (Yzerman-3, Hull-2, Leetch-1, Robitaille-1)
- Awards: 1 Hart (Hull), 2 Pearson (Yzerman, Hull), 2 Conn Smythe (Yzerman, Leetch), 1 Selke (Yzerman), 1 Masterson (Yzerman), 1 Byng (Hull), 2 Norris (Leetch), 2 Calder (Leetch, Robitaille)
- All-Star Appearances: 36 (Yzerman-10, Hull-8, Leetch-10, Robitaille-8)
- Goals: 1,779 (Messier-694, MacInnis-340, Stevens-196, Francis-549)
- Assists: 4,088 (Messier-1,193, MacInnis-934, Stevens-712, Francis-1,249)
- Points: 5,867 (Messier-1,887, MacInnis-1,274, Stevens-908, Francis-1,798)
- Stanley Cups: 12 (Messier-6, MacInnis-1, Stevens-3, Francis-2)
- Awards: 2 Harts (Messier), 3 Conn Smythes (Messier, MacInnis, Stevens), 2 Pearsons (Messier), 1 Norris (MacInnis), 1 Selke (Francis), 3 Byngs (Francis), 1 Clancy (Francis)
- All-Star Appearances: 47 (Messier-15, MacInnis-15, Stevens-13, Francis-4)
It really is a toss up. There is no wrong answer here, cases can be made for both, and these are just the raw numbers. There was much more to each of these players than just statistics, especially with Scott Stevens.
The only surprise here is that Ron Francis was only voted to the All-Star Game four times. That’s an absolute travesty.
Update 4:00pm: Actually, let’s make a poll out of this. It’s mid-page, on the right hand side.
As expected, Brian Leetch was voted into the Hall of Fame today, joining Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille as possibly the best HOF class of all time.
Leetch’s Career Stats:
- 247 goals
- 781 assists
- 1,028 points
- Two-time Norris Trophy winner (1992, 1997)
- Calder Trophy winner (1989)
- 11-time All Star
- Conn Smythe Trophy winner (1994)
- Stanley Cup winner (1994)
- Gold medal – 1996 World Cup, captain of Team USA
- Silver medal – 2002 Winter Olympics
And now add to that list, Hall of Famer.
This caps off an amazing career by #2. There’s not much else to say other than Congratulations.
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?
Tomorrow at 3pm, a max of four players will get the nod to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The noteables eligible for the first time: Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, and of course, my favorite Ranger of all time, Brian Leetch. Other players that are eligible, but seems to be looked over, Alex Mogilny, Dave Andreychuk, Dino Ciccarelli, Pavel Bure, Doug Gilmour, Steve Larmer, Kevin Lowe and another one of my favorites, Mike Richter.
All of the players listed above should get into the Hall of Fame. Of the ones listed, Richter is the most questionable to get into the Hall. I think the magic number is 300 wins, so he should be getting in, but it’s more of a question of when.
So with all those names up there, who gets in for 2009?
Yzerman, Hull, Leetch, Robitaille.
I didn’t watch the Awards ceremony last night, I was too busy watching the Yankees drop two of three to the worst team in the league. I’m not really surprised by the winners.
Ovechkin deserved the Hart and the Pearson. No one player means more to his team than him. Not only is he the most electrifying player in the game, but without him, the Caps are a sub-.500 team, and they don’t sell nearly as many tickets as they do. Ovechkin is one of those players that when he goes on the road, people from other cities buy tickets to see him play.
You can’t argue with Chara (Norris), Thomas (Vezina) and Julien (Jack Adams) either. I have to hand it to Tim Thomas though. The guy is 35, has never been a solid NHL goalie, and he comes out of nowhere to become one of the top goalies in the league since the lockout. Kudos to him.
Anyone who thinks that Mason didn’t deserve the Calder is just kidding themselves.
I think that Datsyuk is going the Ron Francis route, in terms of Lady Byng’s. Francis, obviously, was one of the top players in the game, but never got recognition for it with a Hart or a Pearson. He was never far and away the best player for a particular season, he was just Mr. Consistency. He won three Byng’s though, and Datsyuk should be honored to be in his company, and I think he is. He will also take home his fair share of Selke’s too. It wouldn’t shock me to see him win both for the next few years, like he did the past two.
Finally, I’m just happy that the Messier award didn’t go to Crosby. I have no qualms with giving it to Iginla. He is the face of the Flames.
To those that watched it, did Vegas give the show more flair? Did Mess cry when giving out his award?
Brian Leetch is one of the many on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. He should be a shoe-in, as should other first timers Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Alexander Mogilny and Luc Robitaille. I don’t know who else is on the ballot, nor do I know what the maximum number of players voted in per year is. But these five players belong in the Hall, no doubt about it.
In other news, John “OH BABY” Davidson will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. The Foster Hewitt Memorial Award is an award named after Foster Hewitt and presented by the Hockey Hall of Fame to members of the radio and television industry who make outstanding contributions to their profession and the game of hockey during their broadcasting career (source: Wikipedia).
Congrats to JD, and future congrats to Leetch, and the other soon-to-be Hall of Famers.
The first goalie to make the All Star Team from the Rangers since Mike Richter, Hank got torched last night. That’s expected at this game though. I’m not going to lie, I kind of laughed at the end of the period. The game, like pretty much every All Star Game, lacked defense.
It’s all fun and games. I certainly enjoyed it.
Back to business though, the final two months of the season are upon us.