Today, the 18 member Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee tapped this year’s Hall of Fame Inductee Class, and what a Class it was! Joe Sakic, Adam Oates, Mats Sundin and Pavel “The Russian Rocket” Bure will all be the newest members of this exclusive club. It was also a banner year for the Hurricanes in regards to the HOF nominations, as four ex-Canes were first year eligible. As it stands now, there are only two former Hurricanes in the Hall, Paul Coffee (who only played a bit over 100 games in a Canes sweater in the twilight of his career), and Ronnie Francis. This year Bret Hedican, Martin Gelinas, Sean Hill and Gary Roberts were all hoping to make the cut. All four spent a reasonable amount of time in NC or contributed to the team’s success in a playoff run, which makes it more notable than others who may have spent a short amount of time here or didn’t contribute while in The Eye (Tomas Kaberle?). However, with stars such as the inductees, as well as the other snubs like Brendan Shanahan, Curtis Joseph, Jeremy Roenick, Luke Richardson, Bobby Holik and Ken Klee, it just wasn’t meant to be (yea, I saved Klee until last to make it rhyme, what of it?). They all will be put into limbo, waiting to hear their name called sometime in the future. But players like Phil Housley, Dave Andreychuk, Eric Lindross (BOOOOO!!!), and Mike Richter also grace that list. So, it could be a while before they crack the doors to the Hallowed Hall. Which Former Hurricane stands the best chance of making it some day? To the numbers!
Bret Hedican – Out of the four, Mr. Yamaguchi spent the most time in The Triangle and was an integral part of both the ’02 and ’06 Cup runs. His sturdiness at the blue line and yeoman like approach to playing endeared him to Caniac Nation. His regular season stats (1039 GP, 294 points, 893 PIM, 1 cup title) while impressive,weren’t enough to get him a ticket to TO this year.
Martin Gelinas – Did he ever score a goal that wasn’t a game winner? Marty was CLUTCH. As much as I hate to say it, his regular season stats aren’t HOF type numbers (1273 GP and 660 points, 1 cup title) and are overshadowed by other players who contributed alot more to the game. Too bad they don’t have a category for “Timely Goals” or he would be first ballot.
Sean Hill – During his two and a half seasons in Raleigh he helped get the Canes to the Stanley Cup Finals in ’02. In the regular season he played 876 games, notched 298 points and served 1008 PIMS over the span of his career. In April of ’07 (in the middle of a playoff run) Hill became the first player in NHL history to be suspended for violating the league’s performance enhancing substance program (that explains the chin). I doubt that is the kind of trailblazing the committee takes into account when voting and it will most likely keep Hill out of the Hall.
Gary Roberts – Roberts was one of the original GCC (Greensboro Coliseum Crew). While in the Tarheel State he was solid winger averaging about 48 points a season, he also helped to herald in a new era of southern hockey, but most of his HOF worthy stats were accrued in Calgary . As you can see, his stats (career regular season stats 1224 GP, 910 points, 2560 PIMS, 1 cup title) and reputation probably warrant the most attention from the committee of the four on this list, but pale in comparison to some of the other players this off season.
So, The Franchise and Paul Douglas Coffee (should totally rip off Tim Horton) will have to wait at least another year for some fellow Hurricane companions to join them in Toronto. Who do you think will be the next Hurricane to have a bust at 30 Yonge Street?