x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

There needs to be more room in the hall

The Hall was made for players like Belfour, Gilmour, Howe and Nieuwendyk, but that does not mean everyone got in who should have.

Ed Belfour. Doug Gilmour. Mark Howe. Joe Nieuwendyk. It is hard to argue with the Hockey Hall of Fame's inductees this year.

The four retired NHL players combined for five Stanley Cups and more than 1,200 goals and 3,300 points. Belfour won nearly 500 games, plus another 88 in the play-offs, as well as two Vezina Trophies in an era when Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur and Dominik Hasek were in their prime.

The Hall was made for players like these. But that does not mean everyone got in who should have.

For starters, Pavel Bure scored 437 goals in 702 games and was perhaps the most dazzling player of his generation. And if Bure did not score, it was probably because he went up against Guy Carbonneau, the all-time checking centre who captured three Selke Trophies as the NHL's best defensive forward and three cups.

Eric Lindros's career was waylaid by concussion issues, but not before "The Big E" established himself as the best player in the NHL in the mid-1990s, winning a Hart Trophy and scaring the heck out of anyone in his path.

Finally, Pat Burns, who passed away last summer, was named the NHL's Coach of the Year three times - for three teams - and won a cup with New Jersey in 2003.

And we have not even mentioned the next level of Hall eligibles, such as Phil Housely (all-time most points among US-born defencemen), Dave Andreychuk (640 goals, including an NHL-record 274 on the power play) and Adam Oates (the NHL's best pure playmaker since Wayne Gretzky).