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Hockey Hall of Fame’s future looks good with committee changes

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John Davidson of the Columbus Blue Jackets

The respected John Davidson will have plenty to say about future Hall of Fame inductees. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

There will be a changing of the old guard at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

It was announced today that Blue Jackets president John Davidson will succeed Jim Gregory as the chairman of the Hall’s selection committee.

Gregory and Serge Savard, whose terms had ended, and former committee member Pat Quinn will be replaced by Bobby Clarke, David Poile and Luc Robitaille.

Davidson, one of the most respected voices in the game, appears to be a smart choice for the chairmanship. He’s an enthusiastic and open-minded manager with Columbus, and has the personality to carry the Hall in a new direction.

You can expect to hear grumblings of dissent over Clarke’s appointment — he’s regarded as something less than open-minded — but Poile and Robitaille are exactly the kind of fresh blood the committee needs.

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  • Published On Mar 26, 2014
  • Eric Lindros and Pat Burns among notable Hall of Fame snubs … again

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    The late coach Pat Burns deserves to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    If three Jack Adams Awards and a Stanley Cup can’t get Pat Burns into the Hall, what will? (Lou Capozzola/SI)

    By Allan Muir

    The Hall of Fame selection committee voted in five new members to join the game’s greatest legends on Tuesday and did as well as it has done in years. After honoring a stream of marginal players like Bernie Federko, Leo Boivin and Dick Duff, the 2013 class of Scott Niedermayer, Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, Geraldine Heaney and Fred Shero deserve all the accolades coming their way.

    MUIR: Saluting the Class of 2013

    But as good as this group was, there’s plenty of room for debate because of who didn’t make the cut.

    Again, nothing wrong with the Shero nod, but the Pat Burns snub in the Builder category has gotten past the point of reason. Forget that the committee had a chance to do the right thing and induct him just before he died of cancer three years ago — that refusal may have been the its self-important way of saying it wouldn’t be influenced by the massive social effort aimed at pressuring it to induct Burns while he was still alive. But it’s been three years now. Three years. Whichever voters the admittedly brusque ex-cop offended along the way need to step back and recognize the greatness of the only three-time Jack Adams winner in NHL history, a man who guided the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2003 and who won 501 games during his 14-season career.

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  • Published On Jul 09, 2013
  • Hockey Hall of Fame adds Niedermayer, Chelios, Shanahan, Shero, Heaney

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    Scott Niedermayer

    Name a major accomplishment in hockey and it’s likely on Scott Niedermayer’s résumé. (Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    The selection committee for the Hockey Hall of Fame has earned a healthy dose of scorn for its history of voting that, at times, smacks of cronyism, vindictiveness and xenophobia. But in naming the members of the Class of 2013 today, it came as close to getting it right as it has in years.

    The 18-man induction committee voted in Scott Niedermayer, Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan and Geraldine Heaney in the Player Category and Fred Shero in the Builder Category. All are eminently worthy of the honor, even though it took too long for three of them to be recognized.

    The Hall doesn’t release vote totals, but it’s hard to imagine that Niedermayer wasn’t on all 18 ballots in his first year of eligibility.

    Whatever standards someone might apply to earn admission to the Hall, he crushed them all.

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  • Published On Jul 09, 2013
  • Hey, Pat Quinn! Here’s how to improve the Hockey Hall of Fame

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    Pat Quinn and Bill Hay with Mats Sundin at the Hockey Hall of Fame

    Incoming chairman Pat Quinn (right, with Mats Sundin) will replace Bill Hay (left) on August 1. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Hey, Pat.

    Congrats on the new gig! Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Not bad for a kid from The Hammer.

    I’m sure you’ll be telling people that you’ve got some big shoes to fill. Your predecessor, Bill Hay, had a decent run of it since taking the reins in 1999. He oversaw $50 million worth of expansion and renovation to the current Hall location, which is awesome, by the way. I took my kids for their first visit last summer. Not a week goes by without them asking if we can go again this year, so good job, everyone!

    Hay also made it easier for women to gain entry to the Hall by setting up a unique category so they wouldn’t have to compete with men for votes. Of course, it took him until 2010 to make that happen, but hey, progress is progress, right?

    And that’s really what I want to talk to you about. Progress. Change has occurred at a fairly glacial pace around the Hall. I think you have a chance to address that.

    Now as I understand it, most of your time will be spent shaking hands and shaking people down for funds soliciting donations. Not the most glamorous aspect of the job, but a necessary evil when you’re running a massive not-for-profit like the HOF.

    I’m guessing it’ll be your abilities in that area that will determine how highly you’re regarded by the board of directors, so good luck there. But what hockey fans care about is the integrity of the Hall itself.

    The thing about you is, you’re a leader. A great leader. Change requires great leadership. See where I’m going here? It’s time for some serious reform around those parts.

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  • Published On Apr 05, 2013
  • CBA sticking point casts cloud over Hall of Fame induction ceremony

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    Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2012

    It’s sad that a time when media attention should be focused solely on the deserving  2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, the NHL lockout and CBA negotiations will dominate the headlines. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    Things are once again at a standstill after the lost weekend of NHL-NHLPA CBA talks. We followed Friday’s events and their fallout on Saturday, and, to the credit of cooler heads, the talks did resume on Sunday, but went nowhere. They focused on an area of the deal that has proved to be as problematic — and will likely continue to be — as the split of Hockey Related Revenue: player contracting rights.

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  • Published On Nov 12, 2012
  • The Hockey Hall of Fame, the Capitals and Adam Oates’ huge day

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    In new Hall of Famer Adam Oates (right), the Caps hired a superb teacher. (Shelly Castellano/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    You won’t see a guy have a better day than Adam Oates had on Tuesday, being officially announced as the head coach of the Washington Capitals and an honored member of the Hockey Hall of Fame (video) within the space of a few hours. “Obviously an absolutely fantastic day,” Oates said. “I don’t know if that’s ever happened before. I have to go out and play Lotto, I think.  Two huge honors.”

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  • Published On Jun 27, 2012
  • NHL grapples with retaliation dilemma

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    Key question: Who is the most effective at policing the modern game on the ice – the NHL or the players? (Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE)

    By Stu Hackel

    In the aftermath of the Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller incident last Saturday, the Buffalo Sabres have come under heavy criticism for not pushing back against the Boston Bruins, either by challenging Lucic or by running goaltender Tim Thomas in retaliation. We showed video earlier this week of a 1987 game between Buffalo and Detroit that featured goalie-running and line brawls, but those sights are rare these days.

    Should the players take matters into their own hands more than they do now?
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  • Published On Nov 16, 2011
  • Remembering Pat Burns

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    By Stu Hackel

    Pat Burns passed away on Friday, a gruff but funny and beloved figure in the game and the only coach to win the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s Coach of the Year with three different teams — Montreal in 1989, Toronto in 1993 and Boston in 1998. He coached the Devils to the 2003 Stanley Cup and deserves a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame, which he sadly did not live to see.

    But he did live to see construction begin on a rink named in his honor in the Eastern Townships of Quebec

    …and learn how much he was loved when his death was reported erroneously earlier this year. At that time, Bob McKenzie of TSN, who was a close friend of Burns, wrote just about the best thing you could want to read about Pat, and you should read it sometime this weekend.

    Jim Kelley of SI.com, who also writes for Sportsnet.ca, has written a very personal and insightful remembrance of Burns on that website and you should read that one too.

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  • Published On Nov 20, 2010


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