Dino Ciccarelli had to wait a long time for his Hall of Fame call, but at least the master of the short-range goal gets to be a part of history with his induction.
Just not necessarily because of what he did.
That’s not a knock on the former right winger who annoyed opponents as much as he hurt them by putting up some pretty big numbers. Ciccarelli played 19 seasons with North Stars, Capitals, Red Wings, Lightning and Panthers and remains one of the top 20 goals scorers of all time, despite retiring more than a decade ago. He had 608 goals in the regular season and 73 more in the playoffs, and he is probably best remembered for doing things the hard way, getting to the front of the net and taking the punishment that came with it.
Of course Ciccarelli never won a Stanley Cup or an award so having him as the only former NHLer did raise some eyebrows when the announcements were made last June. Several other eligibles like Joe Nieuwendyk, who won three Cups and a Conn Smythe Trophy, and Adam Oates, who didn’t, but had more than 1,000 assists and helped turn Brett Hull into a scoring machine, had pretty good credentials too. And you can make cases for others like Mark Howe, Doug Gilmour or Eric Lindros.
Apparently though, there was some confusion among the voters this year, so Ciccarelli gets to go solo, but the Hall’s headliners tonight will really be the women players who will be the first to join. USA Hockey icon Cammi Granato and Canadian legend Angela James are the pioneers, and really, they are the ones who will make the class of 2010 one for the ages.
The newcomers to the Hall include the driving force behind the Red Wings long run of success, executive Jimmy Devellano and the late Daryl “Doc” Seaman, a founder of the Calgary Flames. What it should have included though was former coach Pat Burns, who has been a portrait of courage as he battles through terminal cancer.
Burns doesn’t need the sympathy vote though. He won a Stanley Cup with New Jersey, brought the Montreal Canadiens to a Final and helped resurrect the Toronto Maple Leafs. And along the way, Burns won the coach of the year award three times, more than anyone else. His lifetime record is 14th among NHL coaches and who knows what it would have been the cancer not forced him out during the lockout.
Burns deserves to be in. Hopefully he’ll get to see it happen.