Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Spakle and Fade
While the Everclear Draft Weekend doesn't start until Thursday for the FOHS fateful, that's what June 22, 2010 was for most people. Probably the most exciting non-game/event day in the recent memory of the NHL; thanks to all the news made. It had everything, but when it came to the main cog-- it fell a little short.
-First, it's started with the NHL schedule being released, the earliest in a while. While I personally didn't care, most NHL road-trippers did. I just wondered the start time of the Heritage Classic and to see if I can weasel my way into the event in some way, shape, or form. Other than that-- check out the Sensational Sean Leahy's write-up about anticipated games.
-Then, we had the trade that had the Boston Bruins picking up Nathan Horton and Greg Campbell from the Florida Panthers for Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick in the Draft, and a third-rounder in 2011. For the Bruins, the acquisition of Horton is an improvement, considering he has five straight seasons of 20 goals or more, something the Bruins have missed-- although the injuries issues is something that the Bruins could and should be concerned about. At least they also got the disciplinarians son in the deal as well. Wideman had a season to wipe-away, though he will be the cornerstone in the Panthers rebuilding defense. If he can improve his +/-, the Panthers may have something.
-At the same time, the Edmonton Oilers announced that Pat Quinn had stepped down as head coach and moved to Senior Adviser to the GM, making way for co-coach Tom Renney to take over. Renney was going to get this job eventually, but the fact the rebuild is in full swing, it's better they did this sooner than later. Renney's last job was with the New York Rangers and replaced Quinn once before in Vancouver. While his style isn't exciting, it's often successful for Renney. Whether it will work with the new look Oilers will remain to be seen.
-After that, the NHL said good-bye to Scott Niedermayer; as the defenseman called it a career after 18 years and leaves on 42 players left from NHL '94. Niedermayer won wherever he went and really shouldn't be waiting long after the waiting period to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. I mean, four Stanley Cups, two Olympic Gold, World Juniors Gold, Memorial Cup Champion, World Championship Gold, and he ate the bowl. Not much else you can say, because it says it all in his stats and what he did when he was there. Sadly, we'll miss one of the best playoff beards ever because of this retirement.
-Then the main event-- the Hockey Hall of Fame nominees. This year, it was an allotment for four players, two women's players, and some builders. There was a lot of ruckus around who was going in, who wasn't-- but it created for great off-season debate.....but seemed to be a huge letdown in the end.
Though it is fitting, the first year that the women are introduced, they will be the majority as Angela James-- the Gretzky of women's hockey to start off with; and Cammi Granato will be going to the Hall. James was an innovator in the women's game for Canada, where she was a big fish in a developing small pond and really gave something younger girls could aspire to in Canada. Same goes with Granato, who was basically the USA version of James, only on a smaller scale. Granato did a lot for the women's game in the US and really helped pass along the torch in these new times.
That being done, only ONE spot was filled in the male side, that being Dino Ciccarelli. For a long time, many have wondered when he would get his chance. 600+ goals, 1200 points on the nose; but for some reason-- mostly media unfriendly and a bad rap from the ice-- Dino was always overlooked and pretty much pushed aside. However, in a seemingly weak class; they couldn't avoid him or the outcry of some fans now. Even though he never won a Cup, he did well on so-so teams at the start of his career, but couldn't be a hanger-on in his later years. He did enough to be the Hall of Famer he is now.
It's sad that there's only one. The debate about Adam Oates, Joe Nieuwendyk, Pavel Bure, hell-- even Eric Lindros being on the dias this year, and nothing came of it. Is it something where it was a wide-open field and other votes canceled out others?? Was the hype about this year's class something that was overdone and they weren't the spectacular to begin with?? Maybe we'll find out soon, but it seems like that many could have been looking too deep into the whole thing and overestimated the voters of the Hockey Hall, per usual.
Another thing I'm ticked about is the exclusion of Pat Burns in the Builder's category. We all know that Burns is dealing with Cancer and it would have been the best time to put the great coach into the Hall, but the voters did not. Sure, we shouldn't dismiss the fact of Jim Devellano of the Red Wings and the late Daryl Seaman of the Flames should be there-- but you would have hoped that the voters in the Hall had some kind of heart to include Burns....but....here we are.
That was the day it was. A lot of opening acts and a somewhat disappointing headlining gig. In the end, it'll only create for more of a debate in next year's Hall of Fame-- but that's what the off-season is for. We saw new beginnings, transitions, endings, and the map for next season. It was every possible emotion fans could have in one day and not have any games played. Hope fans savored it, because it could mean we're in for a long off-season if this is the most exciting day.