The NHL Hockey Hall of Fame
Is it a fair measure of a player's career, greatness, accomplishments or fame by the induction to the HOF?
I will focus on the pre ORIGINAL SIX era here to illustrate my point and why I don't believe it always is.
How does one compare a modern day NHLer, post 1967 expansion against a player who had his career end before 1942, when the Original six formed?
The game, the rules and the playoff format do not lend the parameters to make these comparisons.
Well that is a TEAM accomplishment so how can one argue that a Charlie Conacher is a greater All-Time player, or rather Maple Leaf over the accomplishments of a Doug Gilmour?
That said, Conacher had 1 cup with 5 trips to the final over 9 yrs.
Gilmour 1 with Calgary and none with Toronto, just so there is no confusion.
Gilmours career stats-1474 games-450 goals-964 assists= 1414 points or .96 points per game.
As a Leaf-392 games-131 goals-321 assists=452 points or 1.15 points per game.
No cup & no trips to the finals. In fact, the Leafs have never made it to the finals since 1967. Further they have NEVER won their conference & only one division title since 1938.
Charlie Conacher career stats-459 games-225 goals=398 points or .87 points per game.
As a Leaf-326 games-200 goals-124 assists=324 points or .99 points per game.
Gilmour's Leaf totals over 6 yrs beats Conacher's carreer totals over 12 yrs.
Is Conacher the better player and HOF worthy while Gilmour is not?
Gilmour's career started in 1983 until 2002. He played against the greatest players, teams, the NHL and the world had produced. I won't name them here as the list would be far too long and anyone reading this should have some clue. (But don't count on it)
Conacher played from 1929 until 1941. The competition level of the NHL had just recently gone from 4 teams to 10 in 1926. A 150 percent increase in teams and players. How would that type of expansion fair on a player's stats today if the NHL added 45 teams 4 years ago or 150 percent?
Conacher went on to play his last 3 years without his star linemates, Joe Primeau & Busher Jackson to muster a total of of 25 goals 49 assists in 133 games or a .55 point per game average.
Gilmour brought the sorry Leafs closer to the finals then anyone has in 41 years!
Probably should have got there too if Kerry Frazier had his glasses on but that's another story. That year Gilmour led the Leafs in scoring with 127 points and a point per game clip of 1.53! That's 53 points better than his closest team mate.
But Charlie Conacher is in the Hall of Fame & inducted in 1961!
Yes he is but "Busher Jackson" wasn't until 1971.
Now to the point.
"Busher Jackson" was the line mate of Conacher and arguably the better player.
Career stats-633 games-241 goals-234 assists=475 points at a .75 clip.
4 1st team all-star selections and 1 2nd team. That's one more 1st team than Charlie.
Same amount of Cups as a Leaf with Charlie & same era.
So what was the problem?
Why did it take until 1971 for him to get inducted?
One reason hockey fans, Conn Smyth!
Conn Smyth was the man responsible for rubber stamping all inductee's until 1971 when he retired as the Chairman of the board.
He paid to build the Hall in Toronto in 1961. He also bought the Toronto ST. Patricks and changed their name & colours to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He set himself up as president, general manager and coach. Mr. Smyth liked control; of everything!
So he owned the Maple Leafs and was the Chairman of the Board for the Hockey Hall of fame & very wealthy now as the owner and builder of Maple Leaf Gardens rubbing elbows amoung the NHL elite. Now the light switch goes on.
Is is any wonder that many of these old time Leafs are in the HOF while player's with comparitable careers were left off or inducted post-Smyth?
Smyth didn't like Busher Jackson, period. That's why he was never inducted earlier.
He also ended up selling hockey sticks outside of Maple Leaf Gardens after his retirement to earn money. His story is one of the main catalysts for the NHLPA.
He died before his induction to the Hall and unable to fulfill his dream of his son witnessing the event. Smyth, still the power monger that he was, resigned his post on the board in protest to the boards pressure!
You can look up several player's from that era. If they were not a Maple Leaf they may have been left off initially, not inducted at all, unless they were on teams that were in bed with Smyth or a bonafied superstar.
Joe Primeau the other member of the "Kid Line" played 310 games-66 goals-177 assists for 243 points but was 'inducted' in 1963.
Can player's be compared from these two very different eras? While its true that teams play more games now, Gilmour averaged about 20 minutes per game. Back in Charlie's time they were one line teams that saw at least 40 minutes.
Eddie Shore was reputed to stay on the ice 55 minutes per game.
Should Gilmour be in the HOF if we adopt the same perameters for induction as Charlie or Primeau had with his 243 career points?
Gilmour brought much more to the Leafs, sans a cup, then anything Primeau, Conacher or Jackson did individually!
So how do you compare these players from the modern NHL to the pre Original six teams?
You write a blog without a 1200 limit for characters!