With the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony set to take place on Monday, we stoke the fire of the eternal debate:
Which player most deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and who is one player currently enshrined that should be taken out?
Emily Kaplan, national NHL reporter: I'd love to see Alexander Mogilny included. On the ice? It's hard to argue against any Triple Gold Club member; after all, there are only 28 of them in history. During a 16-season NHL career, Mogilny averaged more than a point per game. He also won a Lady Byng Trophy.
But his impact as a team leader cannot be understated. Mogilny was the first Russian-born player named as an NHL team captain. Consider that there are eight current European-born captains: a Slovak, a Slovenian, a Russian, a Swiss, two Finns and two Swedes. For these men to be accepted as team leaders, it took a pioneer like Mogilny to pave the way, overcoming xenophobia and longstanding cultural norms.
Meanwhile, I'd subtract Dino Ciccarelli. Sure, in 1,232 career games he has the goals (608 goals, 18th all time) and points (1,200, 47th all time) to make a strong case, but his stats feel inflated by the fire-wagon hockey era in which he played. Ciccarelli never finished in the top 10 in scoring, and never finished above 12th in voting for the Hart Trophy or any other individual award. He benefited from playing on great teams with terrific players (including the late-'80s North Stars, and the late-'90s Red Wings) but never won the NHL's ultimate prize.
The criteria for including a player in the Hall is vague -- "playing ability, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her team or teams and to the game of hockey in general" -- and not much in Ciccarelli's résumé seems to apply. What's most unsavory are his off-ice issues, including pleading guilty to indecent exposure and, less than a year later, being sentenced to a day in jail for assaulting Luke Richardson with a hockey stick.
Greg Wyshynski, senior NHL writer: Every time a new induction class is announced, I hope to hear that Doug Wilson has been given the same Hall pass that Mark Howe was given. Well, not the same one: Howe was inducted in 2011, which was 13 years after his last game. Wilson's final game was in 1993. So it's been quite a wait, which is a shame, because Doug Wilson should be a Hockey Hall of Famer.
He won the Norris Trophy in 1982 with Chicago and was a top-four finisher for the award three other times. Alas, he was playing in the same era as the considerable shadows cast by Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey and Rod Langway. His offensive numbers rank among the greatest ever among defensemen: an 0.81 points-per-game average that ranks eighth among defensemen with at least 657 games played. He was a model of consistency for about 11 seasons. But when you consider that only 21 defensemen have been enshrined since 1990, you realize it's not a position for which the Hall casts a wide net.
The net is even smaller for goalies: Martin Brodeur is just the seventh goalie to get inducted since 1990, which is ridiculous. Even more ridiculous? Grant Fuhr is one of them. He's an admirable player and an undeniable contributor to four of the Edmonton Oilers' Stanley Cups. But there have been scores of goaltenders over the past four decades better than Fuhr who just didn't have the benefit of playing for one of the NHL's most legendary juggernauts.
That's nearly the whole argument for Fuhr, right? The success? The Cup wins, which few can match, and the 403 career wins? But let's look at his numbers from 1983 to 1997, basically his prime years, for goalies who played a minimum of 400 games: He's third in wins (312), behind Andy Moog (315) and with a lower wins-per-game average than Mike Vernon (301) and Tom Barrasso (295), all of whom aren't in the Hall. He's 11th in save percentage (.887). He's 15th in goals-against average. Even his Vezina Trophy win in 1988 should have probably gone to Barrasso, in hindsight. A very good goaltender whose greatest skill was keeping his balance while riding the Oilers' coattails into the Hall.
But if you're not down with Fuhr, then let's all agree the answer is always Dick Duff.