Anderson shut out

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

In addition to fixing the game, is it also time to fix the Hockey Hall of Fame?

The 2005 Hall of Fame selections are likely to bring an outcry from the already-angry fans to fix something else which many view as being broken as well.

The focus on the Hall of Fame selections this year is not so much going to be on who is going in but on who is being kept out.

There are plenty of hockey people scratching their heads today to try understand how it could be that Glenn Anderson, with six Stanley Cup rings, 1,129 games played, 73 game-winning goals, five in overtime in the Stanley Cup playoffs, a total of 498 regular-season goals and 1,099 regular-season points and another 93 goals and 214 points in the playoffs, could possibly be passed over again.

There are people who can't figure out how Dino Ciccarelli is the only 600-plus goal scorer not in the Hall, missing for the third straight year of eligibility.

There are more who can't comprehend how Steve Larmer and his ironman run of 884 games without a miss could miss with over 1,000 points to go with it.

And what about Kevin Lowe, Doug Wilson and Miracle On Ice coach Herb Brooks.

JEOPARDIZE THEIR HOPES

The people who didn't get in this year will no doubt stay silent so as not to jeopardize their hopes for the future. But there are too many players with Hall of Fame credentials not being admitted to the Hall of Fame for this one not to have a backlash.

The doors of the Hockey Hall of Fame will swing open Nov. 7 for only three new members - Soviet Union late great Valeri Kharlamov, NHL great Cam Neely and builder Murray Costello.

It's not that there is a knock on them. They're going in the front door of the Hall, as they say, not the back.

But there is the question why all of a sudden NOW for Kharlamov when there are so many "can't miss" Hall of Famers who missed? Why NOW for Neely, with zero Stanley Cups and 395 goals and 299 assists when there are a dozen guys in waiting with numbers which are much more impressive.

Good on the Hall for looking outside the NHL and selecting Kharlamov. It's not the NHL Hall of Fame, it's the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Anybody who watched him play can argue he deserves to be there.

And as selection committee chairman Jim Gregory pointed out in the media conference call yesterday "four or five of our selectors played against him and two coached against him."

GOOD ON THE HALL

Good on the Hall for recognizing that goals and assists aren't everything, that Neely's physical play made him special and that he didn't deserve to be overlooked because his career ended early because of injury - playing 726 NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins.

"It's hard to comprehend getting selected to begin with, regardless of the other names mentioned," said Neely.

"I had great seats for those Edmonton years on the bench in Vancouver watching Kevin and Glenn. They had great careers. Just to be mentioned with all those other players - let alone to be the one to be selected."

You can find no end of hockey people to testify that Anderson deserves to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But it's quite clear that there are five who don't believe so.

When there are 18 members of the Hockey Hall of Fame committee and you need 14 votes to get in, it's not who likes you so much as who really, really doesn't.

When it only takes five votes to keep you out, a couple of writers and broadcasters who remember you were notoriously media- unfriendly, a couple of coaches and former players who recall that you floated through a lot of regular-season games even if you came up extra large in the big games and playoffs, another who places a lot of importance on off-ice deportment and ...

But Anderson is one guy. It's a lengthy list we're talking about here, too. And these were the only ones who were worthy?

"That's a dilemma people on the committee wrestle with. We have some players with 200 goals in the Hall. As mentioned, we have another with 600 goals who is not," said Gregory.

"We have one player with nine Stanley Cups and a pretty spectacular record who is not in the Hall. His family called and wondered why he isn't in," he added of Montreal Canadien Claude Provost.

"Today's meeting lasted the longest of any since I've been involved. It's not easy to get in."

It shouldn't be easy to get in. It also shouldn't be easy to be kept out with credentials which are difficult to debate.


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