SUN Hockey Pool

Anderson answers Hall's call, now how about Cal?

BOB STAUFFER

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

From an Edmonton-centric perspective, it was a slam dunk that Glenn Anderson would get into the Hockey Hall of Fame one day.

That finally came to fruition this week when "Dandy Andy" joined fellow 1980s Oiler greats Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri and Grant Fuhr in the Hall.

Outsiders may have viewed Anderson as a second banana and only the sixth-best player on the Oilers dynasty, but those of us who watched the Oil back in the day truly know the value that Anderson brought to the table. If you happen to have the Oilers Stanley Cup-clinching Game 5 victory over Philadelphia in 1985 on DVD or VHS, watch the game again.

As good as Gretzky or Messier might have been at that time, Anderson is every bit as impressive, with electrifying crash-the-net rushes that had the Flyers, seemingly, in constant retreat mode.

A winner of six Stanley Cups - who basically scored 500 regular season goals (498) - Anderson did his best work in the playoffs where he is fourth all-time in NHL goals (93) and points (214).

Renowned as a money-player, Anderson still leads the Oilers in regular-season game-winning goals, and the only guys who have scored more playoff overtime winners are Joe Sakic and Rocket Richard.

Anderson, though, will be the last 1980s Oilers player to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe was a fine, dependable Number 2 defenceman, but simply does not have the numbers to justify a spot in the Hall.

My guess is that most Oilers fans hope that Lowe gets there - as a builder!

WHAT ABOUT CAL?

The next person with a long-term connection to Edmonton that should go into the Hall of Fame is Cal Nichols.

Nichols twice resuscitated an Oilers franchise that was literally on its death bed as Peter Pocklington's empire crashed in the mid-1990s.

The first time Nichols spear-headed an Oilers ticket drive - helping the Oil get from 6,500 to 13,000 season tickets to qualify for the NHL's Canadian Assistance plan - was when the Canadian dollar was hovering around 65 cents US.

Then, when it appeared that the Oilers were following Quebec City and Winnipeg to the U.S., Nichols put together the Edmonton Investors Group to keep the team in Edmonton.

Nichols battled every step of the way and recognized that the Oilers are a public trust.

The EIG weathered the storm during the tough times, made it to the lock-out year of 2004-05 and actually enjoyed some flush times post-lock-out.

With the NHL approving Daryl Katz's offer to purchase the Oilers this week, the Oil are about to enter into a brave new world, but the city did not get there without Nichols.

Ironically enough, Glenn Anderson was a spokesperson for Cal Nichols's Gasland chain back in the late 1980s.

THIS 'N' THAT

Give Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford credit for picking up tough guy Darcy Hordichuk from Nashville.

Hordichuk is the perfect fourth-line enforcer.

He understands his role and realizes that he may only play 50 games a season.

If Hordichuk doesn't sign before July 1, there are a couple of teams out West that would have interest in him.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs' acquisition of Jamal Mayers is a smart one.

Mayers is a solid-depth winger who can provide the Leafs with toughness and can kill penalties.

I always thought Mayers would be a good fit here in Edmonton, except that he probably would have ended up playing too many minutes.

Speaking of playing minutes, if the Oilers are to take another step forward next season, Sam Gagner - and not Shawn Horcoff - has to play on the first-unit power play, and Ales Hemsky needs to see some penalty-killing time.

Catch Bob Stauffer on the TEAM 1260 weekdays from 3-6 p.m.


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