The Chicago Blackhawks are fresh off their third Stanley Cup victory in six seasons, while many former hockey studs have just claimed a victory of their own. The Hockey Hall of Fame just announced its 2015 class, featuring four players in a group of seven inductees.
The players include: Niklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger, Sergei Federov, and Phil Housley. Angela Ruggiero, Bill Hay, and Peter Karmanos round out the full class.
Federov is the first NHL player born in Russia to have amassed 1,000 career points. Sergei’s former coach with the Detroit Red Wings, Scotty Bowman (also a Hall of Famer) had this to say following the announcement, per ESPN.
“One year we had injuries on the blue line for about six weeks, so we decided to put [Fedorov] back there. He didn’t miss a beat.”
“He could play as well as any of them. He was a good skater backwards and forwards. Wayne Gretzky told me a long time ago, ‘I couldn’t play defense, I don’t think Mario could, I don’t think Jagr could, but this guy can.’ So that tells you what kind of player Fedorov was.”
Lidstrom followed Bowman’s remarks by commenting on Federov.
“It shows first of all [how] great of a skater he was. It’s not easy for a forward going back playing defense but Sergei did it in an excellent way. It showed just how talented he was, moving from one position to another.”
Bowman, a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee (who also coached Lidstrom in Detroit) had this to say about the Red Wings great.
“I mean, he didn’t miss hardly any games, he had different partners over the years, his point totals were phenomenal in the fact that he was so good defensively. He never got caught. He was one of a kind, no question about that.”
“I mean, he just never got caught. For all his point totals, which were terrific, he didn’t get them by staying up the ice. His passing was pinpoint. The thing about Nick and it’s why his record is so genuine, he played against the best forwards for most of his career. He played against the best and still put up those terrific numbers.”
Bowman on Pronger, recalling the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals.
“The first four games were split 2-2 and Pronger was handling a line of Toews, Byfulien and Kane. I’m telling you, they were not getting much done against Pronger. So Joel decided for Game 5 to split up the three of them, put them each on one line, so that Pronger wouldn’t be able to get all three at once. That made a difference in that series, we won the next two games.”
“Look it up, every time he left a team, they missed the playoffs.”
Bowman on Housley, who was passed over for many years by the selection committee before finally being recognized.
“When he played in Winnipeg, the year that Teemu Selanne scored 76 goals [in 1992-93], Housley was in on probably 60 percent of them, maybe more. He could pass the puck well, and he could really skate. Right out of high school and into the NHL.”
Here are some immediate reactions from Twitter.
Congrats to my big idol & role model Nicklas Lidström on getting elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame. #legend
— Oliver Ekman-Larsson (@OEL_23) June 29, 2015
— Todd Cross (@ToddNY25) June 29, 2015
Not everyone was happy with the verdict, though. Many are still wondering why centerman Eric Lindros has yet to be inducted.
Eric Lindros has been passed over six consecutive years for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 29, 2015
Sucks that Eric Lindros was cut out of the HOF again, he’s one of the greatest to ever play the game and deserves to be given recognition!
— G.Sandhu (@GauravSandhu1) June 29, 2015
Each of the #HHOF inductees are all well deserving. But it feels incomplete without Eric Lindros & Don Cherry.
— Matthew Cauz (@mcauz56) June 29, 2015
For full statistics on every new Hall of Famer, click on this link.
Do you agree with this year’s NHL Hall of Fame class?
[Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images]