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Wednesday 29th Mar 2017

I’ve never been a huge fan of Dave Andreychuk. I’ve always respected what he did as a player, but what is happening to the NHL’s all-time leader in power play goals is a disgrace that needs to be corrected. For hockey is a team sport, right? What’s more team-like than punching the timecard, showing up for an honest day’s work and retiring a Stanley Cup champion? For Andreychuk is being punished for longevity and the lack of personal awards the same way Dino Ciccarelli was. Since Dave has been eligible for induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007, there have been more than a few players whose resumes had much less bulk than Dave's but were inducted based upon "what might have been" within their injury-filled careers.

For example, this past week, Eric Lindros was inducted into the Hall of Fame based on what if Big E had been healthy coupled with the impact he did have when healthy. Lindros was a six-time All-Star and Hart Trophy winner in the strike-shortened 1995 season, tying Jaromir Jagr with 70 points over 48 games, but that’s about it for his individual awards. Lindros does belong in the Hall of Fame, do not get me wrong. And, I loved the guy except in 1997 when my Red Wings dismantled his Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals with a 4-0 sweep. When Big E played in the beginning, he was a beast and a fantasy dream. The entire Legion of Doom line was worth every auction dollar my good friend Vito spent on them. Does Lindros belong in the Hall over a player who was bland, to put it simply? Bland Andreychuk may be, but consistent is another thesaurus word next to his photograph along with steady.

Other players such as Cam Neely, Pavel Bure and Peter Forsberg are recent injury riddled players who have gotten the nod. Neely went in before Andreychuk retired and Cam does belong in the Hall. Watching Neely battle through those leg injuries and still score 50 goals in 49 games played inspired many rec league legends in the 90’s. Bure and Forsberg are equally exciting players who dealt with injuries throughout their careers, but Andreychuk has more power play goals than Forsberg has total. Had these two magnificent players been able to play say 93% of their games, they would have most likely retired recently, so why not induct the pair relative to that scale instead of continually slapping Dave Andreychuk and Dino Ciccarelli in the face when they earned their stripes in front of the net each night and remained healthy.

Dave Andreychuk ranks 14th in Goals with 640, ranks 1st in Power Play Goals with 274, 7th in Games Played with 1639, 13th in Shots with 4556 and is currently tied with Denis Savard at 29th with 1338 points. Savard was a 2000 Hall of Fame Inductee.

Like Andreychuk, Mark Recchi, with almost 200 more points than Andreychuk, is a team player whose lack of personal awards seems to be keeping him out of the elite club in Toronto. Recchi is currently 12th in points with 1533 but has only been eligible for three years now, while Andreychuk is going on nine years. Of the top 25 scorers in NHL history, only Recchi, Andreychuk and the still active Jaromir Jagr are not in the Hall of Fame. Along with the names mentioned above who got into the Hall with such low point totals are Pat LaFontaine (1013), Lanny McDonald (1006), Forsberg (885), Billy Barber (885), Lindros (865), Steve Shutt (817), Bure (779), Clark Gilles (697) and Neely (694).

Gilles has the four Stanley Cups to his credit and Shutt has five Cups over a 12-year career, but both were also game changers and eligible way before Recchi and Andreychuk. LaFontaine has one Masterson Trophy and is a five-time All-Star, yet he was inducted before some amazing players with much more hardware on the shelf. Lanny McDonald is everyone’s favorite mustache and a great Maple Leaf and finally a Cup winner in his curtain call with Calgary in 1989. All of these players are very worthy of their Hall of Fame inductions, don’t get me wrong, and many of these names were yelled by me skating around under the street lights as a kid.

My question is why are the blue-collared players being shooed aside for the more flashy names? In 2007, Andreychuk had zero chance with Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Scott Stevens and Al MacInnis eligible. But in 2008, he could have easily joined two of my all-time favorite players, Glenn Anderson and Igor Larionov. Anderson has his six Stanley Cups and was Mr. Clutch yet he still had to wait as Andreychuk is currently doing. Larionov belongs in every hockey Hall of Fame in the universe, but there is absolutely no reason Andreychuk couldn’t have been inducted with these two all-time greats.

In 2008, Dave had zero chance of going in with Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull and Luc Robitialle getting the nod along with the Rangers' Brian Leetch. The 2010 voting was a different scenario completely with only fellow outcast Dino Ciccarelli being inducted. I guess just one pariah each induction year is enough?

Still, I’m baffled why a total team player who didn’t dominate but was always a top-four scoring leader on the teams he played for keeps getting the cold shoulder from the Hall? Hopefully, Andreychuk will get the call in 2017 when the Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne will get one most certainly, but we must wait until next year to find out. So, enjoy this year, and see if I’m wrong, but are all the battle ships now in the Eastern Conference with Tampa, Pittsburgh, Washington, the New York Rangers and Montreal?

You can always reach me on Twitter @PolkaPat.

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