The Hockey Hall of Fame will hold its annual meeting this week before announcing who will be in the upcoming class. Two former Red Wings will likely be discussed, Henrik Zetterberg and Chris Osgood. Both were vital parts of Stanley Cup winning teams and fan favorites.
The Hockey Hall of Fame does not operate like the Baseball Hall of Fame. There is no public knowledge of how guys are selected of getting in. There is no formula that Player A needs ‘X’ amount of votes to get in.
I kind of dig the secrecy of it. I also don’t believe there is an exact formula to how players should be selected to the hall of fame. Especially when you have players playing different positions.
What makes a hockey player a hall of famer? What difference does it make if he’s a defensemen over a forward? How much stock do you put into their international accolades?
Most of us likely have different answers.
But at the same time I like that we can see how close a baseball player was to getting selected. Just not that he was closer to getting in on his eighth try. How does that make sense?
But should Hank and Ozzy get into the hall? Let’s talk this out.
Start Between the Pipes
Chris Osgood hasn’t played an NHL game in over ten years. That’s a long time. I would like to think if he was a hall of famer, he would’ve gotten selected by now.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t. We’ve seen crazier examples.
Osgood is 13th all-time in wins as a goalie and eighth in playoff victories. He has the fourth most postseason shut-outs and is a three-time Stanley Cup champion. Two of which he was the starter.
But after that, his list of achievements is bleak. He was a Vezina Trophy finalist once, he made a couple all-star teams. That’s about it.
He’s also a patient who suffers from Grant Fuhr syndrome. He played behind a great team. Fuhr is considered by some, to be one of the great goalies ever. But he played for the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s, who were led by a couple guys named Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.
Osgood is in a similar boat with the late 90s Red Wings. He had Nick Lidstrom, Larry Murphy and Vladimir Konstantinov defending in front of him. That’s two and a half hall of famers. Konstantinov is not in the hall of fame but was an elite player.
Not to mention Steve Yzerman, Sergei Federov and Brendan Shanahan as a few guy’s up front. Federov is one of the best defensive-forwards of all-time.
It’s not so much that I don’t think Osgood should get in. But I can see why he’s not. Was he ever considered one of the best at his position? Not really. Especially like all those players I just listed above were.
Zetterberg’s Resumé isn’t Much Better
I know this won’t be popular but I don’t think Hank should get in either. He was a really good two-way player and a hell of a leader. I’ll even admit we probably don’t win the Stanley Cup in 2008 without him.
But when you take the emotion and local connection out of it his list of accolades doesn’t fare well in terms of being a hall of famer.
He made two all-star teams. Only two, I was surprised by that myself. His only awards are the most charitable and best leadership ones. He was a finalist for the Selke Trophy once in 2008.
He didn’t crack 1000 points in the NHL and doesn’t have 500 goals. Which are considered light benchmarks comparable to 500 home runs in baseball.
He was a really good player guys, but is he a hall of famer? I’d lean towards a no.
The one thing that helps Zetterberg compared to Osgood is the international achievements. Again, this is the hockey hall of fame, not the NHL hall of fame.
He won an Olympic gold medal and a World Championship with Sweden. Pair that with his Stanley Cup and he’s a member of the Triple Gold club. There are only 30 players who are part of that club. Most of them are former Wings.
That helps Hank for sure, but does it put him into the Hall of Fame? I guess we’ll find out.
General Thoughts on HOF
I’m a big advocate for making the hall of fame (in any sport) extremely hard to get into. This isn’t the hall of very good. You should have to be one of the elites at your position during your time in order to get in.
And that’s where I believe Osgood and Zetterberg come up short. They were excellent players. And there are seasons in their career where they were likely elite amongst their peers. But for the complete body of work I think they come up a bit short.
I like both guys a lot and if the Red Wings had a hall of fame or ring of honor they would certainly be in. But in terms of the hockey hall of fame I think it’s best if they were kept out.
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