With so much draft and free agency focus on defensemen, I was wondering why a guy like Mark Howe is overlooked by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
Using Hall of Famer Larry Murphy as a comparison, here's what the numbers say: Murphy: Career spanned 1980-2001 (21 years), 1216 points in 1615 games (0.75 points per game), +200 career +/-. 152 points in 215 playoff games (0.71 points per game), and a Memorial Cup win with Peterborough.
Howe - Career spanned 1973-1995 (22 years, including WHA), 742 points in 929 games in NHL (0.80 points per game), 61 points in 101 NHL playoff games (0.60 points per game), +400 career +/- in NHL. Add in his 6 WHA seasons and his combined totals are: 1246 points in 1355 games (0.92 points per game), 153 points in 176 playoff games (0.87 points per game), a Memorial Cup win with the Toronto Marlboros (Howe was tourney MVP) and an Olympic Silver Medal in 1972 with USA at age 16.
Not only was Howe a great defensive player and Norris Trophy runner-up three times, he also excelled at left wing early in his career. Is he less a player than Murphy? Is he not in the Hall because his two Stanley Cup finals ended in losses to Edmonton (1985 and 1987) while Murphy won two Cups with Pittsburgh and two with Detroit?
If players like Slava Fetisov and Igor Larionov are in the Hall based on their NHL and international careers - or like VladislavTretiak, based solely on an international career - how is it that Mark Howe has never received serious consideration?
The Hockey News had him only as a one star long shot to get in this year, despite there not being a slam dunk kind of player on the ballot.
Is there any chance the HHOF will ever develop a Veteran's Committee to consider those players who the Selection Committee overlooked?
The players know who belongs and who doesn't. Ask the guys he played against and I'm sure they'll say Mark Howe is a Hall of Famer.
Eddie Denkin, Newtown, Pa.