It’s interesting to read so many emotional opinions about whether or not Eric Lindros should get into the Hockey Hall of Fame when he first becomes eligible in 2010.
I’ll approach this from another perspective: Will Lindros get into the Hall of Fame?
My educated answer is no, at least not right away. That opinion is based on more than a decade’s experience watching worthy candidates get passed over by the Hall’s selection committee.
The road to the Hall of Fame is littered with the tattered resumes of former stars who also carried with them some personal baggage labeled toxic by the 18-member decision committee.
Consider the long list of first-rate players who have been rebuffed by the Hall in the past 10 years alone. All the following players encountered a variety of indiscretions during or after their impressive careers, ranging from run-ins with the law to being downright nasty and surly to deal with.
Justifiable or not, these are reasons why as eligible Hall candidates, they didn’t receive the minimum 14 approval votes from the 18 members on the selection committee.
Glenn Anderson (eligible since 2000): Great stats, six Cups and a spectacular reputation for performing in the playoffs.
Dino Ciccarelli (eligible since 2002): With 608 goals, he’s 16th all-time and the highest goal-scorer not in the Hall.
Dale Hunter (eligible since 2002): A superb antagonist with skill and clutch performance abilities.
Doug Gilmour (eligible since 2006): Exceptional two-way skills and for a few seasons among the top few players in the game.
Tom Barrasso (eligible since 2006): Multiple award winner, two Cups and 13th all-time in wins.
Phil Housley (eligible since 2006): One of the top-scoring defensemen of all-time and one of the U.S.’s top players ever.
Proponents of Lindros-to-the-Hall say he was the game’s best player for a few seasons and even though his career was stunted by injuries and concussions, his statistics compare well to Cam Neely and Pat LaFontaine. Those two recent Hall inductees also retired due to health issues.
Critics of Lindros-to-the-Hall say he simply didn’t accomplish enough to be included among the pantheon of greats.
And the unfortunate reality is, at least a handful of committee members will put the freeze on Lindros because of his affinity for, to put it mildly, being the center of controversy, and, more directly, his reputation for being a troublemaker.
Moreover, Lindros is now part of the 2010 induction class that includes Joe Nieuwendyk, Peter Forsberg, Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, John LeClair and Pierre Turgeon.
A maximum of four will get in and some committee members may put Lindros no higher than fifth on that list.