Thursday, July 11, 2013

Brendan Shanahan and Chris Chelios both elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame

This is a bigger story than two guys who were key pieces of the Detroit Red Wings teams that won three Stanley Cups in six years. This is more than two guys very deserving of Hall of Fame enshrinement. This is really a story about a couple of Hockey tough guys who played hickey the right way and the kind of players we don't see often enough in today's water down version of NHL hockey. These were two guys who were not exactly enforcers but were unafraid to drop the gloves when need be and defend their teammates.

In fact it waa Shanahan who came to Detroit in 1996 and immediately took up the hatred of Claude Lemieux and all things Colorado Avalanche to the point of beating the tar out of Adam Foote and dumping Patrick Roy on his ass during the Fight Night in Hockeytown. Shanahan's value to the wings is immeasurable. Before he came to town the Wings were a very good time. Once he was here they were back to back Stanley Cup Championship.

While my usual standard for the hall of fame is a player winning at least one MVP, we can make a very strong case for Brendan and he is most deserving of this great honor. He led the NHL in Power plays goal his first year in Detroit, and he led the league in short handed goals during the 1993-94 season with the St. Louis Blues.

In his career he was apart of two big trades. The Blues traded him to the Hartford Whalers straight up for Chris Pronger. He was then traded to Detroit in a deal for defense man Paul Coffee and Winger Keith Primeau as well as a draft pick. He would score more than 40 goals four times in his nine years in Detroit. He was also a big part of the on ice leadership of the Wings championship teams and had Steve Yzerman not been in Detroit all those years he might have even wore the Big C on his chest here in Hockeytown, America.

I think Chris Chelios has a way better Hall of Fame resume. He is a three time winner of the Norris Trophy, also won three cups with two different teams, and might be the most important American Hockey player of his generation. Add to that a few very cool sports bar/chili restaurants and we see the kind of impact Chelios had first in Montreal and then in the mid west with the Chicago Blackhawks and Wings.

Chris was an 11 time all star, Led the NHL in Penalties in minutes in 2001/02, and led the league in Games played in 1988/89. Chelios was a warrior the kind of player teams hated playing against but loved having as a teammate. When he came to Detroit from Chicago via trade the Wings and their fans immediately embraced their former adversary, and he was an important piece of the Wings championships in 2002 and 2008.

They will be enshrined along with D Scott Neidermayer, Geraldine Heaney, and builder Fred Shero.