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Nobody asked me, but ...
By Drew Markol, Contributing Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - We take this break from the NBA and NHL playoffs, and the baseball season, to take a look at a favored topic.
Who playing today, even if they stopped playing tomorrow, would be enshrined in the Hall of Fame?
And since we've addressed the three other major sports - baseball, football and basketball in recent months - now it's time to catch up with the NHL (we'll probably go back to baseball at sometime this summer, just to see where we stand).
But for now, let's go to the ice and see who's in and who's looking in the window at the hallowed hall in Toronto.
(These players can go ahead and book their flights to Toronto three years after they hang up their skates. Yes, unlike the other sports, ice hockey players need only wait three years to get the call).
Jaromir Jagr: Can I say a guy who has scored nearly 700 goals in the NHL (and lots more in other ports of call) is considered underrated? In the case of Jagr, the answer is yes. This guy is just brilliant on the ice and doesn't get nearly enough credit for being a team leader and helping others get more room to work with. If you don't believe me, just ask Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers how much they missed having Jagr around this season. Jagr is one of the all-time greats and let's hope he gets remembered as such.
Teemu Selanne: Another ageless wonder, he was given up for dead years ago after injuries, then returned and was great again. That just doesn't happen.
Jarome Iginla: You score 500-plus goals, you're in. Plain and simple.
Alex Ovechkin: Maybe a little early to put him on this list (I consider myself a really hard grader), but Ovechkin will blow past 500 goals before he's done. A Stanley Cup wouldn't hurt, either.
Sidney Crosby: He's really just getting started, but injury problems make you worry. He's done a ton already and his points-per-game average of 1.4 is off the charts. As for his running mate, Evgeni Malkin, we need to see more from him.
Zdeno Chara: The big guy (he's the tallest NHL player of all time at 6-foot-9) is deserving of the honor.
Others on the fence: Martin St. Louis, Patrick Elias, Marian Hossa, Joe Thornton and Daniel Alfredsson.
Special dispensation: Chris Pronger isn't active nor is he retired. He'll never play again because of concussion problems, but the Flyers won't say he's done because they don't want to take the salary cap hit. Regardless, the big defenseman with an edge belongs in Toronto.
Goalies: These guys are a different breed of cat.
Decades ago you could look to Ken Dryden, Tony Esposito, Bernie Parent, to name just a few, and then add in Patrick Roy 20 years later, as sure-fire stars. And sure-fire Hall of Famers.
You heard their names and you knew their team had a good chance of winning every night.
Today, name a guy, besides Martin Brodeur, who makes you think that way? I'm thinking, too, and I can't come up with anyone.
Why is that? There isn't anybody else besides Brodeur who is anywhere near being assured of a trip to Toronto to have his bust carved when his career is over.
What happened to the great goalies? Why is a guy who is good for five minutes heralded as the next big thing and then a sieve five minutes later? That's a question every general manager in the NHL would like to be able to answer.
But for now, it's just Marty.
Who knows, the next time we take a look at the NHL, a couple guys in the nets might have earned their Hall stripes.
But that's a story for another day. Next time we'll return to our regularly scheduled playoff coverage of the NBA and the NHL.
05/14 09:40:13 ET
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