AHL announces Hall of Fame inductees for 2015

Jared Clinton
Bronco Horvath (top left), Frederic Cassivi (top right), James C. Hendy (bottom left), and Art Stratton (bottom right) are the AHL Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

While the stars of the American League may not be as synonymous with the game as the Gretzkys or the Howes, they deserve to be honored just the same. Local heroes who did it all for their small town teams, the AHL announced Frederic Cassivi, James C. Hendy, Bronco Horvath, and Art Stratton as 2015 Hall of Fame class.

In the modern era, it’s incredibly difficult for a goaltender to earn the continual faith of organizations while never making the jump to the NHL. That’s exactly what Frederic Cassivi did. Cassivi, who played 12 seasons in the AHL, was one of the most successful netminders of his time, with his best season coming during the NHL lockout campaign of 2004-05. In 46 appearances that season, Cassivi posted a 2.07 goals against average and .924 save percentage, helping lead the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks to the Division Finals of the Calder Cup playoffs. Read more

Playing past their prime didn’t hurt Forsberg, Modano & Hasek – & it won’t hurt Brodeur’s legacy either

Martin Brodeur (Getty Images)

When I look at the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, the first thing I think of is the eye-popping talent and character of the players and people. The second thing that comes to mind, oddly enough, is Martin Brodeur.

Because as the former Devils goalie floats in limbo these days, not employed by any team but not ready to say he’s retired, I hear some say he’s doing himself a disservice by not realizing what the lack of job offers is telling him, and suggest Brodeur should call a press conference as soon as possible to put his 21-season career to bed. But when you look at the careers of this year’s HHOF inductees, it becomes clear even the best of the best can’t help but play past their best due date. Guys like Red Wings icon (and 2015 lock Hall-of-Famer) Nicklas Lidstrom or Canadiens great Ken Dryden, who retire before a precipitous decline in effectiveness sets in, are the exception. The majority of the elite – including 2014 honorees Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano, and to a lesser degree, Dominik Hasek and Rob Blake – did not leave the sport at their peak. Read more

Gordie Howe’s condition takes turn for worse: “Definitely headed in wrong direction”

Ken Campbell
Mark (left) and Gordie Howe  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After a brief glimmer of hope following a stroke last month, hockey legend Gordie Howe has taken a turn for the worse over the past 10 days and, “is having a really difficult time here,” according to Howe’s son, Mark.

“Things are definitely headed in the wrong direction,” Mark said.

The younger Howe, in fact, sent an email out to family and friends last week telling them that Gordie Howe’s condition has been in rapid decline and that it might be time to consider hospice care for him. “Father Time and all Dad’s illnesses are pains are catching up with him rapidly,” he wrote. Read more

Five NHLers worth 2015 Hall of Fame consideration

Josh Elliott
Chris Osgood and Nicklas Lidstrom

The 2014 Hall of Fame class is now in the books, with Mike Modano, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and Rob Blake filling out the four player slots this year. So now it’s time to look ahead to 2015, and who might receive one of hockey’s highest honours next November.

It’s a rather light class of first-year eligible players, but Detroit Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom is an easy slam dunk first-ballot choice. No one will argue against the four-time Stanley Cup winner’s seven Norris trophies, his Conn Smythe Trophy or his Olympic gold medal.

Ditto for Lidstrom’s former teammate, Sergei Fedorov, who won three Stanley Cups in Detroit and tore up the league in an unforgettable 1994 season, winning the Hart, Pearson and Selke trophies. Fedorov would win another Selke in 1996, and still holds the record for most goals and points scored in the NHL by a Russian-born player.

But the pool of eligible players drops off considerably after Lidstrom and Fedorov, meaning some who have been overlooked in past years might have a shot at cracking the Hall’s four-player limit in 2015.

Here are some candidates who could make noise in the 2015 discussion.
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Teenaged Peter Forsberg had some advice for Leaf legend Borje Salming: ‘F— off’

Ken Campbell
Peter Forsberg (left) and Borje Salming  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

On the same weekend Peter Forsberg is being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, fellow Swede Borje Salming was welcomed into Legends Row with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Nice symmetry there. Salming was asked a softball question about his first memory of Forsberg and we all expected a heartwarming tale.

Instead, we got this. Salming recalled playing against a teenaged Forsberg in the Swedish Elite League in the early 1990s. One night Salming’s AIK squad was playing Forsberg’s MoDo team. “(Forsberg) was going crazy on the ice and screaming at the refs and everything,” Salming said. “I skated up to him and I tried to calm him down. I said, ‘Peter, relax, you’re going to get a match penalty.’ And he just said to me, ‘F— off.’ “ (Salming later confirmed that Forsberg said it in Swedish, which somehow makes it even more hilarious.) Read more

2014 Hall of Fame class highlights global reach of the game like never before

Hall of Fame Class of 2014 (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Take a close look at the four men who will be inducted in the players’ category of the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night. You’ll see something you’ve never seen before, and may never see again.

Four players, four different countries represented. A Hall of Fame cohort that includes Rob Blake, Mike Modano, Peter Forsberg and Dominik Hasek belongs in the debate of the best of all-time. We’re not going to get into that debate, but hey, the 1972 class included Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, Bernie Geoffrion, Hap Holmes and Hooley Smith. But there is no Hall of Fame induction group that represents the global reach of the game more prominently than this one. Read more

Hall of Fame 2014: top 10 Hasek, Forsberg, Modano & Blake seasons

Matt Larkin
Dominik Hasek had several of the greatest seasons ever by a goaltender. (Getty Images)

Quite the class we have joining the Hall of Fame this Monday. Dominik Hasek is the greatest goalie ever to play, in my humble opinion. Peter Forsberg was a true superstar, the most dominant player in the game, albeit for a fleeting period. Mike Modano and Rob Blake were consistently among the top players at their respective positions for the better part of two decades. Even the non-player inductees, late coach Pat Burns and referee Bill McReary, are fantastic additions.

The quartet of players had some fantastic seasons while sharing an era, playing their best hockey throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Which of their efforts were the most impressive? Here are my top 10 single-season performances, drawing from all four legends.

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Remembering the four Hockey Hall of Famers who lost their lives in World War I

Jared Clinton
Frank McGee (second from right) lost his life serving Canada in World War I. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Frank McGee, George Richardson, Hobey Baker, and Scotty Davidson are best known for their on-ice accomplishments. Heroes of hockey, all four have been forever enshrined as honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. But today, and every day, they should also be remembered for the sacrifices they made during World War I. Read more