Thursday, June 10, 2004

Try getting past this blue line on November 8th

The Hockey Hall of fame is going to be a whole lot safer in November, when three of the current era’s top defensemen, take their place in the hallowed hall of Hockey.

Ray Borque, Paul Coffey and Larry Murphy who not only excelled in the NHL, but shared a Canada Cup victory in 1987 with Team Canada will enter the Hall together. All three were selected in their first year of eligibility, testimony to the impact each has had on the game.

Cliff Fletcher, who built many an NHL hockey team into a contender, will join them, having been selected to the builders category. Fletcher who has been a coach and GM through many changes in the NHL has always been able to get the best out of his assembled teams. Best known for his 1989 Stanley Cup victory with Calgary, Fletcher also pulled off a mini miracle in Toronto. When after far too many years in the wilderness, he rebuilt that team into a contender.

Each player brought a different style to the ice, Borque known as the legendary workhorse of the Boston Bruins; he finally won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche. His ability to play over 30 minutes a game, remain relatively injury free and win multiple Norris trophies made him a shoe in for inclusion on his first try.

Paul Coffey of course needs no introduction, possibly the most exciting defenceman since Bobby Orr; Coffey was part of that magical Oiler dynasty of the eighties. The proto type of the offensive defenceman his ability to step up into a breaking play, redefined defence for most of the eighties and into the nineties.

Larry Murphy has paid his dues in the NHL, stops in Los Angeles, Washington, Minnesota, Toronto, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Having his name etched on the Stanley cup four times; twice with Detroit and twice with Pittsburgh. While not possessing the most blazing of speed, he was seldom caught out of position and was an anchor for any team that he was on. His selection puts the cap on a terrific career, proving that you don’t have to be flashy to be a success. Steady and hardworking can get you into the Hall of Fame, as the fifth leading scorer on defense has proven with his inclusion Wednesday.

All four will receive their honours on November 8th at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Well deserved recognition for outstanding play and the best example of a work ethic the NHL has to offer.

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