Monday, November 08, 2004

Three for the defence!

The Hockey Hall of Fame suddenly became a much harder place to cross a blue line in, as three of the best defencemen that the NHL has ever seen found themselves enrolled in a very select club.

Raymond Bourque, Paul Coffey and Larry Murphy were placed into our national hallowed hall on Monday night. It seems only fitting that the three would enter the Hall in the same year, for they have been major players in the game in the last twenty years. Whether it was Norris trophies for Bourque and Coffey, Stanley Cup championships as with Murphy or Canada Cup and International play that all three shared in, the back end was always covered the offensive threat always there when they were on the ice.

The three count as 1987’s Canada Cup as one of the special memories in their long and illustrious careers, it marked the only time all three played on the same team for Canada and that 87 Canada Cup team was pure magic. It featured three consecutive games of non stop end to end hockey, played by some true legends of our game to the high intensity possible.

Through their years the three have combined for 5,259 games in pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Mug. Murphy and Coffey having had their champagne much earlier in their days than Bourque who only tasted a championship drink as his career was closing out.

The three NHL greats join Cliff Fletcher the former architect of Flames and Leaf teams of days gone by, Fletcher also joins the hall in a builder category. Long a fixture in the NHL Fletcher became one of the most respected Hockey men the league has seen. Working his way up through the Montreal Canadiens organization he brought hockey to the Deep South, moved it to hockey heartland and then took on the challenge of a Toronto team that was in complete disarray after the Ballard years, for following that gong show he should have been admitted years ago.

It’s a bumper crop that the Hall harvested this year. These are four selections that were strong on the blue line and solid in the back office. These four were worthy participants of the game, worthy rivals and worthy inductees into Hockey’s greatest hall!

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