People are pretty touchy when you mention the Canucks right now, it’s the losses I think. There are trade rumours, Willie getting fired rumours and even Benning getting the axe; but no one is talking about the REAL elephant in the room:
Will Todd Bertuzzi be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?
Seeing the latest entries into the Hall this past week got me thinking about why the NHL or I guess, more importantly, the governing body of hockey has SO MANY INDUCTEES!! Baseball is pretty picky and so is football, so why does hockey feel the need to put in anyone that was really good but not great?
I believe the Hall of Fame is reserved for those who were truly great, the elite of the elite. There should be no questions when a player gets voted in, it should be a slam dunk. The criteria for what it takes to be a member needs to be made public so we all know what it takes to truly be great.
As of right now, that doesn’t exist and we go through years where really good players make it in and are now on par with the greatest players to ever play the game.
I think if you’ve won a major individual trophy, have played 500+ games, won the Stanley Cup and crack the top 20-30 (not sure what that is for some positions, mainly goaltenders) or have a combination of at least 3 of those things, you should be in the Hall.
So let’s forget all that for a second and focus on #44. For a time, Todd Bertuzzi was the most dominant player in hockey. He had the Gatorade commercial, a catchy song from a local fan and mitts as soft as pillows.
His stat line reads as follows:
GP 1159 G 314 A 456 P 770 To add to all of this he was a -44 which is kind of cool when you think about it. ONE MORE SHIFT BABS!
When you look at players like Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin, Dino Ciccarelli, Sergei Makarov and Pat Lafontaine nothing screams Hall of Fame. Were they really good players, you bet. Were they undoubtedly Hall of Famers? I hate to say it but no.
The name of this blog is heavily based on what Pavel Bure did in that magical spring of 1994. A win would have cemented him as one of the greatest to play the game and he was unlike anything people had seen when he arrived in the league. He won the Calder trophy as Rookie of the Year, some all-star nods but that’s it.
Crazy to think Bure has 9 more points than Bertuzzi and played in over 400 fewer games than Bert as well. If we went on points alone, combined with his brief dominance of the league and playoff performance, he might just get in one day. This, right now, is a reality.
Do I actually think Todd Bertuzzi is worthy of the Hall of Fame? No, I don’t. It has nothing to do with the Steve Moore incident, as violent and unnecessary as that was. It isn’t because he didn’t eclipse 1000 points like many of the Hall members have or that he wasn’t in the top 10 of any particular category (maybe advanced stats but I doubt it).
Todd had success like so many good players do but he never raised his game above the really good level, his overall decision-making hampered any chance of him winning any scoring titles or advancing beyond the second round of the playoffs for the Canucks. The way he floated around on so many occasions was beyond frustrating. Despite coming to the aid of teammates, his suspensions didn’t put him in the league’s good books either.
In 2006, when Bertuzzi was invited to be a member of Team Canada for the Torino Olympics, I just watched in awe as they wasted a spot on him. To be fair, that team was awful right through. Wayne Gretzky loved Todd and it was a forgone conclusion Bertuzzi would be on that team regardless of if he warranted the call or not.
A retribution case for Team Canada sounded great but when it comes to best on best, that was a far cry from a true Olympic squad.
Back to the Hall discussion; If you had to compare Bure to Bertuzzi, for example, Pavel always gave his all even when he was dragged down by injuries. Pavel wanted out of Vancouver and yet he still put the team on his back and put up a playoff run for the ages and hung around after the fact when it was clear it was his time to move on.
Bert was always one of my favourite players but if we’re talking about the Hall of Fame and being included as one of THE best players to ever play the game, he just doesn’t cut it.
I imagine someone may make a case for him down the road, however, the Steve Moore incident will probably hang around him when any decisions like this are ever brought up. Also, it would be tough to say he always played hard and was a difference maker for more than 2.5 years.
I love ya Big Bert but I don’t think you’ll get that call.
OK, now back to this year’s miserable Canucks.
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