NHL Hall To Induct Six All-Time Greats

Hall of Fame

Monday will be a special day for six NHL greats.

Well, five NHL greats and an official.

Dominik Hasek, Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano — three of the most memorable players of the 1990s — will go in as first-ballot Hall of Famers on Monday along with defenseman Rob Blake, referee Bill McCreary and coach Pat Burns.

Hasek, Forsberg, and Modano dominated at their respective positions, while Burns is the only coach to win the Jack Adams Award with three different teams. Blake was a Norris Trophy winner and seven-time All-Star, while McCreary officiated nearly 2,000 regular-season and playoff games as a referee.

Each has an impressive resume, and each is deserving of his own subsection.

Bill McCreary

Career highlights: Officiated nearly 2,000 NHL games, including almost 300 playoff contests. Most recognizable by his distinct mustache.

Why he’s in the Hall: See his credentials above. McCreary, along with Kerry Fraser and Don Koharski, were among the most recognizable NHL officials of the 1990s.

Most memorable moment: McCreary officiated the Gold Medal Game during the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

Dominik Hasek

Career highlights: Spent time with four organizations, winning the 2002 Stanley Cup with Detroit. He won the Vezina Trophy six times — including 1998-99 when he posted career-best 1.87 goals-against average, .937 save percentage, and willed the Buffalo Sabres to the Stanley Cup final.

Why he’s in the Hall: Not only was he dominant, but he was flashy. Few could forget how hard Hasek worked to stop pucks, and how he’d never quit on a play, yet made the unbelievable save look routine.

Most memorable moment: Ironically, it came in a save he may not have actually made. During the 1998 Olympics — the NHL’s first trek to the games in Nagano, Japan — Hasek rose to the occasion, stopping all five superstar shooters in this memorable shootout with Canada in the tournament’s semifinals.

Mike Modano

Career highlights: He scored 557 goals and led the Dallas Stars to their only Stanley Cup championship against Hasek’s Sabres in 1999. He basically is the brightest hockey star in Dallas, though he scored 123 goals as a Minnesota North Star.

Why he’s in the Hall: He’s the greatest American player in NHL history, and he saved his best moments for the playoffs too, guiding Dallas to two Western Conference championships in the height of the Red Wings/Avalanche reign. Modano recorded 146 postseason points and 1,359 more in his 1,459 career games.

Most memorable moment: Many will best remember him for his cameo during the first “Mighty Ducks” movie, or his 50-goal campaign in the Stars’ first season in Dallas, but his overall impact in Dallas can’t be overstated, and his 500th goal just cemented his legacy in the Lone Star State.

Pat Burns

Career highlights: The former police officer was the first coach to win the Jack Adams three times in his first season with a team. He won 501 games during his coaching tenure in New Jersey, Boston, Montreal, and Toronto and won the Cup in his first season with the Devils.

Why he’s in the Hall: Mostly because of people like you. While he was stricken with cancer in 2010, many fans around North America started a campaign to get Burns inducted into the Hall. Four years later, it finally worked.

Most memorable moment: It might be his Stanley Cup win, but I’ll always remember him most for his unfortunate run-in with Wayne Gretzky‘s Los Angeles Kings during the 1993 Western Conference final.

Peter Forsberg

Career highlights: He recorded 885 points in 708 career games during his 13-year NHL career. He was a five-time all-star who won the Hart Trophy in 2002-03 when he registered a career-high 108 points. He also registered 171 postseason points in only 151 playoff games.

Why he’s in the Hall: “Foppa” was best known as one of the most tenacious forwards of his time, a player whose skill was matched only by his work ethic. Unfortunately, he missed significant time with injury and cut his career to just those 708 games.

Most memorable moment: He may have done this, and this, but his likeness is on a stamp in Sweden for this:

Rob Blake

Career highlights: He played in more than 1,200 NHL games over two decades in the league. He was one of the most consistent defensemen of that time — and that group includes Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer, Nick Lidstrom, and Chris Pronger. Blake was a three-team Olympian for Team Canada — which speaks volumes considering who else was in that company — and won the Norris Trophy in 1997-98.

Why he’s in the Hall: A skilled two-way defenseman, Blake scored 20 goals twice and could contribute offensively, plus he did his job defensively too. He was traded from LA to Colorado in 2001 and won the Stanley Cup. He chipped in 19 points in 23 games that playoff year.

Most memorable moment: Blake was a fierce competitor. Here are some of his best hits.

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Pat Pickens
Pat Pickens covers the NHL for the New York Times, NHL.com and XN Sports.