How good of a day is Adam Oates having? So good that his thinning hair might have grown back a tiny little bit. No, that’s too much, but he’s on fire. This morning he was named the Capitals new head coach, and just moments ago it was reported by every media outlet on the freakin’ planet that he would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Oates played 22 seasons splitting time with the Red Wings, Blues, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers, Mighty Ducks and Oilers. He amassed 1420 points in 1337 NHL games. I still remember reading a story in Sports Illustrated for kids where Adam Oates described the expectation of getting drafted and the disappointment that came with not being drafted at all. That story always stuck with me for some reason.
Going with Oates are Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic and Pavel Bure.
Mats Sundin is the only Swedish hockey player to eclipse the 500 goal mark (564). He also has the most career goals, assists and points for a Swede and the first Swedish player to score 1,000 points. Sundin was originally drafted number one overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1988. He spent four seasons there before being traded to the Maple Leafs where he played for 11 years. Sundin also spent half a season with the Canucks before calling it quits.
Joke Sakic won two Stanley Cups as the captain of the Colorado Avalanche. He holds nearly all team records for points and played every game of his career with the Quebec/Colorado franchise. Quite, often unsung hero of the Av’s during the dominant days in the NHL.
Pavel Bure who was probably one of the most exciting hockey players of his time is finally elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been passed up for the last seven years, but is finally getting his ticket punched to enter the hall with the aforementioned greats. Bure was an exciting mix of speed and skill. He had everyone on the edge of their seats each time he touched the puck. Seriously, the dudes farts were probably more exciting than anything I could muster up with a hockey stick. Remembered for his game 7 game winning goal against the Flames in 94, Bure scored back-to-back 60 goal seasons and one more 50 goal season before leaving Vancouver. Before his career became significantly shortened, Bure had a 58 and 59 goal season with the Florida Panthers.
I literally had an entire piece typed up on why I felt Pavel Bure wasn’t deserving of such a prestigious honor. But why bother? Each member of this class of inductees is deserving in their own right. Pavel is no different. I’m sure every player, not exclusive to Pavel, regrets the way they handled situations with former teams/managers. Look at Lindros and the Flyers? Sometimes it just takes time. Maybe one day I’ll come around too.