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Five Precedents in the Alfie HHOF Case

This is the game that moves as you play

2017 Scotiabank NHL100 Classic - Ottawa Senators Red-White Alumni Game Photo Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

If you already read Beata’s definitive article on Wednesday then you should know why we here at Silver Seven think Daniel Alfredsson belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. If you haven’t read that article then maybe go do that right now. Thank you. Now, Senators fans tend to hear a lot of arguments from hall of fame purists as to why Alfredsson doesn’t belong in the hall and quite frankly then can kick rocks. We don’t have many hoots to give about your sanctimonious holier-than-thou worship for tradition around these parts. Alfie is god. But, if you also find yourself hung up on Alfie’s lack of a Stanley Cup victories, lack of major offensive awards (such as the Hart, Richard, or Selke), and observe 500 as the sacred threshold for goals by a forward with hall aspirations then I have some news for you: go kick rocks some more. Because even the hall itself doesn’t seem to subscribe to those standards. Case and point: the five players listed in this very article that you may currently have open on your browser.

Rod Gilbert 1065 Games 406 Goals 615 Assists

Gilbert gets some immediate hall credibility by virtue of having played his entire NHL career with one NHL team, the New York Rangers. No other player on this list played exclusively for one team and we all no how badly it vexed us when Alfie left after 2013. Unlike Alfie, Gilbert never served as captain but foes hold his franchise’s record for goals and points. Alfie also has better credentials in my book given his international play as Gilbert did not compete in any major international tournaments. Like Alfie, Gilbert was the first player in the history of his franchise to have his number retired. Both Gilbert and Alfie had back injuries end their careers prematurely.

Bernie Federko 1000 Games 369 Goals 761 Assists

Federko can boast that he did serve as captain of the St. Louis Blues (albeit for one year) and like Gilbert has no international accolades on his resume. Federko holds the Blues franchise record for assists and points all-time (gee I wonder who has the record for goals), and as the first player to enter the hall after primarily playing for St. Louis, we can only hope Federko somewhat blazed a trail for Alfie to become the first Senator (first and foremost) to make the cut.

Cam Neely 726 Games 395 Goals 299 Assists

Neely never served as captain in Boston (or Vancouver for that matter), holds no franchise records for the Boston Bruins, and has no international achievements. Knee injuries cut Neely’s career short but the hall seems to look at counting stats over per-game rates so I think this should bode well for Alfie.

Adam Oates 1337 Games 341 Goals 1079 Assists

It definitely bears mentioning that Oates has a boatload more assists than Alfie but then again Oates also centred two players on this list plus some guy named Brett Hull. Oates served as captain of the Washington Capitals for two seasons and again has no international track record to speak of. On a trivial note, the Blues traded Federko for Oates, Oates played with Neely, and Alfie eliminated Oates and the Flyers in the 2002 playoffs. Oates also played with the last player on our list.

Paul Kariya 989 Games 402 Goals 587 Assists

Kariya has the closest challenge to Alfie’s run with seven seasons as captain in Anaheim. Today, Kariya no longer holds any franchise records with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim but he does have an international resume that stacks up against Alfie’s as he won Olympic gold and silver (and World Championship gold and silver for good measure). As we all know, concussions ended Kariya’s career far too early and most notably he sustained a gruesome head injury in the Stanley Cup finals at the hands of the same New Jersey Devils who eliminated Ottawa in the 2003 conference finals. I’ve maintained that I could have stomached Ottawa’s loss in the 2007 cup finals had Kariya captained that team.

Daniel Alfredsson 1246 Games 444 Goals 713 Assists

Looking at the five players listed above already inducted into the hall, some of them can cite achievements that eluded Alfie but none of them can match all of the feats Beata outlined in the article on Wednesday. Again, none of these players won a cup. None of them won a major individual award as a forward. And none of them have 500 NHL goals. Alfie can, just to refresh, boast that he won Olympic goal and silver (as an alternate captain no less, leading that gold medal-winning team in offence. He has four world championship medals to add to his collection. He served as captain of the Sens for thirteen years. He won the Calder trophy (are we sure that doesn’t count as a major individual award?) and he holds franchise records for points, goals, and assists (he also holds those records playoff-specifically in Ottawa). did we mention he was the first modern Senator to have his number retired by the team? And, like those listed before him, maybe he could have done even more if not for those back injuries and concussions. Alfie’s mantle speaks for itself and we as Sens fans don’t need the validation that comes with seeing Alfie enshrined in the hall. But the voters have set the precedent. Don’t let the purists delude you into thinking our lord and savior doesn’t belong in the pantheon. Alfie to the hall.