The St. Louis Blues likely won’t have a member of their franchise go into the Hall of Fame for awhile. Even so, the ones that do get picked are getting picked on more and more.
The St. Louis Blues are in a bit of a gap phase where there isn’t a big push for any of their former players to get in right now. The next most likeliest from the Note might be Keith Tkachuk, but there are arguments to be made elsewhere that it could be a current player, which would make it even longer until it happens.
However, the interesting thing about the Hall of Fame, regardless of sport, is that it’s so much harder to judge worthiness as you get older. I am not old at all, but I’ve reached that turning point where players are no longer these larger than life figures where induction was almost a certainty.
Every fan goes through this. We always swear we won’t be like that older generation that says how much better things were when they were younger, but it inevitably happens. It’s part of life, I suppose.
Fans that grew up when I did never had any doubt that Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemiuex were the greatest hockey players or that Michael Jordan was the best of all time in basketball. Fans that were older told us that we just had not seen Gordie Howe or Bobby Hull in their hay day and we should not forget how great Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were.
Similarly, fans who are younger or just getting into today’s NHL would be hard pressed to see greatness past the likes of Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby. They do things with the puck like we’ve never seen, so they have to be the best, right?
Well, that argument plays itself out in Hall of Fame talks as well. When you’re a fan in those formative stages, you see the players as heroes of sorts and the big names are no-brainers for the Hall. Even some of the more mid-level guys are good to go as a Hall of Fame player when you’re young.
Once you cross that barrier, however, things get murkier. If you try to base everything purely on a gut feeling, it’s hard to argue anyone should get into the Hall of Fame past a certain point.
Iginla makes a bit more sense. I distinctly remember him being the premier player on a Calgary team that fell just short of a Stanley Cup in 2004. There were times it felt he almost single-handedly dragged that team that far.
Nevertheless, it never felt like he was in that upper echelon of the league. Perception is reality, even if there are a vast number that might think differently.
That is definitely true of Hossa. When I look at his stats, it’s hard to argue against him.
Hossa had over 500 goals. He had over 1100 points in just over 1300 games.
Hossa is just outside the all-time top 50 in points scored. He actually has four more career points than Bernie Federko and I challenge you to find a Blues fan that thinks Bernie doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.
However, just on a gut feeling, Hossa’s inclusion feels weird. Again, it’s all about perception.
He was a great player for the Chicago Blackhawks. However, he was third wheel at best, behind Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. He might have even been behind some of their defenseman in the pecking order.
Hossa scored 100 points once in his career and was often a 30-40 goal scorer. It still feels weird.
Perhaps it was because he never felt like “The Guy”. He rarely led his team in points. He was buried from the national scene when playing for Ottawa and definitely with Atlanta. So, much of it likely boils to how much you saw him, or any player, and your perception of them.
Still, going forward, it is going to become that much harder to judge Hall of Fame value as a fan because many of us have passed that point where inclusion was a certainty. Even as a huge fan of Keith Tkachuk and seeing the value he had with both the Blues and the Phoenix Coyotes, my mind wrestles with the idea of whether he will or should be in there.
He’s one of the best American players ever, so that’s a plus. He just doesn’t have that transcendent feel to him. But, perhaps no players will for me anymore.
Time will tell. The wheels of motion always go toward the future, so the Hall of Fame won’t stop electing new members. All we can do is see whether they are valid in our own minds or not.