TORONTO -- In the opening video before introducing the first inductee, Pat Quinn compared Pavel Bure's yearning to be the best to that of Bobby Orr.
Pretty high praise for the first inductee in the Class of 2012, but certainly hard to argue against it considering the career that Bure had on both the international and National Hockey League level.
The Russian Rocket scored 437 goals and 779 points in an injury-shortened 702-game NHL career. He got up to 60 twice and scored in the 50s three more times. His hands were remarkable and his skating was, well, untouchable.
"Pretty rocket like," Quinn said. "He was a scoring machine."
Bure, wearing a bow tie, received his plaque from Hall of Fame Chairman and CEO Bill Hay and stepped to the podium.
TORONTO -- The phone call is one every player with Hall of Fame credentials waits for on that June day, when the Selection Committee meets and decides on the next class of legends to be enshrined in Toronto.
Where the inductees are when they get that call is always interesting.
Adam Oates has the best story this year, because the Hall of Fame Class of 2012 was notified on the same day that he was hired to be the head coach of the Washington Capitals. So, not long after he was notified by Capitals GM George McPhee that he was getting the job in D.C., Oates had a number with a 416 area code calling him.
TORONTO -- The question of what means more, a Stanley Cup championship or an Olympic gold medal, is tried and true and asked and re-asked in hockey circles across the globe.
There is no right or wrong answer.
On Monday, though, some of the Class of 2012 inductees were asked how getting into the Hall of Fame differs in terms of personal accomplishments such as winning the Cup, winning a gold medal, scoring 60 goals, or centering not one but two guys that scored 50 goals in 50 games.
For Joe Sakic, who has two Cup rings and an Olympic gold medal, the Hall of Fame is better than anything else.
TORONTO -- Joe Sakic was known for his wrist shot. Pavel Bure made headlines with his speed and hands. Adam Oates' passing ability set him apart.
But what was it that pushed Mats Sundin into the Hall of Fame?
Gary Roberts, Sundin's teammate in Toronto from 2000-04, believes it was the power that the Swedish star got out of his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame.
"I think it's the ability to skate with the puck and get to the net with two or three guys climbing on him," Roberts said. "I remember many nights he'd just say to me, 'Robs, meet me at the net.' I knew eventually he'd get there with two or three guys on his back. He was just a workhorse. The more he played the better he played.
TORONTO -- For parts of two seasons ex-NHL goalie Curtis Joseph got an up close and personal view of one of the wonders of the National Hockey League -- Adam Oates' passing ability.
Joseph and Oates were teammates in St. Louis from 1990-92 and the goalie vividly recalls the Gretzky-like ability he saw from Oates every single day in practice.
"He was such a deceptive player," Joseph told NHL.com Sunday at the Legends Classic. "He changed speeds and always had the other team off balance. Obviously everybody knows about his passing ability, but he sees the ice like very few."
After putting his future on hold for more than a week, longtime Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan is ready to figure out where he wants to play next season and beyond.
Doan's agent, Terry Bross, told the Arizona Republic that 11 teams have expressed an interest in signing Doan, an unrestricted free agent whose priority has always been to return to the Coyotes. However, Doan wanted to wait until at least Monday to start his negotiation process because that is when he hopes to gain more clarity on the situation surrounding Greg Jamison's bid to buy the Coyotes.
Jamison has been approved by the NHL. A 20-year lease agreement between the City of Glendale and Jamison was approved in a 4-2 vote by the city council on June 8, and subsequently held up in Maricopa County Superior Court by Judge Dean Fink 20 days later. However, two Glendale residents have been trying to gather signatures in an attempt to push the lease agreement onto the ballot in November.
According to the Arizona Republic, it is not clear if the required number of signatures has been gathered or if the residents will submit them to the city by Monday, which is 30 days from the date that the lease agreement passed. The Arizona Republic also reported that the organizers of the referendum say paperwork on the ordinance wasn't available until June 15, so they should have an extra week to gather signatures.
Regardless, Doan is ready to get serious about signing a new contract either with the Coyotes or one of the other teams interested. Bross told the Arizona Republic that he plans to speak with Phoenix general manager Don Maloney on Monday.
"I would think if they don't have the signatures and it looks like the Jamison thing is going to go (through), then Don and I would get a little more serious in our dialogue about a new contract," Bross said. "If they do have the signatures or something throws a wrench in it and they say we're looking at two months before we can make a decision, I think we have to listen to some other offers."
Bross added that nothing is imminent right now, but if Doan is going to explore his options outside of the Coyotes, "there are two or three that he'd take a long hard look at, and it'd break his heart to do so."
Zach Parise did not sign with the New Jersey Devils before the free-agent market opened at noon ET Sunday, officially becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Parise, who is the top forward and arguably the top unrestricted free agent available, met with Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello in Toronto on Saturday night, according to a tweet from TSN's Bob McKenzie. However, McKenzie tweeted at 11 a.m ET Sunday that while the Devils are not out of the running, Parise wanted to test his value on the open market.
Parise is good friends with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who is expected to sign his 12-year, $104.4 million contract extension Sunday. The Penguins are roughly $12.26 million under the $70.2 million salary cap, according to capgeek.
I first met him when I was 19 years old and he coached me for 13 consecutive years. I don't know how many athletes who have had that pleasure. Al Arbour was a man that left us not only feeling like champions, but left us with a lot of great memories that we can carry on through life.
— Islanders Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin on former coach Al Arbour, who passed away Friday at the age of 82