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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 8:34 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Bettman congratulates new inductees

TORONTO -- Commissioner Gary Bettman went to the podium and talked about being the greatness of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"In a time when so much of our daily life is consumed by temporary bursts of information, with stories and rumors told in the span of 140 characters, it is still refreshing to be in this Hall, which is a haven from the mundane, from the exploitive," Bettman said. "The Hall's very foundation is lasting, permanent and eternal. The Hall is enduring, it is real and it is authentic. Most of all, it is meaningful."

Bettman said the Hall represents a generation of fans who have cheered these four inductees, along with future generations who will cheer future greats. He said this night is about a proud father, himself a Hall of Fame member, who gets to see his son inducted.

He also congratulated Joe Nieuwendyk, and said he was "a little biased on this one" when congratulating a fellow Cornell alum and, pun intended, a Star(s) general manager. Bettman also congratulated Doug Gilmour, who he said is "almost God-like" here in Toronto.

Bettman finished by saying, "the name Ed Belfour is synonymous with playing the game at the highest level of emotion and intensity." He also congratulated media honorees Terry Jones and Mickey Redmond.

"The Hall is enriched by the presence of all of you," Bettman said.
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 8:32 PM

NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Redmond, Jones also honored

TORONTO -- Mickey Redmond and Terry Jones were rightfully honored at the induction ceremony. Both became honored members of the Hall of Fame earlier Monday at a luncheon.

Redmond received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for exemplary broadcasting and Jones received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for bringing honor to journalism and to hockey.

Jones told the crowd at the luncheon that for years he has had the best gig in the country. He has worked in Edmonton for years.

Redmond has been a broadcaster ever since finishing his playing days in 1976. He worked for CBC and has been on Red Wings broadcasts for years.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 8:29 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Belfour poignant, emotional during brief speech

TORONTO -- Ed Belfour won the Vezina trophy twice, the Stanley Cup in 1999 and a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics. He added "Member, Hockey Hall of Fame" to his impressive hockey resume Monday night.

TSN's James Duthie introduced Belfour and called him a "man of few words," but that his play on the ice was more important than words. During a video commemorating Belfour's career, narrated by former teammate Jeremy Roenick, he called Belfour one of the most intense players he's ever played with or against.

Belfour began his speech by thanking his mentor from his early days in Chicago, Vladislav Tretiak, for being here and traveling from Moscow to be here. He also thanked former teammate Chris Chelios for being here as well.

Tretiak was Belfour's goaltending coach when his NHL career began in Chicago, and Belfour talked earlier today about how the Russian legend was one of his idols growing up ... and how Tretiak didn't speak English when he first became the Blackhawks goalie coach. Roenick mentioned in the video introduction that Belfour wore No. 30 early in his career, but switched to No. 20 as a tribute to Tretiak.

He thanked fans for the "Ed-die, Ed-die" chants, saying they gave him inspiration every time he played. Belfour also thanked his family.

True to Duthie's introduction, Belfour was again a man of few words, but these were poignant and emotional.
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 8:10 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Mark Howe delivers heartwarming speech

TORONTO -- For years he has been known as Gordie's son, Mark. Can we please now refer to him Mark Howe, Gordie's son.

Mark Howe has lived his entire life in the shadow of his famous father, but now that they share a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, it's time that Mark gets his just due for being a legend just like his old man.

Howe, a finalist for the Norris Trophy three times in the 1980s, was the first of the four inductees to get enshrined into the Hall tonight.

Howe, dressed to the nines in a tuxedo with a sharp looking bow-tie and vest combination, held his plaque up with Hockey Hall of Fame Chairman Bill Hay and then strode to the podium. He put on his dark-rimmed glasses, pulled out his speech and started to read.

Howe told NHL.com on Sunday that normally when he gives a speech or talks in public, he doesn't read, he just talks from the heart. Tonight he wanted to read just to make sure he didn't forget anything.

Howe opened his speech with a message to the hockey world about the victims of the tragic Lokomotiv plane crash in September, in which he lost his dear friend and former defense partner, Brad McCrimmon.

"I hope the victims of this terrible tragedy receive full compensation for their losses, which is not the case at this time," Howe said. "I find this morally upsetting. The families have lost their loved ones, they do not have to suffer financially as well. The hockey world should do all it can to make it right."

Mark then recognized Maureen McCrimmon, Brad's widow, who was in the crowd.
"It makes my evening complete," he said.

After thanking several people that had an influence on his career, his development as a hockey player and his overall life, he talked about going to Philadelphia in 1982.

"From the beginning it was as if I was born to be a Flyer," he said. "Although I wanted to slash him a few times, I want to thank Mike Keenan for helping me to raise my bar."

He also mentioned some of his old teamamtes, including McCrimmon, Glen Cochrane and Kjell Samuelsson.
"The orange and black will be a part of me forever," he said.

He then moved on to thanking the Illitch family and Jim Devellano for bringing him to Detroit to fulfill a dream of playing for his dad's old team.

Mark then had a touching moment when he thanked his ex-wife, Ginger.

"Although I have been separated for a number of years now, I would be remised not to thank Ginger for bringing the three kids into his world and the commitment she made to them as a mother."

He moved on to his siblings, Kathy, Murray and Marty. He had some extra special words for Marty.
"Marty is so much a part of this evening. You looked out for me, protected me. You're my big brother and my best friend."

Mark talked about his three kids and said he knows how they feel tonight "because I watched my father be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. The three of you are the most important people in my life. I am so proud to be your father. I love you all very, very much."

He talked about his mother, the late Colleen Howe, and said how he wished she could be here tonight. He thanked her for everything, including teaching him how to be the son of Gordie Howe.

"I guess there is one person left to thank in this building," he then said, referring to his dad. "I'm not going to thank you for being my linemate for six years and I'm not going to thank you for elbowing the guy who may have taken a dirty shot at me. I'm not going to thank you for being the greatest hockey player ever. I want to thank you for being the husband, father and grandfather you are. You are the role model that led my life. I'm so proud to call you my dad."

Mark told a story that after he retired Gordie said he wished just for one game he would have worn his No. 9 Red Wings jersey. He never got the chance in a game, but he honored that request tonight, pulling the red No. 9 sweater over his tuxedo with pride.

"Dad, I love you," he said. "Thank you."

Howe exited the stage. Next up is Ed Belfour.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 7:45 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Live Blog: NHL.com at Hall of Fame inductions

Festivities are under way

TORONTO -- The 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony has begun.

We are stationed down below the area in Brookfield Place, where the ceremony is taking place. Our location is actually a restaurant called Piazza Manna. We have the broadcast on TSN2 coming into the restaurant and the media is being well fed as well.

The red carpet event was again a success as several honored members of the Hall of Fame as well as numerous other luminaries in the hockey world walked through the gauntlet of media.

Among the honored members that walked were Bob Gainey, Bill Barber, Johnny Bower, Bobby Clarke, Marcel Dionne, Cliff Fletcher, Bernie Federko, Jim Gregory, Igor Larionov, Ted Lindsay, Lanny McDonald, Borje Salming, Steve Shutt, Ray Scapinello, Ed Snider, Vladislav Tretiak, Bryan Trottier and Brian Kilrea.

Among the special guests that walked the carpet were Gary Bettman, Brendan Shanahan, Donald Fehr, Pat Quinn, Gary Roberts, David Poile, Ray Shero, Ken Holland, Mike and Marian Ilitch, Paul Holmgren and Mike Richter.

Shero told a great story to NHL.com about how he played against Joe Nieuwendyk in college when he was a senior at St. Lawrence and Nieuwendyk was a freshman at Cornell.

"It's hard to believe he didn't remember me," Shero said laughing. "But, I remembered him and how good he was, how strong he was as a freshman in college. To see where he is now in the Hall of Fame is just amazing."

After TSN's James Duthie welcomed everybody to the induction ceremony, Hockey Hall of Fame Chairman Bill Hay gave some opening remarks. We're in a commercial break now, but Mark Howe will be the first up for induction when the show returns.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 7:18 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Myers a healthy scratch vs. Habs

MONTREAL -- Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career Monday night.

Myers' spot in the Sabres lineup for their game against the Montreal Canadiens was taken by Mike Weber, who was dressed for the second time all season.

"Some of his decisions haven't been very good," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said after the morning skate, though he wouldn't confirm that Myers was scratched. "For Tyler to be better, inside the game he has to make some better decisions."

Myers, 21, is a minus-6 over his last four games, including a minus-3 in Saturday's 6-2 loss in Boston where he made a number of costly giveaways that led directly to Bruins goals.
 
"It's not good enough for me," Myers said. "I have to be better."

Myers, the Calder Trophy winner two years ago, was signed prior to this season to a 7-year, $38.5 million contract extension that kicks in next season.
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 3:51 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Mark on Gordie: 'He was an absolute freak of nature'

TORONTO -- Mark Howe has spent his post-playing days an NHL scout, but there is no player he’s seen more games of than his father, Gordie.

That combination gives him a unique prospective when it comes to discussing the career of “Mr. Hockey.”

“His passion and love for the game -- and I watched him play when he was 35 in Detroit,” Mark Howe said. “He was still a heck of a player, one of the top two, three guys in the League. But when he was a player at 45, he was a better player than when he was 35.”

When Gordie was in his mid-30s, Mark was a young boy watching from the seats in The Olympia in Detroit. Eventually, Mark had a chance to play professional hockey, and he decided to play in the old World Hockey Association for the Houston Aeros -- where he was able to skate on a line with Gordie and his brother, Marty.

“[WHA fans] got a chance to watch Gordie Howe play at age 45, 46. He won the MVP one year and it was staggering,” Mark Howe said. “I watched him from the stands every day as a kid growing up, but when you’re in the locker room and around that individual every day you get to appreciate him. Even when he was 52 in Hartford, playing maybe 8-10 minutes a game with no power-play time and on the fourth line, he still had 36, 37 points. What that man did from 45-52 is something that will never, ever be matched.

“When I was 18 in training camp, I was skating circles around him because I had been skating for a month, and then about three weeks later Marty and I are going, ‘Man, we can’t keep up with this guy.’ He was an absolute freak of nature physically, but it was his love of the game that separated him from everyone else.”

Mark Howe said his father actually wanted to play another year before deciding to retire at the age of 52 in 1980. Now he will join his dad in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and a large contingent of the Howe family is here to celebrate.

“I am proud. It is great to see him get in here,” Marty Howe said. “It has been a hell of a weekend, and it continues tonight. We’re all happy. We’ve got close to 50 people here, and we had a private dinner last night. We celebrated a little bit. It is great. I’m happy.”

Added Gordie Howe: “It's a tremendous honor. To heck with Gordie Howe - it's Mark Howe. And Marty's here too so he's as proud as I am. ... Hockey brought the Howe family together pretty nicely.”
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 3:46 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Gilmour provides retort for Roberts' statements

TORONTO -- Gary Roberts used to wonder how Doug Gilmour stayed in shape. He told NHL.com in an interview last week that despite being neighbors with Gilmour, he never once saw "Killer" training outdoors.

"I was out running every day, biking, trying to get in shape, and then in the first practice in training camp he's skating by me like I'm standing still," Roberts said. "I thought, he must work out in his closet."

No he did not.

"I had a gym in my basement," Gilmour said. "He didn't know that."

Gilmour's private workouts helped him get the better of Roberts all the time, even when Roberts finally convinced him to step out of his front door to train.

"Finally Gary got a hold of me to go for a bike ride and he's got all the gear on, this fancy bike, and I've got a five-speed mountain bike with a baby seat on the back," Gilmour said. "We went about 24 kilometers for a ride and had a race up the hill at the end. I beat him on the race and he threw his mountain bike down the hill because he was so mad."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 3:12 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Belfour idolized, learned from Tretiak

TORONTO -- Ed Belfour could have picked Ken Dryden or Tony Esposito to be his hockey idol as a 7-year-old boy growing up in Carman, Man. But Belfour went the other way and picked Vladislav Tretiak, the enemy goalie in the epic 1972 Summit Series.

"There were a lot of Canadian kids that idolized Vladislav Tretiak from the Summit Series," Belfour said Monday. "It was so publicized."

For Belfour, though, Tretiak went from idol to coach to friend. Mike Keenan hired Tretiak to be the Chicago Blackhawks goalie coach in 1990, shortly after Belfour got to the Windy City.

Belfour said Tretiak didn't speak a word of English, but they quickly developed a repour that helped Belfour become a Hall of Fame goalie.

"We had an interpreter almost the whole first year and he would come on the ice with us, but for the most part Vladdy would come on the ice too, so he would show me what he wanted done," Belfour said. "He picked up on English very quickly. He did a great job with me and I'm always very appreciative and thankful."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 3:05 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 HHOF blog

Connections run deep among Hall of Fame inductees

TORONTO -- Joe Nieuwendyk’s NHL career spanned 20 seasons with five teams. He won the Stanley Cup three times in three cities.

One of those victories did not come in 2003-04, his lone season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. That doesn’t mean that year wasn’t a special one for him.

“Growing up about 40 minutes down the road in Whitby, it was probably the highlight of my career, and I say that with all sincerity,” said Nieuwendyk, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night. “Growing up a Leafs fan, Borje Salming and Lanny McDonald -- that’s why this weekend has been so special. Just to do it for one season was incredible.”

Nieuwendyk is one of four new members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and all four have played hockey for a team in this city. Three of them played for the Maple Leafs, while Mark Howe spent a season with the Toronto Marlboros of the then-called Ontario Hockey Association (the predecessor of the Ontario Hockey League).

Each of them had different experiences playing in this city, but they all look back on that time with fond memories.

“I loved playing here,” said Ed Belfour, who was with the Leafs for three seasons. “The focus of the hockey world is here in Toronto, and I loved being part of that. I love it when everybody knows the game and talks about the game and the passion that you could feel in this city. All those rivalries with Montreal and Ottawa, leading up to the games you could feel the electricity in the city and it was great to be apart of that.”

Belfour backstopped the Leafs from 2002-03 until 2005-06. He was here for Nieuwendyk’s one season, and he also was Doug Gilmour’s teammate ... for one game.

Gilmour was a fan favorite in Toronto for parts of six seasons in the 1990s, and remains incredibly popular here. He returned to the Leafs during the 2002-03 campaign, but injured his knee in his first game back and did not play again.

“This was my longest-standing team, and this is what I still call home,” Gilmour said. “My years in Toronto were just ... I can’t say enough about the management and the ownership and my teammates and the runs that we had. None of this was possible without them.

“The fans here have been great through my career. You play for them. It is amazing when you go out on the ice here, like we did on Saturday night, and part of your getting ready mentally is going out on the ice and seeing the fans and their reactions -- it really gets you motivated. Believe me, [Saturday] night was the closest we’re ever going to get to that again. It was just great and I say thank you to all of them for the support.”
Howe was 17 years old when he moved to Toronto for a season of junior hockey. His team that year was very successful (47-7-9) and included several future NHL players, including his brother Marty, Bob Dailey, Mike Palmateer and Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau.

“I was here long before [the other three inductees],” Howe said. “I know Detroit is Hockeytown and I grew up in the States, but anybody, especially when you play pro, if you ever got to watch the morning skate at Maple Leaf Gardens or in the Montreal Forum, the tempo of the practice was just phenomenal. It was like game-pace tempo, and most coaches would have to cut practices short because you come into those building and there’s just so much energy and you’re so excited.

“I got to do that everyday with the Marlies. After a while, I got to work with the broom crew and I got to go down in the old boiler room and do my sticks. The Leafs were struggling at the time but the Marlies had a great year and we got a lot of great press. The people I boarded with, the Tanner family, were great people. If there’s a city that might compare to this is maybe Montreal for hockey history, but even to just be a part of it for one year was special.”

Nieuwendyk is connected to Gilmour and Belfour through previous NHL stops. He won the Cup with Gilmour in Calgary in 1989 and with Belfour in Dallas a decade later.

The Howe family will be in the spotlight Monday at the Hockey Hall of Fame, and for good reason. There will also be a special connection to the Maple Leafs and to this hockey-mad city.

Felix Potvin and I lived about 30 feet from the [Maple Leaf] Gardens, so we would just walk out and just walk into our apartment,” Gimour said. “It was just so electric down there and we saw it all the time. It is just something that you can’t replace.”

Added Nieuwendyk: “This is a fabulous honor to go in with the guys I’m going in with. I played against Mark and I can see why he was a loved teammate and a competitor. I have firsthand knowledge of the other two guys, and I couldn’t go in with a better class. It is a thrill.”
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