The calendar suggests that it's again time for the old Hall of Fame debate.
The 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame class will be revealed Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET (TSN2) after the 18-member Hall of Fame Selection Committee meets in seclusion in Toronto to discuss the candidates and vote on them. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. ET and candidates are required to land on 75 percent of the ballots in order to be elected, but no more than four players can be in the Class of 2013.
Will there be four this year? Who will they be?
Here is a look at three guys that should be getting calls from the Hall on Tuesday and a list of others who are vying for the fourth spot available, if necessary:
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THESE LEGENDS SHOULD BE LOCKS
Chris Chelios (Canadiens, Blackhawks, Red Wings, Thrashers)
Chelios is a first-time eligible candidate at 51 years old, making him the oldest first-time eligible candidate that the selection committee has ever had to consider. He played until he was 48.
He played in 1,651 games (fifth all-time, most among defenseman and most among American-born players), registered 948 points and became the second oldest player behind Gordie Howe to play in the NHL when he was called up to play for the Thrashers in 2009-10. He won the Stanley Cup three times (1986 with Montreal, 2002 and 2008 with Detroit) as well as the Norris Trophy three times (1989, 1993, 1996).
Chelios appeared on the international ice for the United States several times, including in the Olympics four times (1984, 1998, 2002 and 2006). He won the silver medal in 2002 at Salt Lake City. He also won gold at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. Chelios even won an NCAA championship at the University of Wisconsin in 1983.
Scott Niedermayer (Devils, Ducks)
Niedermayer should be a no-brainer for the selection committee. If a player can possibly exceed all the requirements necessary for induction, Niedermayer did. He is the only player in history to win every major North American and international championship.
At the NHL level, Niedermayer won the Stanley Cup four times (1995, 2000, 2003, 2007). He played 1,263 games over 18 seasons (1992-2010) and finished with 740 points. He won the Norris Trophy in 2004 and the Conn Smythe in 2007, when he was captain of the Ducks.
Internationally, Niedermayer won Olympic gold twice (2002, 2010) and the World Championship (2004), completing his membership into the Triple Gold Club (Stanley Cup, Olympic gold, World Championship). He also won gold at the World Junior Championship (1991) and at the World Cup of Hockey (2004).
Brendan Shanahan (Devils, Blues, Whalers, Red Wings, Rangers)
Shanahan was surprisingly edged out last year as a first-time eligible candidate because the selection committee voted in Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure. It would be a similar shock if he didn't get the Hall call this year.
Shanahan, like Niedermayer, is a member of the Triple Gold Club. He won the Stanley Cup three times with the Red Wings (1997, 1998, 2002), the Olympic gold in 2002 and the World Championship in 1994. He also played for Canada's championship team at the 1991 Canada Cup.
In addition to his trophies, Shanahan is one of 18 members of the NHL's 600-goal club; he is 13th all-time with 656. He is also 13th all-time in games played with 1,524 and 25th in points with 1,354. Shanahan also won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2003.
FIVE FOR ONE
If Chelios, Niedermayer and Shanahan are locks, that leaves one spot left for a number of former players that will get consideration. Here are five that could be lucky No. 4:
Rob Blake (Kings, Avalanche, Sharks)
Blake doesn't have the same accolades as Niedermayer, but he also is a member of the Triple Gold Club, having won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001 as well as an Olympic gold in 2002 and the World Championship with Canada in 1994 and 1997. He also won the Norris Trophy in 1998 and finished his career with 777 points in 1,270 games.
Blake went to the Stanley Cup Final with the Kings in 1993, but it took a trade to Colorado in 2001 for him to win the Cup. He stayed with the Avalanche until 2006 before returning to L.A. for two more seasons. He closed out his career with two seasons in San Jose, helping the Sharks get to the Western Conference Final in 2010.
Eric Lindros (Flyers, Rangers, Maple Leafs, Stars)
Lindros' career was cut short because of concussion problems, but at one point in the mid-1990s he was arguably the best player in the League. Lindros, who was a featured member of the famed "Legion of Doom" line in Philadelphia with John LeClair and Mikael Renberg, won the Hart Trophy in 1994-95 with 29 goals and 41 assists in the lockout-shortened 48 game-season.
Lindros had 659 points in 486 games over eight seasons with the Flyers, a point-per-game average of 1.355. Bobby Orr is fifth all-time in NHL history with a 1.393 point-per-game average.
He won an Olympic gold medal in 2002 and twice won gold at the World Junior Championship (1991, 1992), but Lindros never won the Stanley Cup and had several off-ice issues, including his demand for a trade out of Quebec and his contract squabbles with the Flyers that led to him sitting out the 2000-01 season.
Alexander Mogilny (Sabres, Canucks, Devils, Maple Leafs)
He's been retired since 2006 and eligible for induction since 2009, but Mogilny is still on the ballot despite being a member of the Triple Gold Club and a better-than point-per-game player in his NHL career.
Mogilny finished his career with 1,032 points in 990 games. He won the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2000, and as a member of the Soviet Union squad he won Olympic gold in 1988 and a World Championship gold in 1989. He also won gold at the 1989 World Juniors, when he had seven goals in seven games.
He scored 76 goals and 127 points in 77 games with the Sabres in 1992-93.
Jeremy Roenick (Blackhawks, Coyotes, Flyers, Kings, Sharks)
One of the most outspoken and controversial players of his generation, Roenick also was one of the greatest scorers. He had 513 goals and 1,216 points over 1,393 games from 1989-2009.
Roenick scored 190 goals over a four-season span from 1990-94, including a career-high 53 in 1991-92. He then had eight straight seasons of 20 or more goals from 1995-2003.
However, Roenick never won any important team-oriented trophy, though he did go to the Stanley Cup Final with the Blackhawks in 1992 and he did win the silver medal with the United States at the 2002 Olympics.
Keith Tkachuk (Jets, Coyotes, Blues, Thrashers)
Tkachuk's resume reads very much like Roenick's -- a lot of goals, a lot of games, but no team trophies.
Tkachuk scored 538 goals and 1,065 points in 1,201 games played. He hit the 50-goal plateau twice, scored at least 40 two more times and at least 30 another five times. He played for the United States in the Olympics four times and won the silver medal in 2002.
However, not only did Tkachuk never win the Stanley Cup, his teams got out of the first round only once.
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