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:
The Hockey Hall of Fame announced the 2013 recipients of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award and the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award on Monday, awarding the honors to Buffalo Sabres broadcaster Harry Neale, and to journalist Jay Greenberg, respectively.
Neale, the popular veteran broadcaster and former Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks coach, was chosen by the National Hockey League Broadcasters' Association as this year's winner of the Hewitt award in recognition of his contributions to hockey broadcasting. He also wins the award the year after his long-time Sabres broadcast partner, Rick Jeanneret, was honored.
"Harry has entertained millions of hockey fans in the United States and Canada for close to 30 years," Chuck Kaiton, President of the NHL Broadcasters' Association, said. "His unique brand of humor and insight has been memorable. He is extremely worthy of this honor and the NHL Broadcasters' Association applauds him for his great work in all aspects of hockey."
Former NHL defenseman, coach and general manager Pat Quinn has been selected to take over as the new Chairman of the Board for the Hockey Hall of Fame effective Aug. 1. Bill Hay, who has been the Hall's Chairman and CEO for 15 years, will be retiring effective July 31.
Jeff Denomme, the current President of the Hockey Hall of Fame, will add Chief Executive Officer to his title.
Hay was appointed Chairman and CEO in July 1998. He has served the Hall of Fame for 33 years, including 15 as a member of the Selection Committee (1980-95) and 18 on the Board of Directors (1995-2013).
The weekend that Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic and Adam Oates converged on downtown Toronto to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, four-time Stanley-Cup winner Scott Niedermayer also happened to be in town.
But he wasn't there to partake in the festivities. He was there for his 11-year-old son, who was participating in a hockey tournament in the area. The two-time Olympic champion didn't even set foot anywhere near downtown Toronto.
"I ran into [former teammate] Joe Nieuwendyk, who was there to see Sundin," Niedermayer told NHL.com. "But I never got downtown to see any of that."
Let the great debates rage.
Another class of legends has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, which means the typically lively conversations that sometimes turn into arguments in living rooms, bars and press boxes across the hockey world soon will spark up again.
Who among the plethora of eligible former players will make it into the Hall next year?
Let's look at the possibilities, remembering a maximum of four players can be inducted in a single year:
Scott Niedermayer -- If the former New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks defenseman is not the first name written on the ballots of all 18 Selection Committee members, they'll need to hire an outside group to conduct an investigation.
Class of 2012 inductee Joe Sakic said Niedermayer was one of the two toughest players he ever played against (the other was Nicklas Lidstrom). There probably are dozens of other players who would echo Sakic's sentiment.
The red carpet walk before the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony is a place where legends are found and legendary tales are told. This year was no different.
Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure, Adam Oates and Joe Sakic brought out a crowd that included an array of former teammates, respected opponents, fellow honored members, family and friends. Here are some of the comments and stories many of the red carpet walkers told to NHL.com prior to the induction ceremony Monday night:
His Hall of Fame class
Pat Quinn, a member of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, has a special connection to this year's class, having coached three of the four inductees. Quinn had Pavel Bure in Vancouver, Mats Sundin in Toronto and Joe Sakic on Team Canada three different times, including at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
"I see it as good fortune for me to be around these men because not only did they turn out to be great athletes, they're all terrific people," Quinn said. "I think that's why I'm so happy with this class -- because of the quality of people in it. They were leaders for their team.
TORONTO -- It's been 18 years since Mats Sundin was moved from Quebec to Toronto in a blockbuster, franchise-changing trade. Throughout all this time, Joe Sakic admittedly has thought about one question.
What if the Nordiques never traded Sundin?
Would they have won that first-round series against the Rangers in 1995? Would they have gone on to more success in the playoffs that spring? Would the Avalanche have won the Stanley Cup more than twice? Would Sakic and Sundin have gone down in history as one of the greatest tandems of all time -- if not the greatest?
"You can only imagine what it could be like if he was on our team," Sakic said Monday morning at the Hockey Hall of Fame, where he, Sundin, Pavel Bure and Adam Oates will be enshrined forever at the evening's induction ceremony.
The people in Toronto can't even bring themselves to imagine what life would have been like had Cliff Fletcher never pulled the trigger on the Sundin blockbuster. It was a trade that sent the popular Wendel Clark to Quebec City but brought back a player in Sundin who would turn into the Maple Leafs' all-time leading scorer and their captain for 11 consecutive seasons from 1997-2008.
It was a trade that brought a new face of hockey to the city that can't get enough of the sport.
"What a tremendous captain," said Sakic, who wasn't too bad of a captain himself from 1995-2009 for the Quebec/Colorado franchise. "And he did it with nothing but class. He was a tremendous leader. What a hockey player.
For Sundin, that was one of his greatest privileges, his greatest honors. He loved playing in Toronto and wearing the Maple Leafs sweater. He loved the passion and the highs that came with winning in this city.
TORONTO -- It was their turn to say thank you, congratulations, and to ask to the question they've always wanted to ask to their favorite legend.
The Fan Forum on Sunday morning during Hockey Hall of Fame weekend has been a tradition since 1999, when Wayne Gretzky decided he wanted to do something special to get up close and personal with the people that followed his career and, in some ways, helped to make him the superstar he became.
Once again, the informal Q&A session, MC'd by ex-Maple Leafs GM and Toronto radio personality Gord Stellick, brought people wearing jerseys of all different colors.
They wore their old Nordiques jerseys to honor Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin. They came wearing their Vancouver sweaters and gold t-shirts to honor Pavel Bure. A few had on Blues' sweaters to pay homage to Adam Oates. There were plenty of Avalanche No. 19 jerseys in the crowd.
Sundin used his unique combination of size and finesse, strength and skill to score 420 of his 564 goals and 987 of his 1,349 points in Toronto. He played in 77 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Leafs, but never reached the Stanley Cup Final in what officially will become a Hall of Fame career when he's enshrined Monday in Toronto.
He finished his career in 2009 after a season with the Vancouver Canucks. Only 26 players had more career points in the regular season and 20 had more career goals when he retired.
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