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Hall of Fame

Bure battled injuries to display elite offensive skills

Wednesday, 11.07.2012 / 9:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Pavel Bure's skating, speed and goal-scoring IQ separated him from the rest in his rookie class. So, too, did his experience.

By the time Bure got to the National Hockey League in 1991 he had already won gold for the Soviet Union in both the World Junior Championship (1989) and the World Championship (1990), and had played three full professional seasons for his Central Red Army team -- scoring 35 goals as a 19-year-old.

"At the World Juniors I was voted the best forward and some guys that participated in the World Juniors, they already played and played well in the NHL," Bure told NHL.com from Moscow. "I thought to myself, 'I can score more goals than those guys so I should be OK.'"

Just OK?

Bure needed just one NHL season to prove he was better than that. He won the Calder Trophy in 1992 after scoring 60 points in 65 games for the Vancouver Canucks.

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Oates finally rewarded for legendary passing skills

Monday, 11.05.2012 / 12:11 PM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Adam Oates once was an undrafted high school dropout working as a gas station attendant. In November, he'll be able to call himself an honored member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I can't say I really thought it would happen," Oates, now the coach of the Washington Capitals, told NHL.com.

Not many would have 27 years ago, when Oates signed with the Detroit Red Wings after becoming a back-to-back All-America selection and NCAA champion at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was a sought-after college free agent, but his entry into the National Hockey League wasn't smooth.

Oates bounced between the Red Wings and their American Hockey League affiliate in Adirondack during the 1985-86 season. It was a come-back-to-earth time for Oates, who dominated the college ranks and even scored a goal in his first NHL game, only to go the next 16 without a point.

"Humbling, frustrating," Oates said in describing his rookie season. "There's always a part of you that thinks it didn't have to be that way, but I didn't play good and our team was struggling. It was overwhelming a little bit. We're talking back in '85, when there was a lot of fighting in the game and I wasn't a fighter. It was tough and I had to figure out a niche to play.

"Going to the minors clears your head, makes you fight for it a little harder. It took a little while to get going, but I got into a groove."

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'Hull and Oates' made beautiful music on the ice

Monday, 11.05.2012 / 12:01 PM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

To Brett Hull, Adam Oates was the teammate a goal scorer typically encounters only in his dreams.

"To be able to play with a guy that loved to set up a goal as much or more than score a goal, how can you ask for anything more than that," Hull told NHL.com of Oates, his soon-to-be fellow honored member in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Oates, who finished his career with 1,079 assists and 1,420 points in 1,337 games, will be enshrined in Toronto on Nov. 12 along with Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure.

"He was so smart, so hockey smart, that he saw things in where to go and how to beat guys that I didn't even fathom -- and I thought I knew the game," Hull added. "He saw what everybody was doing, on our team and on their team. It was a treat to play with him."

Hull and Oates -- as the duo was dubbed in connection to the band Hall & Oates -- gave hockey fans in St. Louis a rare treat for more than two and a half seasons, from 1989-92.

For the short time Oates was with the Blues -- from the start of the 1989-90 season to Feb. 7, 1992, when he was traded to the Boston Bruins -- Hull scored 212 goals and Oates had 228 assists. Do the math for a per-game average and you'll find that Hull scored exactly one goal for every game he played while Oates averaged 1.17 assists over 195 games.

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Sakic's wrist shot the scourge of NHL goalies

Saturday, 11.03.2012 / 9:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Quick, hard, accurate and impossible to track -- Joe Sakic's unmatched wrist shot forced many a goalie to turn around and go fishing for the puck somewhere deep inside the net.

"Yeah, he was pretty sick," former NHL goalie Kevin Weekes said. "Just YouTube him and watch."

Sakic officially will be enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 12 largely because of his effective and, quite frankly, impossibly good wrist shot that helped him score 625 career regular-season goals and 84 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Opponents were left in awe of it on most nights, almost as if they never saw it coming -- because a lot of times they didn't.

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Quiet steadiness defined Sakic's Hall of Fame career

Saturday, 11.03.2012 / 9:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

It was an early fall night in Hartford, the opening night of the 72nd National Hockey League season. For Joe Sakic, it was the kind of night of which dreams are made.

Sakic, Quebec's rookie center with the wicked wrist shot, dressed in the smallish visitors' dressing room deep inside Hartford Civic Center shortly before darting out for warm-ups with butterflies in his stomach.

He went back in the dressing room and waited, still nervous and tense, for what seemed like an eternity. The ice was cleaned and fans settled into their seats -- to unknowingly watch the birth of a Hall of Fame career.

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2012 Hall inductees: Sundin, Sakic, Oates, Bure

Tuesday, 06.26.2012 / 5:30 PM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Joe Sakic vividly remembers attending his first NHL game at Pacific Coliseum and seeing the Vancouver Canucks play host to the Atlanta Flames. He was with his dad. He was four years old.

The score and the date are all long forgotten, but the memory of the event lives on in Sakic's mind because it was at that game that the young child from Burnaby, B.C., decided he wanted to be a hockey player.

"I don't think I remember anything else from age 10 down, but I do remember that," Sakic said. "I wanted to play that sport."

He played it like a Hall of Famer, which is exactly what Sakic will become later this year.

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Classy Sakic was no ordinary Joe on the ice

Tuesday, 06.26.2012 / 3:49 PM / Hall of Fame

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- An ordinary Joe? Well, yes and no. Joe Sakic, elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday, was anything but an average hockey player during his 20-season career in the NHL, the first seven with the Quebec Nordiques and the final 13 with the Colorado Avalanche after the franchise moved to Denver in 1995.

The former star center's statistics speak for themselves, which is so appropriate because Sakic relished his reputation for saying so little about his own remarkable achievements over the years. Never a braggart or one to say anything controversial that might merit a mention on a sports talk show or nightly sportscast, he even joked with some pride about his "Quoteless Joe" reputation for giving bland responses in interviews, repeating the nickname himself with a smile and twinkle in his eye.

He was as approachable and friendly as any athlete, a guy who was willing to talk about almost any topic -- as long as it wasn't about himself.

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Sakic, Shanahan highlight list of expected Hall calls

Monday, 06.25.2012 / 2:29 PM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Joe Sakic and Brendan Shanahan should be receiving phone calls sometime Tuesday afternoon from executives at the Hockey Hall of Fame. They won't be asking for memorabilia.

Sakic and Shanahan, who combined for 1,281 goals and five Stanley Cup rings all won between 1996-2002, are expected to headline the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2012, which will be announced in full Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET (live on NHL Network-U.S.). The induction ceremony will take place Nov. 12 at the historic building on the corner of Front and Yonge streets in Toronto.

Sakic and Shanahan were first-round picks in 1987 and retired after the 2008-09 season, so they have waited the required three years per the Hall's rules to be eligible for induction. Joining the two shoo-ins as first-time eligible candidates who could get a call from the Hall on Tuesday are Jeremy Roenick, Mats Sundin and Curtis Joseph.

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Bure, Housley among 2012 IIHF Hall of Fame class

Friday, 12.02.2011 / 10:06 AM / Hall of Fame

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Former Canuck Pavel Bure will be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2012. (Photo: Getty Images)
Russian superstar Pavel Bure and Phil Housley, the highest-scoring U.S.-born defenseman in NHL history, are among five players that will be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2012 will be celebrated May 20 in Helsinki, the final day of the IIHF World Championship.

Joining Bure and Housley will be six-time Finnish Olympian Raimo Helminen and Czech star Milan Novy. Former NHL coach Andy Murray will be inducted in the Builder's category, and Kent Angus was named the winner of the Paul Loicq Award for outstanding contributions to the IIHF and international hockey.

Bure burst onto the international hockey scene at the 1989 World Junior Championship. Playing on a line with Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Mogilny, he had 8 goals and 6 assists in just seven games. That same year, he was drafted in the sixth round by Vancouver Canucks.
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Lacrosse skills helped Nieuwendyk's goal scoring

Monday, 11.14.2011 / 2:21 PM / Hall of Fame

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- When Al MacInnis would wind up for one of his light-speed slap shots, almost everyone on the ice and even in the stands would duck or dive out of the way.

Not Joe Nieuwendyk. He never worried about the flying frozen disc that was coming fast, hard and heavy off of MacInnis' blade hitting him, because most of the time he knew what the Hall of Fame defenseman was aiming for.

"I think a lot of people feared Al's shot, so he was looking for me in those instances," Nieuwendyk said Monday morning from the Hockey Hall of Fame, several hours before he officially becomes an honored member like MacInnis, his former teammate in Calgary. "Every now and then you'd take one, but the reward was much greater than the danger in my opinion."
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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure