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Great Scott: Stevens enters the Hall of Fame

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

Stevens, shown celebrating the Devils' win over Anaheim in Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, enters the Hall of Fame at tonight's Induction Ceremonies in Toronto. –
Scott Stevens' legendary National Hockey League career featured three Stanley Cup Championships and a Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP.

Now it also includes induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Stevens has joined hockey's pantheon as part of a foursome of players believed to be among the most accomplished ever to enter the Toronto shrine in a single season.

First announced to this year's Hall of Fame class on June 28, Stevens walked into history at Monday's Induction Ceremonies alongside Ron Francis, Al MacInnis and Mark Messier.

Jim Gregory, one-time GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, entered into the Builder Category. Gregory is currently the Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations for the NHL.

"It's definitely an honor and privilege to go in with these great players that I've played against and played with off and on through my career," Stevens said recently. "They are all great people and great players, and like I said, it's a great quality of people and it's definitely a special induction."

Stevens appeared at the Hall of Fame Legends Classic on Sunday.
With a combined 12 Stanley Cups, the Class of 2007 certainly knew how to win. In addition to Stevens' three Cups, Francis notched two with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and MacInnis earned one while a member of the Calgary Flames.

Messier leads the way with six – five with the Edmonton Oilers and one with the New York Rangers.

"I had to try to keep him off the scoring board many nights when he was with the Rangers, and that was my job and it was a tough task," Stevens said of Messier. "He's one heck of a hockey player, all-around hockey player, could pretty much do anything, play any situation."

Stevens' 1,635 games played is tops all-time among NHL defensemen, and fifth in league history, spanning a 22-season run that saw the native of Kitchener, Ontario, mature from fiery youngster with the Washington Capitals to feared captain of the Devils.

Selected with Washington's first-round pick, fifth overall, in the 1982 Entry Draft, Stevens eventually became one of just three players in history to appear in 600 games with two separate teams.

His body of work encompassed 196 goals and 712 assists for 908 points, including 93 goals and 337 assists for 430 points in 956 games as a Devil. He sits 11th on the all-time list for points by a rearguard, seven behind Bobby Orr.

More than three years since his last game, Stevens' name remains prominent in the Devils' record book as well. He ranks second on New Jersey's all-time games played list, third all-time in assists, and is tied for sixth in points.

Stevens posted a career-high 78 points and a league-leading plus-53 mark in 1993-94, becoming the only defenseman ever to lead the Devils in scoring. His 18 goals in '93-94 are the most by any blueliner in team history, while his 60 assists remains a single-season franchise record.

After all those years of donning the red and black, and after all those achievements, Stevens, who announced his retirement on Sept. 6, 2005, has said that life after hockey suits him just fine, too.

"I'll tell you, it's pretty nice," he said. "It's a pretty rigorous schedule you are on [as a player], and it's great to have some spare time and to be around the house and do all of the functions of the kids, school, after-school sports and things like that."

Some of the defining moments of Stevens' career came on clutch scoring plays, such as his game-winning goal against Pittsburgh in Game 2 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

But when he wasn't racking up points, Stevens was also capable of delivering game-changing body checks. At 6-2, 215 lbs., he developed into one of the best open-ice hitters the game had ever seen.

"That's the game and that's the beauty of the game," Stevens said of hockey's physical element. "I think that's one reason why we love this game: there's physical contact and scoring and fighting, that's what the whole game was about. 

"I knew that was my game from when I was very small. I was a physical player and pretty much played that way from day one in the National Hockey League.  Everyone knew that was a big part of my game, the physical part, the hitting."

With his hockey career immortalized in the Hall, the future remains wide open for Stevens. He still calls New Jersey home, but he's ruled nothing out, including the possibility of future involvement with the league.

"I guess I'm always intrigued by the NHL," Stevens said. "I'm working with some high school kids and I'm busy right now with renovating a farmhouse. I have two kids in high school which keep me going, but I'm definitely going to try to keep my foot in the door and leave my options open."
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