TORONTO (CP) -- Patrick Roy's selection to the Hockey Hall of Fame will be a slam dunk, while Pavel Bure, Doug Gilmour, Tom Barrasso, Adam Graves and Phil Housley also are eligible for the first time.
The selection committee will decide June 28. A maximum of four players can be inducted each year.
Only two were chosen last year -- Cam Neely and the late Valeri Kharlamov -- so skaters such as Glenn Anderson and Dino Ciccarelli who have already been passed over several times are again unlikely to get the nod.
The selection of Roy will undoubtedly be unanimous.
The mercurial goaltender won two NHL championships with the Montreal Canadiens and two more with the Colorado Avalanche, earning playoff MVP honours three times. The league named him to its first all-star team in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 2002.
|Doug Gilmour is loved by Leafs Nation. |
He was a winner -- and still is at the age of 40, as he proved in coaching the major junior team from his home city of Quebec to the Memorial Cup title in Moncton last Sunday.
The decisions on the other first-time eligibles -- players must be retired for at least three years -- won't be as clear cut although many are worthy.
Gilmour, 42, settled in the Toronto region after amassing 1,414 points in 1,474 NHL games.
A quintessential Canadian pro, the native of Kingston, Ont., helped the Calgary Flames win the Stanley Cup in 1989, and he was named best defensive forward when he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993. Gilmour played with such determination during his 20 years in the big league that his nickname was Killer.
Bure, 35, was an international superstar before his NHL career was cut short by knee injuries after 762 games in 13 seasons. He resurfaced last February as manager of the Russian team at the Olympics.
In his playing days, the speedy right-winger was called The Russian Rocket because of his scoring touch. He scored 60 goals in 1992-1993 and again in 1993-94, when he helped the Vancouver Canucks get to the championship series and was named to the league's first all-star team. Bure led the NHL in goals scored in 2000 (58) and 2001 (59) with the Florida Panthers.
Tom Barrasso and Mike Richter join Roy as first-year eligible goalies, and a case could be made for each of them to join Roy in the hockey shrine.
Barrasso, now 41, was best known for his immediate impact on the NHL. He stepped from high school hockey in Boston right into the Buffalo Sabres' 1983-84 lineup, won the Calder Trophy as top rookie and the Vezina as best goalie, and was named to the first all-star team. He'd go on to win two NHL titles with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 1990s.
Richter, 39, also an American, was a key member of the New York Rangers' 1994 championship team, and he was MVP for the United States in a World Cup upset of Canada in 1996.
It says here that Mike Vernon should go in before Barrasso or Richter. Vernon wasn't picked in his first year of eligilibity last year. The 43-year-old Calgarian won 385 NHL games and owns two Stanley Cup rings. Barrasso won 369 and Richter 301.
Graves, 38, doesn't have the numbers -- 616 points in 1,152 games -- to merit selection, but the Torontonian has always been about more than numbers. His dedication to the sport and his humanitarian work gave him a status few others attain.
Housley, 42, was one of the best offensive-minded defencemen of his era. The Minnesotan was second-team all-star in 1992. Otherwise, his resume lacks strong Hockey Hall of Fame credentials.
Kirk Muller and Ken Daneyko also are eligible for the first time.
Ciccarelli is 14th on the all-time list of goals scored with 608, but he's been passed over three times already. Others who have been eligible but never selected include Ralph Backstrom, Dick Duff, Steve Larmer and Kevin Lowe.
Inductions will take place Nov. 13.
The selection committee, chaired by senior NHL vice-president for hockey operations Jim Gregory, includes Al Arbour, Scotty Bowman, Colin Campbell, Ed Chynoweth, John Davidson, Eric Duhatschek, Mike Emrick, Emile Francis, Dick Irvin, Stan Mikita, Richard Patrick, Marty Pavelich, Yvon Pedneault, Pat Quinn, Serge Savard, Frank Selke and Harry Sinden.