Does Joseph Toe Blake Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Ralrton-Purina Company, maker of Chex cereals, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Before Toe Blake was one of the greatest coaches in NHL history, he was a pretty good player and one of the all time great playoff performers.

Listen to us talk about Toe Blake here:

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Does Harry Cameron Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Harry Cameron was a dynamic offensive player from the blue line well before that was a common feature of NHL D.

Was he one of the greatest D of his era or of all time or is it more likely that the position had yet to be defined properly?

Listen to us talk about Harry Cameron:

Keith Tkachuk, Eric Lindros, Harry Cameron
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Does Harry Oliver Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Harry Oliver was a WCHL star who mostly didn’t have the same kind of success in the NHL, except during the 1927 playoffs when he led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup.

When we discuss Harry Oliver’s Hall of Fame case, the big thing we struggle with is, was he a big enough star in the WCHL?

Listen to us talk about it here:

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Is Bill Cowley one of the GOAT?

It’s easy to look at Bill Cowley’s numbers and think he might be one of the greatest offensive NHL players ever, and certainly one of the league’s greatest passers.

But his best years came during World War II when a number of NHL players were in the military and so competition wasn’t as good. Also, Cowley sometimes wasn’t even the first line centre on his own team.

The question isn’t just, does Bill Cowley belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? It’s how do we evaluate his gaudy numbers given when he played and his role when Milt Schmidt was on the team? And why did it take the Hall 20+ years to induct him?

Listen here:

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Does Bryan Hextall Belong in the Hockey

Grandfather of Ron, Bryan Hextall was one of the offensive stars of his era. And he was pretty good. If you fiddle with the VsX adjustment and do look at his per game numbers – something it’s not designed for – it paints Hextall as the best offensive player in NHL history in terms of adjusted PPG. That’s obviously not true and just exposes flaws in adjusted stats. But he must have been pretty good, right?

Listen to us talk about Bryan Hextall’s Hall of Fame case here:

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Does Sid Abel Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Sid Abel won the Hart and made a number of end-of-season All Star teams. But he was often not the best player on his team – especially in the playoffs – and a lot of his regular season success came centering Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.

Did Sid Abel deserve his Hart trophy? And does he belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us discuss his case here:

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Does Babe Dye Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Cecil “Babe” Dye quickly became one of the NHL’s early stars and, to this day, if the qualifier is low enough, he remains the all time leader in adjusted GPG.

But he also played relatively few games, his career was basically over by age 29 and he only ever won one Cup.

Listen to us talk about Babe Dye’s Hall of Fame case here:

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Does Ralph Cooney Weiland Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Cooney Weiland set the single-season points record in 1930, but it was a banner year for the league and multiple other players could have broken the record if he didn’t. He led the playoffs in points twice, too. Seems like maybe a slam dunk.

However, these were the only great years of Weiland’s career and his career was pretty middling otherwise. Does someone like this belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us talk about Cooney Weiland’s Hall of Fame case here:

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Does Ralph Busher Jackson Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Though seemingly forgotten by many Leafs fans, Busher Jackson was one of the greatest Left Wings in Maple Leafs history, leading both the league and the playoffs in scoring once and making four All Star 1st Teams.

The question is, does he belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us talk about Busher Jackson’s Hall of Fame case here:

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Is Gordie Howe the Greatest of All Time?

Prior to Bobby Orr‘s arrival, there was a consensus hockey GOAT (Greatest of All Time), Gordie Howe. That was due both to Howe’s dominance but, more importantly, his unprecedented longevity. Howe may have only been the best player in the NHL for six or so seasons, but he was one of the 10 best players in the NHL for over two decades.

Since then, there are a few other contenders for the throne. And the biggest knock against Howe is his Stanley Cups. Gordie Howe made the playoffs in 20 of his 26 NHL seasons. And he made the Stanley Cup Finals a remarkable 11 times. But he only won four Stanley Cups. One can make the LeBron James argument here: If Gordie Howe really is the GOAT, how come his finals record is 4-7?

Listen to us talk about Gordie Howe here:

Hall of Fame Class of 1972 Part 2: Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau

Gordie Howe’s Career:

  • NHL:
    • 1946-71; 1979-80; 26 seasons, 25 quality
    • Totals:
    • 801G (3rd All Time – Gretzky, Ovechkin – 1st All Time at his initial retirement by 232; Howe was the career leader in goals from 1963-64 through 1993-94),
    • 1049A (10th All Time – 1st All Time at his initial retirement by 300; Howe was the career leader in assists from 1957-58 through 1987-88) for
    • 1850P (4th – Gretzky, Jagr, Messier – 1st All Time at his initial retirement by nearly 600; Howe was the career leader in points from 1959-60 through 1989-90);
    • +160* (14th All Time at his initial retirement) in
    • 1767 Games (2nd All Time – Marleau – 1st All Time at his retirement by 300; Howe was the career leader in Games Played from 1961-62 through 2019-20)
    • 217.1 PS (4th All Time – Gretzky, Bourque, Luongo – 1st All Time at his retirement by nearly 69; Howe was the career leader from 1960-61 to 1994-95);
    • Howe is 2nd All Time in Offensive Point Shares (Gretzky) – he was 1st All Time at his initial retirement by nearly 69 and was the career leader from 1958-59 until 1993-94
    • Howe is the 15th/13th Forward All Time in Defensive Point Shares – at his initial retirement he was 3rd/1st All Time
    • Per Game: At his initial retirement in 1971, Howe was
    • 11th All Time in GPG
    • t-5th in APG (Mikita, Esposito, Cowley, Beliveau)
    • 5th in PPG (Esposito, Hull, Mikita, Beliveau; Howe was the career leader in PPG from 1953-54 through 1958-59)
    • Era: Of the 13 skaters to play in at least 1148 games (14 modern seasons) between 1946 and 1971, Howe is
      • 1st in Goals (by 369)
      • 1st in GPG (by 0.17)
      • 1st in Assists (by 300)
      • 1st in APG
      • 1st in Points (669)
      • 1st in PPG (by 0.25)
      • 2nd in Plus/Minus
      • 1st in Offensive Point Shares (by more than double his teammate)
      • 8th (2nd/1st Forward) in Defensive Point Shares
      • 1st in Point Shares (by 68.7)
    • 82-game average: 37G, 48A for 86P, +7*; 8.7 PS
    • 3-year peak (1950-53): 70-game average of 46G, 43A for 89P
    • Playoffs:
    • Totals:
      • 68G (20th All Time, 3rd at his first retirement – Richard, Beliveau),
      • 92A (2nd All Time at his first retirement – Beliveau – Howe was the career leader from 1961 through 1970) for
      • 160P (t-22nd All Time, 2nd at his first retirement – Beliveau – Howe was the career leader 1964 through 1970),
      • +6* in
      • 157 games (3rd All Time at his first retirement – Kelly, Beliveau)
      • Per Game: At his first retirement, Howe was
        • T-5th All Time in playoff GPG (Richard, Hull, Drillon, Beliveau)
        • T-6th All Time in playoff APG
        • T-4th All Time in playoff PPG (Hull, Beliveau, Blake)
      • Era: Of the 42 skaters to play in at least 82 playoff games between 1946 and 1971, Howe is
        • 2nd in playoff Goals (behind by 12)
        • T-4th in playoff GPG
        • 2nd in playoff Assists
        • 4th in playoff APG
        • 2nd in playoff Points (behind by 18)
        • 3rd in playoff PPG
        • T-18th in playoff Plus/Minus
        • 3rd in playoff Games
    • Adjustment for Era:
    • Hockey-Reference:
      • 925G (1st All Time), 
      • 1265A (2nd – Gretzky) for 
      • 2190P (2nd – Gretzky)
      • Adjusted 82-game average: 43G, 59A for 102P (+16P per 82 games)
      • Per Game:
        • T-23rd All Time in Adjusted GPG
        • T-15th All Time in Adjusted APG
        • T-13th All Time in Adjusted PPG
    • VsX:
      • 1181 Goals (1st All Time by over 300)
      • 1711 Assists (2nd All Time – Gretzky)
      • 2444 Points (1st All Time)
      • Per Game:
        • T-19th All Time in VsX GPG
        • 22nd All Time in VsX APG
        • 22nd All Time in VsX PPG
        • If the qualifier is raised to 820 games played, Howe is
          • 5th All time in VsX GPG (Richard, Hull, Geoffrion, Lemieux)
          • 3rd All Time in VsX APG (Gretzky, Lemieux)
          • 4th All Time in VsX PPG (Gretzky, Lemieux, Richard)
          • If the qualifier is set to 1230 games, Howe is
            • 1st All Time in VsX GPG
            • 2nd All Time in VsX APG (Gretzky)
            • 2nd All Time in VsX PPG (Gretzky)
  • Never traded.
  • WHA: 1973-79; 6 seasons, all quality174G (16th),
    • Totals:
    • 334A (7th) for 
    • 508P (7th), 
    • +136 (7th) in 
    • 419 games
    • Per Game:
      • 6th All Time in APG
      • 8th All Time in PPG
    • 82-game average: 34G, 66A for 99P, +27
    • 3-year peak (1973-76): 78-game average of 34G, 72A for 106P, +30
    • Playoffs:
      • 28G (t-6th All Time), 
      • 43A (6th All Time) for 
      • 71P (4th All Time – Mark Howe, Hull, Bernier) in 
      • 78 games (1st All Time)
      • Per Game:
        • 17th All Time in playoff GPG
        • 13th All Time in playoff APG
        • 13th All Time in playoff PPG
    • Never traded.

Gordie Howe’s Accomplishments:

  • NHL:
    • Hart (’52, ’53, ’57, ’58, ’60, ’63) – 2nd most ever (Gretzky)
    • Top 5 in Hart voting a further ten times – probably the most ever
    • NHL’s 100 Greatest Players
    • Back Check MVP (’51, ’52, ’53, ’54, ’57, ’63)
    • Back Check Best Player (’51, ’52, ’53, ’54, ’57, ’63)
    • Art Ross (’51, ’52, ’53, ’54, ’57, ’58, ’60, ’63) – 2nd most ever (Gretzky)
    • Rocket Richard* (‘51, ‘52, ‘53, ‘57’63)  – t-4th most ever (Ovechkin, Hull, Esposito)
    • All Star:
      • 1st Team All Star twelve times (2nd most ever – Bourque)
      • 2nd Team All Star nine times (most ever) most NHL All Star Team appearances ever
      • 23 All Star Game appearances (most ever)
    • Top Player:
      • Best Player (by Point Shares) once (’53), 
      • Top 5 nine times (’51, ’52, ’54, ’56, ’57, ’63, ’68, ’69) – 5th most ever (Gretzky, Broda, Hall, Bourque) 
      • Top 10 sixteen times (’50, ’55, ’58, ’59, ’62, ’65, ’66) – most ever
      • Best Offensive Player (by Offensive Point Shares) six times (’51, ’52, ’53, ’54, ’57, ’63) t-2nd most ever (Gretzky)
      • Top 5 seventeen times (’50, ’55, ’56, ’58, ’59, ’62, ’64, ’65, ’66, ’68, ’69) – most ever
      • Top 10 twenty-one times (’60, ’61, ’67, ’70) – most ever (Gretzky is in second with 14)
    • Goals:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the NHL in Goals five times (t-4th most ever – Ovechkin, Hull, Esposito)
        • Top 5 fourteen times (t-most ever)
        • Top 10 nineteen times (most ever)
      • GPG leader-boards:
        • Led the NHL in GPG three times (t-8th most ever)
        • Top 5 fourteen times (most ever)
        • Top 10 nineteen times (most ever)
      • Single-season goal totals:
        • Scored 45 goals twice (1 of only 6 players to do so at his first retirement)
        • 40 goals five times (1 of only 2 players at his first retirement – Hull)
        • 35 goals nine times (1 of only 17 players ever, 1 of only 2 players at his first retirement – Hull)
        • 30 goals fourteen times (1 of only 6 players ever, the only player ever at his first retirement)
        • 25 goals twenty times (the only player ever)
        • 20 goals twenty-two times (the only player ever)
    • Assists:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the NHL in Assists three times (t-3rd most ever – Gretzky, Orr)
        • Top 5 seventeen times (t-most ever)
        • Top 10 twenty-two times (most ever)
      • APG leader-boards
        • Led the NHL in APG twice (t-9th most ever)
        • Top 5 fifteen times (2nd most ever – Gretzky)
        • Top 10 twenty-one times (most ever)
      • Single-season assist totals:
        • 50 assists once (1 of only 25 players to do so at his first retirement)
        • 40 assists eighteen times (1 of only 3 players ever – Francis, Gretzky – the only player ever at his first retirement by 8)
    • Points:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Led the NHL in Points six times (2nd most ever – Gretzky)
        • Top 5 twenty times (most ever)
        • Top 10 twenty-one times (most ever)
      • PPG leader-boards:
        • Led the NHL in PPG seven times (t-2nd most ever – Gretzky) 
        • Top 5 nineteen times (most ever)
        •  Top 10 twenty times (most ever)
      • Single-season points twice:
        • Scored 100 points once (1 of only 6 players to do so at his first retirement)
        • 90 points twice (1 of only 7 players at his first retirement)
        • 80 points eight times (the only player at his first retirement)
        • 70 points eighteen times (the only player ever)
        • 60 points twenty one times (still the only player ever)
        • 50 points twenty-two times (t-most ever, only player at his initial retirement)
    • Plus-Minus:
      • Top 5 in Plus Minus once
      • Top 10 three times
    • VsX:
      • Best 7 Seasons:
        • 3rd All Time in Goals (Bobby Hull, Richard)
        • 8th All Time in Assists
        • 3rd All Time in Points (Gretzky, Esposito)
      • Best 10 Seasons:
        • 3rd All Time in Goals (Bobby Hull, Richard)
        • 6th All Time in Assists
        • 2nd All Time in Points (Gretzky)
  • WHA (Gordie Howe was in his mid to late 40s when he played in the WHA):
    • Gordie Howe Trophy (’74)
    • All Star:
      • 1st All Star Team twice
    • Goals:
      • Scored 30 goals five times
    • Assists:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Top 5 in Assists once
        • Top 10 four times
      • APG leader-boards:
        • Top 5 in APG twice
        • Top 10 four times
      • Single-season totals:
        • 70 assists once 
        • 60 assists four times 
        • 40 assists five times
    • Points:
      • Leader-boards:
        • Top 5 in Points once, 
        • Top 10 four times
      • PPG leader-boards:
        • Top 5 in PPG once, 
        • Top 10 three times
      • Single-season totals:
        • 100 points twice
        • 90 points four times 
        • 60 points five times.

Gordie Howe’s Great Teams:

  • NHL:
    • Best Player (led the playoffs in goals, set the single season record in points – held it until 1962) one Champion (‘55 Red Wings)
    • Best Player (led the playoffs in goals and points) on two Runners Up (‘49, ’64 Red Wings)
    • Best Player (led the playoffs in points) on two Runners Up (’61, ’63 Red Wings)
    • Best Player (by points) on one Runner Up (’56 Red Wings) and one Final Four (’57 Red Wings),
    • Best Skater (by points) on one Champion (’54 Red Wings)
    • Top 3 Forward (led the playoffs in assists and points) on one Champion (’52 Red Wings)
    • Top 3 Forward (by points) on five Final Fours (’51, ’53, ’58, ’60, ’65 Red Wings)
    • Top 6 Forward (by points) on one Runner Up (’66 Red Wings)
    • Top 9 Forward (by points) on one Runner Up (’48 Red Wings)
    • Role Player (by points) on one Final Four (’47 Red Wings)
    • Injured on one Champion (’50 Red Wings)
  • WHA (Howe was in his mid to late 40s when he played in the WHA):
    • Top 3 Forward (by points) on two Avco Cup Champions (‘74, ’75 Aeros),
    • Top 6 forward (by points) on two Runners Up (’76 Aeros, ‘78 Whalers) and one Final Four (’77 Aeros),
    • Role Player (by points) on one Final Four (’79 Whalers)
  • Summit Series:
    • Top 6? Player (by points) on one Summit Series Runner Up (’74 Canada)