Monday, June 26, 2017

{allcanada} Long wait for Hockey Hall of Fame call no sweat for Dave Andreychuk

Dave Andreychuk had to wait until his 22nd season in the NHL to finally win the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.

By comparison, waiting until his ninth year of eligibility to be voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday was no big deal.

"I guess with the Stanley Cup it was sweeter to wait that long," Andreychuk said. "You understand the value and how hard it is to achieve. I guess that's kind of the same thing here."

Andreychuk, 53, was one of seven people elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2017, including three other former NHL players: Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya and Mark Recchi. Retired Canadian women's ice hockey player Danielle Goyette also was elected, along with Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and University of Alberta coach Clare Drake, each voted in as a builder.

The induction ceremony will be at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 13.

Andreychuk, a left wing, played 23 seasons in the NHL with the Lightning, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche before retiring after being released by Tampa Bay in 2005-06.

At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Andreychuk made his living battling for position and scoring goals from in front of the net. He ranks 14th in NHL history with 640 goals, including a League-record 274 on the power play, and also had 698 assists in 1,639 regular-season games. Before Monday, he was the only player eligible who had scored at least 600 goals in the NHL and was not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"Nobody starts their career thinking that they're going to be a Hall of Famer," Andreychuk said. "You just want to stay in the League, you want to help your team win, and after it's all done and you look at your numbers and you think that there's a chance and people start to talk about it. But at the same time, it's really out of your hands. I'm thankful this day came along for me and for my family, and whether it was this year or next year or 10 years from now didn't matter to us."

The Sabres' first-round pick (No. 16) in the 1982 NHL Draft, Andreychuk scored at least 20 goals 19 times and reached 30 goals nine times, 40 goals four times, and 50 goals in 1992-93 (NHL career-high 54 in 83 games with Buffalo and Toronto) and 1993-94 (53 in 83 games with Toronto).

"The back-to-back 50-goal seasons, the power-play record for goals, those are things that I look back on that it's an amazement to really think [about]," he said. "When I started in '82 and got the privilege of watching Gilbert Perreault score 500 goals, to think that I went by him, it's mind-boggling."

Andreychuk said he was considering retirement following his second stint with the Sabres in 2000-01 when the Lightning called and asked if he was interested in playing for them. With the Lightning out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot at the 2002 NHL Trade Deadline, general manager Jay Feaster offered Andreychuk a chance to be traded to the Montreal Canadiens, but he declined because he saw the potential in Tampa Bay with talented players such as Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle and Nikolai Khabibulin.

Two seasons later, Andreychuk was Lightning captain when they won the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history, cementing his legacy.

"It obviously caps a career for myself, but I think if I wouldn't have won the Stanley Cup not much would have changed either," he said. "I still played with some great players and made some great friends throughout the years."

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{allcanada} Mark Recchi says it's 'surreal' being elected to Hall of Fame


The Hockey Hall of Fame's media teleconference wasn't over more than five minutes Monday when a call to Mark Recchi's cell phone immediately went to his recorded "Hey there…" greeting.

It was little surprise when a recorded voice followed, saying that his mailbox "is full and cannot accept any more messages at this time."

Two hours later, with nearly 200 text messages choking his phone and enough voicemail to overflow it, Recchi took a call at his home in Pittsburgh, with a confession.

"I had put the phone down to play some knee-hockey with my son Brendan," he said, laughing. "He's 5, and he's relentless."

Recchi, a 49-year-old native of Kamloops, British Columbia, had earlier spoken of his Hall of Fame election as a "tremendous honor."

Now, as the Pittsburgh Penguins director of player development prepared to head out to celebrate the occasion with his parents, his wife and her parents at a family barbecue, he described the moment that he took the call from Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald.

"I was at the Penguins practice rink (in Cranberry, Pennsylvania), going over free agency and what we're planning on doing going forward," Recchi said. "As soon as I saw the 416 (Toronto area code) on my phone, I jumped out of the room.

"I went back into this big meeting, sat down and totally didn't hear anything that went on for the next five minutes. My dad was at the rink, so the timing couldn't have been any better. I went out, grabbed him and gave him a big hug, called my wife, who was with my mother, then went upstairs to tell [Penguins general manager] Jimmy Rutherford and [hockey operations vice president] Jason Karmanos. The whole thing was just surreal."

Fifteen days earlier, Recchi had shuffled joyfully onto the ice at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, with the rest of the Penguins management team, to join the players who were celebrating a successful defense of their Stanley Cup championship.

A month before that, Recchi was delighted when his son Cameron was drafted by Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League. And a month before that came Recchi's induction into the British Columbia Hall of Fame, a street already named after him in Kamloops.

Now comes his election to the Hockey Hall of Fame, capping a gilt-edged year that he'll have a hard time topping, ever.

"And I got remarried in the past year too. It's been a really good year," Recchi said, laughing again. "It's incredible."

As a player, the battering-ram-tough Recchi won three Stanley Cup titles - with the Penguins in 1991, the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and the Boston Bruins in 2011, going out on top in a career that spanned 22 NHL seasons, having played 1,841 regular-season and postseason games.

Recchi enjoyed a distinguished career with seven NHL teams -- the Penguins, who selected him in the fourth round (No. 67) of the 1988 NHL Draft, followed by the Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning and finally the Bruins.

And what a body of work. Recchi's 1,533 points (577 goals, 956 assists) are 12th in NHL history. All 10 retired players ahead of him on that list are in the Hall of Fame, the one still active -- Jaromir Jagr, who intends to play a 24th NHL season in 2017-18 -- surely headed in following his retirement.

Recchi holds an interesting record. On June 6, 2011, for the Bruins against the Vancouver Canucks, he became the oldest player in NHL history to score a goal in a Stanley Cup Final game, coming at age 43 years, 216 days.

Now, the only retired player with more than 500 goals and 1,500 points in the NHL who wasn't in the Hall has been welcomed to the shrine in his fourth year of eligibility.

He will have five months to prepare his induction speech, and he has a bit of an idea how he'll proceed, having heard many over the years and with countless coaches, friends and family members in his life who have been "great people and great role models along the way."

But on Monday, still digesting this remarkable day, there was more immediate concern about a slight change in the Recchi family barbecue menu.

"I think with the wine," he said, "there will be a little Champagne."

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{allcanada} See the moment Teemu Selanne found out he made the Hockey Hall of Fame - - - Wal-Mart - GameStop - Work From Home


Teemu Selanne got a very important phone call on Monday and cameras were there to capture the big moment.

Selanne was sitting with his wife Sirpa and daughter Veera, fresh off the golf course, when he got the call that he'd been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in its 2017 class.

Hockey Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald was on the other end when Selanne picked up and said he'd cut his golf outing short, to which McDonald replied that maybe he should make some other plans for the rest of the day.

Selanne was elected along with Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi, Paul Kariya, Danielle Goyette, Jeremy Jacobs and Clare Drake. Selanne even paid it forward, helping inform former teammate Kariya that he had also been elected. The 2017 induction ceremony will be in Toronto on Nov. 13.

New members are elected every year, but it never gets old seeing someone find out they're about to be enshrined alongside the greatest of all time.

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{allcanada} Teemu Selanne began Hall of Fame career with legendary season


Easily forgotten in the legend of an NHL record-breaking, 76-goal, 132-point season by Teemu Selanne was that uncertainty surrounding him was high and expectations for him only mixed before his debut with the Winnipeg Jets in the 1992-93 season.

"The Finnish Flash" had ability and character that erased all doubt.

In the face of the unknown, Selanne's start was good, and important; it provided relief after his controversial signing and a public debate over his worth.

Selanne's first NHL goal, against Jeff Hackett of the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 8, 1992, alleviated some of the worry over whether the four-year wait would be worth it after the Jets selected him at No. 10 in the 1988 NHL Draft.

In the summer of 1992, Selanne decided he was finally ready to leave Finland and try the NHL. As a 22-year-old, and a restricted free agent, he signed an offer sheet from the Calgary Flames that the Jets matched with a certain amount of displeasure over the three years and $2.7 million value.

They got over it in a hurry, as did skeptical fans, their doubt neutralized by Selanne's skill and personality.

On a Jets team that had five rookies (Selanne, Alexei Zhamnov, Keith Tkachuk, Sergei Bautin and Evgeny Davydov), Selanne played with flair and confidence from the beginning.

"I was so hungry to prove myself," he said in 2015. "It was like a snowball going down a hill. I had more and more confidence and I just wanted to score and enjoy every day."

After 11 games, Selanne had 11 goals. After 20 games, 16 goals.

At the midway point of the season, he had 34 goals in 42 games.

And amazingly, it got better from there as the memorable nights just kept piling up. An eight-game goal streak, during which he scored nine times, carried into the second half.

There was a four-game drought in January and another of three games in February, with talk increasing of matching the rookie record of 52 goals, set by Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders in 1977-78.

But Selanne was inspired by the talk and the pressure. He scored 11 goals in five games between Feb. 23 and March 4, breaking Bossy's mark and bringing down the house at Winnipeg Arena with his 53rd goal on March 2 against the Quebec Nordiques. (He also went on to break the rookie record for points in a season, set by Peter Stastny of the Nordiques in 1980-81.)

On March 9 at the Tampa Bay Lightning, Selanne scored his fifth hat trick of the season, including one of his best-ever goals - a penalty-shot goal against Wendell Young that was a wonder of speed and multiple shoulder shifts, finished with a backhand flip into the top of the net.

His 20 goals in March remain the NHL record for one month. Selanne scored at least one goal in 53 games that season, finishing his rookie year by with a 17-game point streak in which he scored 34 points (20 goals, 14 assists).

Part of the joyride was defenseman Phil Housley's career-best, 97-point season (18 goals, 79 assists), his uncanny playmaking and silky skating helping him forge instant chemistry with Selanne. And the key to the improved second half may well have been the Dec. 28 trade that brought tough guys Kris King and Tie Domi to the Jets from the New York Rangers.

As the legendary season progressed, Selanne autographs, photos, smiles and waves grew in lockstep. When the Jets' wives held their carnival fundraiser on the second floor of the Winnipeg Convention Centre on a Sunday afternoon in February, fans lined up down the stairs then outside and around the block, waiting as long as three hours, to get an autograph or photo.

And Selanne stayed until there was nobody left in line.

"The whole time (in Winnipeg), almost four years, was special," Selanne, who was traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on Feb. 7, 1996, said Monday. "The rest is the fans -- the whole city was special.

"You treat people well, they treat you like a king there. As a player when you realize that, there's a lot of respect for the fans."

When the season of magic was over, Selanne received 50 of 50 first-place votes for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie, capping a season never to be forgotten.

By a player never to be forgotten.

Selanne continues to be revered and adored in Winnipeg. After all this time, he has finally begun to appreciate the magnitude of his accomplishment in 1992-93.

"In that time, I didn't really realize what happened," said Selanne, 46. "Now the number is so big. I didn't really know how that happened but what a great memory that whole year was.

"And the people of Winnipeg, they lived that with me. It was something special I'm never going to forget."

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