On Monday, 4 more players and 1 builder will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Legends of Hockey - an official site related to the Hockey Hall of Fame - has all the information from the prior weekend and biographies about the inductees. NHL.com has a ton of information about them as well.
The players, well, you may have heard of them already. Al MacInnis
, Ron Francis
, Mark Messier
, and Scott Stevens.
You can list one trait about them almost immediately when thinking about each of these players. MacInnis? Ridiculous slap-shot. Francis? Playmaker. Messier? Leader. Stevens? Open ice-hit. However, that wouldn't be enough. In addition to reading those Legend of Hockey profiles I linked earlier, NHL.com has two articles on each of those players that go into further depth of each player. They were more than just one trait - each of them are arguably among the best players in their era.
I assure you, I'm not trying to shill NHL.com; but these are some very well-written and enlightening pieces on each of the inductees. I highly suggest you read them. I can't really say that much more about Stevens other than that I am very fortunate to have seen him play and that I am proud that he is getting what he deserves. He will be remembered as one of the greatest defensive defensemen to have ever played the game, a cornerstone and leader in the emergence of a franchise, the most powerful and effective hitter in hockey history (so far), and the first New Jersey Devil to achieve greatness with his retired number #4 and this induction. I don't care what you tell me, I believe Stevens is a much better defenseman than Ray Bourque regardless of how many Norris trophies the latter has over the former. I know he wasn't always a Devil -originally he was a hot-headed offensive defenseman on the Washington Capitals - but he developed into the defensive force he eventually became known for (along with his hitting) first for St. Louis for a second and from then on for New Jersey. To me and to everyone, he will always be a Devil and I can say to Mr. Stevens is "thank you" for doing what he did to make the Devils more than a good team, but a great team.
Regardless of how the Devils do tomorrow night in Pittsburgh, the fact that Scott Stevens will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame will make it a great night for the New Jersey Devils.
Labels: Devils Legends, Hockey - General