Some guys need to put a little extra work in to make a stronger case to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Rod Brind’Amour has never been a guy to stray from a workout.
A noted gym rat even now at age 50, Brind’Amour was beloved in Philadelphia for his relentless work ethic and leadership during his nine years playing for the Flyers in the 1990s. The two-time Selke winner as the league’s best defensive forward went on to have even more success with the Carolina Hurricanes, where he eventually lifted the Stanley Cup in 2006 and had his No. 17 raised to the rafters in Raleigh. Winning came easy to Brind’Amour but a Hall of Fame induction has not in the eight years since he became eligible.
Is it time for “Rod the Bod” to get the nod?
The conversation has resurfaced as the spotlight shined again on Brind’Amour, who won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s best coach, after guiding those same Carolina Hurricanes to a Central Division championship and the league’s third-best regular season record, behind only Colorado and Vegas.
Although coaching accolades don’t exactly play into decisions on player criteria (good thing for former Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky, right?), Brind’Amour’s dedication to hockey is tough to match. The Hurricanes realized it and extended him to a three-year coaching deal last week to keep him in North Carolina.
So let’s stick to the player side of it. Brind’Amour played a whopping 1,484 games (25th all time) and racked up 1,184 points, including 452 goals. After spending his first two years in St. Louis, he was traded to the Flyers for Murray Baron and Ron Sutter in what became one of the franchise’s best trades. Brind’Amour provided the bulk of his career production in Philly with 601 points in 633 games, mostly taking a back seat as the team’s second-line center behind Eric Lindros.
Brind’Amour was later traded for Keith Primeau in 1999 in a trade that worked out for both teams. Primeau had some playoff success in Philly, including a pair of trips to the Eastern Conference final. Brind’Amour played another decade in Carolina, making a pair of Stanley Cup Final appearances, winning once.
Brind’Amour’s case for the Hall of Fame can draw directly to Guy Carbonneau’s induction two years ago. Known similarly as a defensive player, Carbonneau won three Selke trophies with the Montreal Canadiens and three Stanley Cups, including one with the Dallas Stars, but doesn’t have nearly Brindamour’s scoring statistics, as he produced only 663 points in 1,318 career games.
Brind’Amour’s case looks like a slam dunk when compared to Carbonneau. However, the waiting list of very good candidates has grown long for Hall of Fame hopefuls.
There are four retired players with more points than Brind’Amour: Pierre Turgeon (1,327), Jeremy Roenick (1,216), Bernie Nicholls (1,209) and Vincent Damphousse (1,209). There are also five more with more points who are still playing: Jaromir Jagr (overseas), Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Marleau.
There are also omissions who excelled in other areas, including Alexander Mogilny, Theo Fleury, Daniel Alfredsson, John LeClair, Keith Tkachuk and Brian Propp, just to name a few.
Carolina really produced only one true Hall of Fame player since moving south in 1997, and even at that, Ron Francis played the bulk of his career in the franchise’s previous location as the Hartford Whalers and won his two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Maybe the lack of Hurricanes’ flavor in the Hall helps Brind’Amour’s case. Whatever the case, the NHL needs to find a way to get him in there.
Lindblom wins Masterton
Nominated and voted as a finalist for the second straight year, Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom won the 2021 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.
Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in December 2019 and returned to play for the Flyers in the postseason. He played in 50 of the Flyers’ 56 games this season, registering 14 points. He joins Bobby Clarke, Tim Kerr and Ian Laperriere as Flyers to win the Masterton.
Watson honored at alumni showcase
Tickets are still available for the Flyers Alumni weekend, which will honor former Flyers defenseman Joe Watson. The Flyers Alumni will take on the Flyers Warriors team of disabled veterans on June 27 at the Ice Works in Aston. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.